BAFTA: "We don't have the right" to enter Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar snub does not harm "quality" of Awards, insists COO; charity in talks with publisher over future involvement

It's one of the biggest nights in the gaming calendar, and BAFTA has insisted that the "quality" of the 2011 GAME British Academy Video Games Awards is not affected by Rockstar's surprise decision not to enter Red Dead Redemption.

Speaking exclusively to sister publication Eurogamer TV ahead of this evening's ceremony, BAFTA COO Kevin Price said: "We don't have the right to automatically enter a videogame. We encourage the publishers and developers to enter. We're not happy that Rockstar game isn't in the longlist this year, but the simple answer is it wasn't entered."

And Price rejected suggestions that the game's absence damaged the credibility of the Awards, stating: "The Awards are a mechanism to draw public attention to the industry and, from BAFTA's point of view, the artform.

We're not happy that Rockstar game isn't in the longlist this year, but the simple answer is it wasn't entered

BAFTA COO Kevin Price.

"I think one of the positive aspects of this, if there is a positive, is people are talking about it. When we make a decision on Best Game or the winner of a category, we're not saying there's only one good piece of work. It's all about getting the public thinking about what makes a good videogame."

He added: "So no, in short I don't think it affects the overall purpose and the quality of the Awards. We would rather that game was in the longlist and we'll continue to encourage Rockstar to enter in the future".

A Rockstar spokesman declined to comment on its decision when approached. However, sources familiar with the matter have revealed to that relations between the publisher and organisation cooled in the aftermath of the 2009 Awards, when Grand Theft Auto IV failed to win a single prize.

While Red Dead is not up for any of the main BAFTA gongs this year, it does feature on the shortlist for the separate public vote category, the winner of which will also be revealed tonight.

Explaining the entry process for the Awards, Price said: "If we entered everything you would end up with a huge pool of content, many of which wouldn't be in the running. So we deliberately don't go down that route - we adopt a process where you have to physically enter to be considered".

Meanwhile, Price revealed that increasing the number of videogames members of the Academy was a "priority in the next five years", to bring it in line with film and TV membership in accordance with the equal weight the charity now gives to gaming as a creative form.

"Specifically [with] videogames we have about 300 members," he said. "There are others from film and television that have experience in the field, but in the UK we currently have 5000 members so that gives you an indication of how far we are on the journey.

"In the next five years this is actually a priority for the Academy. We would like to get that 300 up to a much more significant number, certainly into four figures".

Held at London's Park Lane Hilton, this year's British Academy Games Awards will be streamed live via

Eurogamer TV today published a video special on the Games BAFTAs, asking how important the Awards are the industry, including exclusive interviews with BAFTA, its games committee and the recipient of this year's Academy Fellowship Peter Molyneux.

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Latest comments (14)

Mike Gregory Territory Manager, Optoma Europe Limited11 years ago
I can understand the decision of Rockstar....


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So why didn't RS enter it in the first place?
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Tony Cox Director of Development, Microsoft11 years ago
BAFTA the organization doesn't control the votes of individual members. If GTA IV didn't win any awards, it's because individual members didn't vote for it, not because the BAFTA organization did something. Rockstar "retaliating" or getting "payback" by not entering Red Dead Redemption for consideration seems a little childish. If the awards are worth getting upset about, then surely they are also worth entering.

Disclosure: I am a BAFTA member.
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Show all comments (14)
Jeffrey Kesselman CTO, Nphos11 years ago
Awww .pooor Rockstar whose sequel of a sequel of a sequel didn't win an award.

Honestly, they are acting like spoiled children and cutting their noses off to spite their faces.
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Luke McCarthy Indie Game Developer 11 years ago
On the bright side, we might see some equally worthy games receive some attention instead of RDR winning every award.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 11 years ago
Just childish acts if Rockstar didn't enter this year because of that. Red Dead is still a good game but it is tainted by Rockstar spoiled brat behaviour now
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Nathan Turner Studying B. of Games and Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology11 years ago
Perhaps they feel they have already reached the recognition the game deserves and would rather other games have the attention like Luke mentioned. It's hard to know why without an official statement. I hope a developer like Rockstar wouldn't do it for a childish reason.
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Tony Cox Director of Development, Microsoft11 years ago
Not entering because you'd "rather other games have the attention" is effectively saying that the only way other games have a chance is if your game isn't in the running. Which simultaneously asserts your own brilliance and devalues the achievement of the winner - in other words displaying a truly staggering level of arrogance.

A valid reason for not entering the awards would be that they're not felt to be important, or that the organization behind them behaves in a difficult or unreasonable fashion. I don't think either or those things is true of BAFTA.
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Paul Smith Dev 11 years ago
Well maybe GTA4 would of won some awards if it wasn't crap.
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Tony Cox Director of Development, Microsoft11 years ago
Paul, you're entitled to your opinion, of course, but describing GTA 4 as "crap" seems a little unfair. My opinion is that it was a pretty good game, and well worth consideration for awards - it's just that there was stiff competition and academy members judged other games more deserving in their respective categories.

I'm not sure what Rockstar PR is trying to accomplish, honestly. The only classy response to losing at an award ceremony is to congratulate the winner and come back with an even better game next time. Does anyone think that Rockstar is enhancing their reputation by staying away?
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Mike Gregory Territory Manager, Optoma Europe Limited11 years ago
Tony, how much does it cost to enter a game to be considered for an award?

Will an award from BAFTA bring any further commercial returns for a game that has been on the market for so long?

I think that Rockstar must feel a bit like the British world cup bid team when it realised that GTA4 got zero recognition from BAFTA.

Either way, Rockstar is getting more attention by its choice of action then if it just entered Red Read and waited for the result.

These 'games' are often played to a greater or lesser extent when your product is given to a mag for testing. Once bitten twice shy comes to mind...

If all companies behaved the same wouldn't life be boring.

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Tony Cox Director of Development, Microsoft11 years ago
Mike, you're right that there is cost (even if it's just in time) to enter awards. So it's reasonable to say that you don't think a particular award is prestigous enough to make it worthwhile entering for.

However, Rockstar obviously felt the BAFTAs were worthwhile back in 2009. Are they saying they are less worthwhile now?

Futhermore, there's a general industry-health issue to think about. The industry as a whole benefits from the spotlight of major awards, even if any particular year your title might not be the winner. Consistently supporting major organizations like BAFTA seems like the right thing for serious publishers to do.

Rockstar's antics might play out for them in the short term, but I don't think theirs is a great approach for an industry that still struggles to be taken as seriously as other entertainment forms.
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Christian Allen Design Director, WB Games11 years ago
BAFTA's are important to the industry. When you tell someone your game won some magazine's GOTY, a few people might think that's relevant, but if you say you got a BAFTA, they sit up and take notice.

They are hard to get through airport security, though...
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Mike Gregory Territory Manager, Optoma Europe Limited11 years ago
I would agree that BAFTA as a' brand' is widely recognised, and looking at the list of winners there was no sharp intake of breath from me.

A good cross section of great games.

Could it be that BAFTA is not influenced by lobbying and give credit where credit is due...?

It must be lonely for the BAFTA panel sitting up on the moral high ground.

Lets see if Rockstar have a product they would like to enter next year, or if they change their PR team...

Now if you will excuse me i have a date with Pacman CE DX


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