LONDON: Greek mythology-inspired "Hades" took out the top honours at the BAFTA Games Awards on Thursday, scooping five prizes including a win for best game of 2020, as pandemic lockdowns brought new fans to the sector.
Developed by San Francisco-based Supergiant Games, "Hades" lets players take on the role Hades' son Zagreus as he tries to escape the Underworld.
In a ceremony streamed live, the title also picked up awards for game design, artistic achievement, narrative and performer supporting role for voice actor Logan Cunningham at the British Academy Games Awards.
EE game of the year, the sole award voted for by the public, went to "The Last of Us Part II", which had led nominations with a record 13 nods.
With Britain under national lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many people turned to games for entertainment as well as virtual social interaction, organisers said.
"2020 ... saw people seeking out forms of entertainment in ways that we haven't seen before," Jo Twist, Chief Executive of trade body Ukie, told Reuters. "Games offered a real opportunity for people to socially connect."
The UK video games market rose some 30per cent last year to a record 7 billion pounds (US$9.61 billion), according to Ukie, which represents the UK games and interactive entertainment sector.
Software revenue rose 18per cent to 4.55 billion pounds while game hardware jumped nearly 61per cent to 2.26 billion pounds as gamers bought new consoles, accessories and upgraded their PC game components, Ukie said.
"The Last of Us Part II", set in a post-apocalyptic United States filled with fungus-infected zombies, also won awards for animation and performer in a leading role for voice actress Laura Bailey.
Platform game "Sackboy: A Big Adventure" won the British game award.
"2020 has been ... a landmark year for gaming ... We've launched a whole new generation of consoles. We've had video games come out that we've been waiting for years and years. We've had reboots of really beloved franchises," ceremony host Elle Osili-Wood told Reuters.
(US$1 = 0.7282 pounds)
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Additional reporting by Emmanouil Papavasileiou; editing by Richard Pullin)