Elden Ring saw one of the most surprising wins at this year's BAFTA Games Awards, earning the award for multiplayer, which may be considered a major upset by many. Elden Ring was nominated nine times, second behind God of War Ragnarok and tied with Stray.
Multiplayer has been a staple of FromSoftware's catalog for decades, and Demon's Souls pioneered the invasion formula that the studio has been iterating on ever since. Even Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, a solely single-player title, saw asynchronous multiplayer features added to the game after release. But as consistent as FromSoftware's commitment to multiplayer components is the criticism that they often receive. Compared to many modern multiplayer and cooperative experiences, Elden Ring lacks certain accessibility, has been known to struggle with stability, and has had issues with balance. That said, thousands have thoroughly enjoyed the unique moments that arise from Elden Ring's invasions and cooperative play, and it is far from inconceivable to understand why it was nominated for a Best Multiplayer category.
However, Elden Ring won Best Multiplayer at this year's BAFTAs, beating out fellow nominees Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, FIFA 23, Overwatch 2, Splatoon 3, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge. Elden Ring's inclusion as a multiplayer game may puzzle some people, but the fact that it won will probably raise eyebrows, especially when the single-player aspect of FromSoftware's magnum opus is its focus. For many, the potential fun of Elden Ring's multiplayer does not trump the fact that most of the other nominated titles were built for and operate better as a multiplayer experience.
The situation is somewhat reminiscent of when Sifu was nominated for Best Fighting at The Game Awards 2022, despite not actually being what is traditionally referred to as a fighting game. That is a moniker usually reserved for titles such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sifu includes literal fighting, but that does not make it a fighting game. However, Sifu did not win the award that year and was beaten by MultiVersus.
BAFTA is known for going against the grain. Breath of the Wild was beaten by What Remains of Edith Finch for the Best Game award in 2017 as an example. This year is certainly aiming to be even more shocking than that, especially as God of War Ragnarok's six wins made it seem inevitable that it would take home the main prize. But Elden Ring's second and final award was for Original Property, meaning it too lost out on Best Game. In the end, the two gaming behemoths of 2022 were beaten for the BAFTA's Best Game award by indie darling Vampire Survivors.
Elden Ring is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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