Train2Game News War Child 2021 RE-PLAY Celebration

War Child UK today launches its week long 2021 celebration of retro gaming with RE-PLAY, a fundraising campaign that celebrates gaming favourites from childhood to help children impacted by conflict to regain theirs.

Various activities will take place from 31st March-6th April, from a speedrunning marathon to an arcade tournament, a retro-game sale and streamers going live on Twitch with gaming classics.

Kicking off the campaign today is the launch of the annual RE-PLAY Steam Sale where gamers can take advantage of the discounted games that transport you back to your childhood, with a percentage of revenue going straight to War Child’s charity appeal, including:
 

  • Two Tribes – Toki Tori, Toki Tori 2+, EDGE, RIVE, RUSH
  • Chucklefish – Wargroove 
  • Falcon Development – Cattails
  • Pixelatto – Reventure
  • Motion Twin – Dead Cells, Dead Cells: The Bad Seed
     

War Child UK has partnered with UKSM who will be hosting a full-throttle speedrunning marathon; streaming an illustrious range of retro games from 3rd-4th April, between 12pm and 10pm BST each day. Viewers will be encouraged to donate and proceeds will go directly to War Child. Tune in to watch the UK’s best speedrunners live on Twitch.

The line-up of activities also includes a partnership with Antstream Arcade who will be hosting an arcade tournament taking place throughout the week. Retro gamers can tune into the tournament directly on the Antstream Arcade platform, to watch the Bubble Bobble mayhem ensue! 

Across the week Streamers, will take part in RE-PLAY’s charity livestream playing the best in old-school classics. Donations can be made through Tiltify – for more information on the latest streaming times and to sign up to hosting a stream, head over to: https://tiltify.com/war-child-uk/re-play

The full list of streamers taking part include: 

War Child UK supports children whose lives have been torn apart by war – keeping them safe, helping them learn and cope with their experiences, and equipping them with skills for the future. The specialist gaming team has innovative fundraising partnerships across the PC, console and mobile industries, as well as through streaming and support from the gaming community, and to date has brought in a massive $5million through gaming. RE-PLAY aims to increase the amount of engagement and funds generated via retro gaming. You Play, So Every Child Can.

For more information on War Child UK, please visit the official War Child Gaming site.

Train2Game News Game Services Forum Bringing Industry Professionals Together

Registration is now open for VIP studio and publisher executives and external services providers to attend the Game Services Forum.

  The Forum (www.gameservicesforum.com) is a highly focused event that brings senior games industry professionals together for matched one-to-one business meetings and educational seminars.

  Throughout this two-day event delegates will meet with trusted vendors who will be able to talk through projects, concerns and obstacles, offering the best advice as well cost-saving solutions.

  From Tools, External Development and QA to Analytics, Data and Ad Networks, the Game Services Forum has everything in one virtual place, saving studio professionals time, research, travel and money.

  Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend seminars hosted by industry thought-leaders.

  The Game Services Forum is brought to you by Forum Events & Media Group, a pioneer of the unique concept of face-to-face meetings events, based on matching the interests of procurement decision-makers with suppliers.

  The company boasts a portfolio of over 30 highly-focused events including the Smarter Payments Summit, Security IT Summit, Digital Marketing Solutions Summit and Contact Centre & Customer Experience Summit.

  The Game Services Forum is supported by MCV/Develop.

  For more information, visit www.gameservicesforum.com

Train2Game News Lawn Mowing Simulator

Curve Digital and Skyhook Games are pleased to announce Lawn Mowing Simulator, a stunning mowing simulator and detailed business management game set in the British countryside, coming to Xbox Series S|X and PC summer 2021.

Watch the reveal trailer here: https://youtu.be/wIfAfcZ34Mc

Lawn Mowing Simulator explores the Great British countryside and invites players to ride an authentic and expansive roster of licensed lawn mowers from prestigious manufacturers; Toro, SCAG and STIGA as they manage their mowing business.

Before Lawn Mowing Simulator releases later this year, Skyhook Games and Curve Digital are giving players access to the game for a limited time period via the Xbox Insider program. Pre-registration starts now, with the flight taking place from April 2nd until April 16th.

We’re incredibly excited to show the world our first in-house developed game,” said David Harper, co-founder of Skyhook Games. “We can’t wait for players to experience the satisfaction of manicuring a lawn to perfection within Lawn Mower Simulator’s idyllic setting.”

It feels great to be able to reveal Lawn Mowing Simulator alongside Skyhook Games. The team have done an amazing job recreating the experience of lawn mowing across the gorgeous British countryside“  added Simon Byron, Publishing Director at Curve Digital. “We’re excited for players to get hands-on with Lawn Mowing Simulator as early as next week through the Xbox Insider Program and to hear everyone’s thoughts.”
Lawn Mowing Simulator will feature:

PHYSICALLY AUTHENTIC LAWN MOWING EXPERIENCE
Execute ground checks, set your blade height, and measure your engine load as you complete a variety of contracts across Career Mode, Free Mode or Challenge Mode. Take your mowing to further heights with several attachments from stripe rollers, mulching kits, grass collectors, recyclers, flail decks and more.

BEAUTIFUL RURAL BRITISH COUNTRYSIDE
Lawn Mowing Simulator is set in a beautiful British countryside town. Busy residential streets, vast castle grounds, quaint cottage greens, and large equestrian fields are just some of the locations that await your mowing blades.

REAL WORLD LICENSED MOWER MANUFACTURERS 
Toro, SCAG and STIGA front line Lawn Mowing Simulator with their real-world machines painstakingly re-created visually and physically. 12 Mowers are available in the base game, each with their own challenges, attachments and upgrades to pursue.

ACCURATE AND ATTENTIVE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 
Build your own lawncare business from the ground up. Purchase and upgrade your headquarters, hire employees, purchase advertising and balance the books as you grow and expand your business.

Lawn Mowing Simulator is headed to PC and Xbox Series S | X in 2021. To be kept up to date with any news follow Lawn Mowing Simulator on Steam.

Train2Game News Games Career Week Starts Today

Today marks the launch of the first Annual Games Careers Week: a diverse programme of events dedicated to getting more people to explore careers and education in one of the UK’s highest growth and most exciting creative industries.

Running March 26th- 2nd April 2021, over 75 event partners – including video games studios, nonprofit organisations, and educational institutions – will come together for this free online festival to provide exhibitions, interactive workshops and panel discussions, with the aim to encourage students, parents, career advisers, and teachers, to explore the potential of and many pathways into video games careers.

The week will provide a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in a career in video games. Participants of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from the experience and advice of some of the UK’s top industry leaders – from how games are made, useful subjects and skills to study, to portfolio building, networking and how to break into the industry, and more.

Key themes and insight into games careers from social, political, cultural, and economic perspectives will include:

  • Highlighting the need for greater access to education and advice on games careers  to people from all backgrounds
  • Tackling industry stereotypes and misconceptions
  • Improving diversity and inclusion in video games by showcasing the diverse talents, viewpoints, and experiences behind critically acclaimed bodies of work
  • Unconscious bias in parental perceptions of careers for their children

As part of the event’s focus on diversity in video games, the event organisers have recruited a very diverse range of spokespeople from the sector. They also called for an industry-wide sourcing of diverse images of studios, makers, and the people behind the games, to create a royalty-free image bank for games careers. The aim is for would-be game designers, programmers, artists, producers and anyone from diverse backgrounds to be able to see people like themselves already in the industry, showing that it’s a career option available to all, regardless of race, gender identity, sexuality, neurodiversity, or having a disability.

Games Careers week is a non-profit event funded and organised byThe BGI, Grads in Games, and Into Games. It has amassed the support of over 75 partners, all recognising the necessity for educating the public about an industry with a global sales value of over £100 billion in 2020 (Nielsen) – and the fact that many of the world’s top games development studios are UK based.   

Rick Gibson, one of the founders of Games Careers Week, commented “We want to help diverse young people, their parents, and their educators to learn more about why creative technology are so important for their futures. The games industry should be a poster-child for the UK’s export-driven knowledge economy. Most parents don’t know the UK supports over 25,000 stable, exciting and well paid jobs, which number grew by over 12% in 2020 right through the pandemic. We recognise there are education and knowledge gaps about games careers, especially amongst women and underrepresented communities, and we think the best way to build a more diverse workforce is to provide the tools, advice, and information to encourage a range of diverse new talent to explore their digital skills and career potential.”

Games Career Week has also received support from UK Minister for Employment Mims Davies: “Gaming can traditionally be a rather challenging sector to break into, so it’s great to see the industry giving such exciting opportunities to young people this Games Careers Week.

“Many companies in the gaming world have already signed up to the DWP Kickstart Scheme to help our next generation of workers into brilliant new roles as part of our Plan for Jobs, and I encourage other employers to get involved across the sector as we push to build back better from the pandemic.”

A full schedule of the Festival’s events, news, as well as a permanent information resource on games careers can be found at https://gamescareersweek.org/

Train2Game News Trials Of Fire PC Deckbuilder

Whatboy Games today announced it will launch its debut title TRIALS OF FIRE on 9 April.

Trials of Fire is a single-player, turn-based strategy game set in a post-cataclysmic fantasy realm.

Embarking on their chosen quest into the desolate wastelands of Ashe, players guide a party of three Heroes in search of hope. The hope to save a forsaken people, the hope to survive in the brutal and barren wastelands, the hope that their party will live to fight again and write a new chapter in their enduring story.

See the Trials of Fire Launch Trailer here:

https://youtu.be/9P2gOn17-FQ

Directed by the Lead Gameplay Programmer of Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Asylum, Trials of Fire plunges players into a vast and varied game world featuring a unique tactical, card-driven combat system, and branching narrative encounters with no easy choices.

Key Features

  • A new kind of deck-driven combat. Tactical, turn-based battles on hex-based maps combine party tactics, positional play and deck-building skill. Optimise each Hero’s capabilities by taking advantage of powerful card synergies and by combining Heroes’ individual skills and powers.
  • Game-changing loot and limitless combinations. Players are able to build out their party with any combination of nine unique character classes. Equip their Heroes with over 200 unique items and over 320 upgradeable Skill Cards. Every run will be different.
  • A vast and varied wasteland. Players traverse an immense overworld filled with combat and narrative encounters, choosing their own path and defining their own adventure as they search and fight for resources critical to their survival.
  • Play your way. Six different game modes and customisable quests allow gamers to tailor their play session how they want. Blast through a quick-fire combat run, endure an endless survival mode or take on unique, daily challenges.

Following seven years at Rocksteady heading up Marketing and PR for the Batman: Arkham series, co-Founder and Studio Director, Dax Ginn says: “Throughout the almost two years of full-time development in Early Access on Steam we have been able to deliver on the complete content plan for Trials of Fire and also build a community around the game of insanely dedicated players and collaborators. Trials of Fire would not be the game that it is today without the incredible support we’ve received from gamers around the world. We’ll be forever grateful for their feedback and help in shaping and improving the game to where it is now at full launch.”

Trials of Fire launches for PC on 9 April. Also launching on 9 April is the digital collector’s edition of Trials of Fire featuring bonus content including a digital map of Ashe, the complete original soundtrack by SCNTFC, and 100-page digital artbook. Both editions are available from the Steam online store.

Learn more about Trials of Fire at Whatboy.com

Train2Game News 25 Years Of Resident Evil

Capcom’s genre-defining survival horror franchise reaches a monumental milestone yesterday with the 25th anniversary of Resident Evil.

Over the years, the popular series has shipped more than 107 million units, introduced some of video games’ most iconic characters and gameplay systems, and transcended beyond games to become a cornerstone of entertainment.

The next hotly anticipated entry in the game series is coming soon with Resident Evil Village releasing worldwide May 7, 2021 on PlayStation® 5, PlayStation® 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Steam and newly confirmed Stadia. Ahead of the launch, Capcom confirmed a new Resident Evil Showcase digital event will be coming in April and announced details for an open beta test for the upcoming multiplayer experience Resident Evil Re:Verse.

  New game details will be revealed in a new Resident Evil Showcase digital event in April, giving fans a look at what’s in store for them when Resident Evil Village launches on May 7. The Resident Evil Showcase in January revealed information on significant new gameplay features and characters for Resident Evil Village as well as other brand updates, and the April event will follow suit with new game content and 25th anniversary news to share.

Follow the official @RE_Games channel on Twitter for more info soon including the exact time of the digital event and how you can tune in.

  An all-star roster of fan favorite heroes and bioweapons come together to celebrate 25 years of Resident Evil in the upcoming multiplayer experience Resident Evil Re:Verse. In Resident Evil Re:Verse, players start as human characters, hunting each other and collecting virus vials scattered across the map. When they are taken out, they resurrect as bioweapons to enact revenge. The more vials they collect, the stronger their bioweapon transformation will be – it will be up to each player to strategize between vial collection and a full-on offensive strategy. This thank you to fans will be available for free for those who purchase Resident Evil Village.

Today Capcom announced PlayStation® 4, Xbox One and Steam players can participate in an open beta test for Resident Evil Re:Verse taking place April 7 at 23:00 h PDT / April 8 07:00 h BST / 08:00 h CEST, through to April 11 at 22:59 h PDT / April 12 06:59 h BST / 07:59 h CEST. Players who participated in the earlier closed beta test and still have the game installed on their hardware can play via a game update once the open beta is live. New players will be able to pre-load the open beta content starting April 5. All open beta participants will need a registered Capcom ID to play.

  Pre-orders for Resident Evil Village are available now, with digital Standard and Deluxe Edition options for all platforms, plus physical Standard and Collector’s Edition for console players.

The digital Deluxe Edition includes the base game and a digital “Trauma Pack,” which consists of additional in-game content including a Samurai Edge weapon, Resident Evil 7 biohazard-inspired found footage screen filter, tape recorder save point option, immediate access to an especially challenging difficulty setting, and more. The physical Collector’s Edition includes the Deluxe Edition content plus a striking statue of franchise veteran Chris Redfield, a SteelBook case, art book, a cloth map of the village and an A4 print showing the key art. Resident Evil Village will be eligible to upgrade from PlayStation 4 to the digital PlayStation 5 version and will support Smart Delivery for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

  Resident Evil 7 biohazard Gold Edition will be available on Stadia as an individual purchase option and will be free with Stadia Pro beginning on April 1, 2021. Players can also delve into the rich library of titles from Resident Evil with several discount promotions across multiple platforms in celebration of the 25th anniversary.

Please check respective digital storefronts in the coming weeks for sale promotions.

Train2Game News 30 Years Of Sonic

IDW Publishing (OTCQX: IDWM) and SEGA® of America, Inc. today announced a special comic book collaboration celebrating 30 years of the video game sensation-turned-pop culture icon, Sonic the Hedgehog™.

Timed to the speedster’s 30th trip around the sun this June, IDW will release the Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special, a super-sized 80-page comic book featuring three tales of colorful heroes and dastardly villains, sure to tug at the heartstrings of fans of all ages!

With the franchise entering a new decade, the anniversary issue will feature the writings of New York Times best-selling authors Gale Galligan and the McElroy Brothers to bring a fresh spin to the Blue Blur’s next chapter.

“We’re celebrating a major milestone for the world’s coolest hedgehog, so we needed creators who could capture the vibrant comedy and action of Sonic in style,” said IDW editor David Mariotte. “The 30th Anniversary Special features possibly the greatest creative lineup ever assembled on a single issue of Sonic!”

For this spectacular tribute comic, IDW has tapped Gale Galligan, known for her illustration work on The Babysitters Club, along with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, podcasters recognizable from The Adventure Zone and the wildly popular My Brother, My Brother, and Me. This group of newcomers will be contributing their first-ever Sonic adventures alongside fan-favorite and longtime scribe Ian Flynn and artists Mauro Fonseca, Reggie Graham, Aaron Hammerstrom and Thomas Rothlisberger.

“Seasons of Chaos,” the first of three stories featured in the 30th Anniversary Special, comes courtesy of Flynn, Hammerstrom and Graham, and sends Sonic on a mission from pleasant spring valleys to winter wonderlands in search of Chaos Emeralds alongside his friends Miles “Tails” Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, Mighty the Armadillo, and Ray the Flying Squirrel.

“Sonic has been central to my creative career for fifteen years,” said Flynn. “I’ve had the pleasure of writing the little blue hedgehog in a variety of media, and he in turn has introduced me to an army of artists and editors who have helped me grow as a professional (and made me look good). I’ve had a long run with Sonic, and I hope that continues for years to come!”

The vile Dr. Eggman takes center stage in the second story, with the surprisingly poignant “Dr. Eggman’s Birthday” by Galligan and Rothlisbeger… because this momentous occasion belongs to the bad doctor, Sonic’s 30-year long nemesis, as much as it does to the Blue Blur.

“When my sister and I were little, we borrowed the Sonic the Hedgehog OVA from our local video library and proceeded to watch it about a billion times,” said Galligan. “I still remember quoting it back and forth with her for weeks after that! Sonic has held a special place in my heart ever since. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to the 30th Anniversary Special, and I can’t wait to send my sister a copy!”

Finally, in the action-packed and laugh-inducing third story “Sonic Learns to Drive” by the McElroy Brothers and Fonseca, Sonic’s up against a tough challenge: when the fastest thing alive can outrun any car, will Sonic have the patience to learn what to do behind the wheel… or will he finally get left in the dust?

The Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A by Sonic Team, Cover B by Christina-Antoinette Neofotistou, and two retailer incentive editions featuring art by Patrick Spaziante and Tyson Hesse, respectively.

For ardent Sonic enthusiasts, IDW will also be producing the Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Celebration: The Deluxe Edition, a hardcover version with special bonus content and a level of added prestige for $19.99 USD. Hitting stores on October 5, 2021, the Deluxe Edition features an additional story by Gale Galligan, a cover gallery, a “From Script to Comic” feature and much more.

As another way to commemorate 30 years of Sonic, IDW will release Sonic the Hedgehog: The IDW Collection, Vol. 1 for $59.99 USD on June 22, 2021, debuting a new line of oversized Sonic hardcover editions that will encompass the ongoing series, annuals and mini-series in the recommended reading order.

Featuring everything a beginner could need and everything a diehard could want, the first volume collects issues #1-12 of IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog comics, comprising the complete “Fallout,” “The Fate of Dr. Eggman” and “Battle for Angel Island” story arcs.

For information on how to acquire Sonic the Hedgehog comics and graphic novels from IDW, please contact your local comic shop or visit www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you.

Train2Game News Life Is Strange True Colors

SQUARE ENIX Ltd. today announced Life is Strange: True Colors™ during the company’s showcase livestream, SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS.

This newest entry in the franchise has been created by Deck Nine Games, the developers behind Life is Strange: Before the Storm, in collaboration with Square Enix External Studios. Presented by musical artist and social media star, mxmtoon, Life is Strange: True Colors took centre stage during the digital show, where its new protagonist, her dynamic supernatural power and a thrilling mystery was introduced. The company also announced the Life is Strange Remastered Collection, a new edition of the critically acclaimed Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm game featuring all new enhanced graphics and animations.

Watch the Life is Strange: True Colors trailer here: 
https://youtu.be/vliFdPEadKQ

For the first time in the franchise, there will be no more waiting for the next episode – players will be able to experience Life is Strange: True Colors in one single release.

Brought to life through full performance capture tech by rising talent Erika Mori, players will navigate Haven Springs as Alex Chen who has long suppressed her ‘curse’: the psychic power of Empathy, a supernatural ability which allows her to experience, absorb and manipulate the strong emotions of others – which she sees as blazing, colored auras. When her brother dies in a so-called accident, Alex must at last embrace her volatile power to find the truth – and uncover the dark secrets buried by a small town. Alex Chen’s journey and power is yours to control, and her future is in your hands.

Players’ time exploring Haven Springs will be underpinned by the exclusive soundtrack, with new tracks by mxmtoon and Novo Amor, and licensed songs including Radiohead, Phoebe Bridgers, Gabrielle Aplin, and much more.

Jeff Litchford, Vice President at Deck Nine Games stated, “It has been such an honor to return to the vibrant, emotive, and impactful world of Life is Strange. We are delighted to share this new story with you: a story of empathy, human connection, and the struggle to find a place to call home. All of the advancements in storytelling, development technology, and premium voice acting that we have made since Life is Strange: Before the Storm will allow players to be more immersed in the compelling world of Life is Strange: True Colors than ever before.”

Also announced during the show, the Life is Strange Remastered Collection. This collection will contain remastered editions of Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, featuring improved visuals and animations. The collection will be available as part of the Ultimate Edition of Life is Strange: True Colors and as astand-alone edition later this year.

Watch the entire Square Enix Presents stream here:
https://youtu.be/XK-E3CY6vWk

Life is Strange: True Colors will be available physically and digitally in three editions; the Standard Edition, the Deluxe Edition and the Ultimate Edition. Full details on each Edition can be found at lifeisstrange.com. Customers who pre-order Life is Strange: True Colors now will receive 4 additional in-game outfits for Alex.

Life is Strange: True Colors is slated for release on PlayStation 5®, PlayStation 4®, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC Steam, Windows Store, and Google Stadia on September 10, 2021.

Read more on the Life is Strange website: https://lifeisstrange.square-enix-games.com

Train2Game News GameBlast21 Huge Success

The total raised for GameBlast21, the UK’s largest charity gaming weekend, has been confirmed at £228,300 ($317,800).

It’s more than double the original fundraising target for the event, and one of the biggest totals in its eight-year history.

Gamers across the UK and beyond took on gaming marathons and game-themed events over the weekend of 26-28 February to raise money for the charity, who help people with physical disabilities to experience the fun and inclusion of video games.

As well as the hundreds of individual gamers and communities who took part, many major names in the games industry supported the event, including Twitch, EA DICE, Mediatonic, SEGA Europe, Unit 2 Games, Fanatical, Insert Coin Clothing and Turn 10 Studios, alongside a host of esports teams and popular streamers.

In addition, several other companies including HyperX, Noblechairs, Fierce PC and Big Potato Games, showed their support for by creating some awesome limited-edition products and running giveaways to reward people for taking part.

“We’d hoped to raise £100,000 this year,” said Becky Frost, the GameBlast Event Coordinator, “so we’re amazed and humbled by the final figure. To have the support of so many gamers is a huge boost for the charity, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of everyone involved. As result of their generosity, many hundreds of people will be able to enjoy the magic of video games for many years to come. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part.”

The dates for GameBlast22 have been announced as 25-27 February 2022.

Donations for GameBlast can still be made http://bit.ly/3cytyA7

Train2Game News EE Game Of The Year Nominees

Six nominees for the all-new EE Game of the Year Award are announced ahead of the British Academy Games Awards on Thursday 25th March 2021.

Brought to fans by EE, the UK’s number one network for gaming, the new award is the only category to be voted for by the global community of games fans. The shortlist was decided by a panel of games experts* who were tasked with nominating six games that have resonated most with players around the world – capturing our imaginations and keeping us entertained and connected over the past year.

However, the jury panel have handed over control, with the decision now in the hands of the public.

This is the last week that the public can vote, with voting for EE Game of the Year open until 12:00PM on Monday 22nd March 2021 at ee.co.uk/BaftaGames.

The EE Game of The Year nominees for 2021 are:

ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS is a life simulation game developed and published by Nintendo. A carefree life is just beyond the horizon! Step off the plane and onto your very own deserted island where new friends, discoveries and opportunities are waiting for you. There are lots of ways to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons together with friends and family – locally or online. Share gifts, compete in bug contests or just enjoy one another’s company – there’s always more fun to be had with friends! Seasons change, time passes, and residents get on with their day – even when you’re not around, life on your island goes on. Experience every season and all the unique things that each one brings to your new home! Paradise is what you make it in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch.

CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE is the hit free-to-play, free-for-everyone online experience developed by Infinity Ward and Raven Software that has dropped millions of players into the fictional world of Verdansk. Explore a massive battleground with up to 150 players, where you drop in, armour up, loot for rewards, and battle your way to the top. The game is available on PlayStation® 5, PlayStation® 4, the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and on PC.

GHOST OF TSUSHIMA is an open world action-adventure game set in feudal Japan, developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. In the late 13th century, the Mongol empire has laid waste to entire nations along their campaign to conquer the East. Tsushima Island is all that stands between mainland Japan and a massive Mongol invasion fleet led by the ruthless and cunning general, Khotun Khan. As the island burns in the wake of the first wave of the Mongol assault, samurai warrior Jin Sakai stands as one of the last surviving members of his clan. He is resolved to do whatever it takes, at any cost, to protect his people and reclaim his home. He must set aside the traditions that have shaped him as a warrior to forge a new path, the path of the Ghost, and wage an unconventional war for the freedom of Tsushima. The game is available on PlayStation® 4.

HADES is a roguelike dungeon crawler developed and published by Supergiant Games. Players control Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape from the Underworld and his father’s clutches, at times aided by blessings bestowed on him by the Olympian gods. Each escape attempt presents different combinations of chambers filled with foes and rewards, as well as unique story encounters. Zagreus will inevitably die during his journey, but his immortality means he can always try again. The story continues unfolding from one play-through to the next, and players can use found resources to improve abilities or unlock new weapons, raising their chances of success next time. The game is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Nintendo Switch.

THE LAST OF US PART II is Naughty Dog’s most ambitious project in the studio’s more than 35-year history. From its acclaimed story and performances to its industry-leading advancements in graphics, audio, dialogue, representation, and accessibility, The Last of Us Part II explores mature themes about love, loss, and the obsessive nature of vengeance by challenging players to experience its harrowing story from opposing perspectives as Ellie and Abby. As each character’s journey unfolds and intersects, The Last of Us Part II prompts difficult questions about empathy and the lengths we would go to in order to bring justice for the people we love. The game is available on PlayStation® 4.

VALORANT is the free-to-play, competitive 5v5 character-based tactical shooter for the PC developed by Riot Games. A precise and lethal multiplayer game with high-fidelity gunplay, a diverse arsenal of guns, agents with unique abilities, and competitively tuned maps for thousands of hours of play. Optimised to perform on a wide variety of PC hardware, allowing for a global audience to compete; and demonstrated by the game’s best-in-class game server quality, global infrastructure, and proprietary anti-cheat technology, Riot Games is committed to preserving the core tenets of the tactical shooter genre and upholding the competitive integrity of the gameplay experience.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, Chair of the Games Committee at BAFTA, said: “In a year when games have been an invaluable way to stay socially connected and entertained for so many around the world, we are delighted to be working with EE to give the global community of games fans the chance to choose their favourite. The shortlisted games are all excellent contenders and I look forward to seeing which title the public choose to crown our first ever winner of the EE Game of the Year Award.”

Producer and Presenter Aoife Wilson, Head of Video at Eurogamer and member of the EE Game of The Year 2021 jury panel, said: “It’s a great honour to have been a jury member for the first ever BAFTA EE Game of the Year Award. It’s a particularly important award because in the last year, games have done more to bring people together than ever before. Games have the power to connect, to heal, to teach and to empower, and that’s never been clearer or more needed than right now. In a year where we’ve been separated physically, it’s very special that players now have the power to celebrate the games that have meant so much to us. It’s an incredible shortlist, and I can’t wait to see which of the amazing games featured will be voted the winner.”

Kirk McKeand, Editor-in-Chief at TheGamer.com and EE Game of the Year juror, added: “Enjoying video games is one of the only things we can do safely at the moment. Video games have been a sanctuary this last year – they allow us to travel, be with friends, and experience touching stories. We can empathise with characters, socialise with loved ones, and compete with rivals. Everyone is looking to games for a different reason, and I think the jury reflected that variety in the shortlist. On top of that, critics are often a bit disconnected from the audience. We play a lot of games, and we do so within strict time-constraints and a need to get to the next piece of coverage. That’s why it’s important for the fans to have a voice in an award like this.”

Pete Jeavons, Director of Marketing Communications for BT and EE, said: “We are thrilled to unlock the public vote, bringing fans closer to the action. The jury panel have done their part and now it’s over to the public to decide who will be crowned the first ever EE Game of the Year Award winner at this years’ BAFTA Games Awards!”

Voting for EE Game of the Year is open until 12:00PM on Monday 22nd March 2021 at ee.co.uk/BaftaGames. The EE Game of the Year winner will be announced at the BAFTA Games Award on Thursday 25th March 2021.