By Belinda Goldsmith
LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - Stealth action game "Dishonored", featuring a masked bodyguard-turned-assassin, was named best video game of the year at an award ceremony on Tuesday.
An exotic adventure, "Journey", beat big budget rivals to take home five awards at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Game Awards.
"Dishonored", developed by France's Arkane Studios that is owned by privately-owned U.S. company ZeniMax Media, beat the widely expected favourite, "Journey", for the top prize.
Also nominated for that award were "Far Cry 3" from Ubisoft , EA's "FIFA 13", "Mass Effect 3" from Bioware, and "The Walking Dead" from TellTale Games.
But "Journey", by independent U.S. developer Thatgamecompany in which players travel from a sprawling desert to find secrets of a forgotten civilisation, went home with most prizes, winning five awards after being nominated in eight of 17 categories.
"Journey", the third game from Thatgamecompany following "Flow" and "Flower", won awards for Artistic Achievement, Audio Achievement, Game Design, Online Multiplayer and Original Music.
The BAFTA prizes, started in 2003, are among the few awards for achievements in the gaming industry that is estimated to have trebled in size in the past decade with consultancy DFC Intelligence valuing the industry at $78.5 billion.
The host for the fifth consecutive year, Irish comedian and gamer Dara O'Briain, said the 53 games nominated this year included blockbuster titles but also games with more imaginative thinking from independent developers.
"This year's list shows a movement towards what animation can do and the imagination of that - it's a very interesting list," O'Briain said ahead of the ceremony.
Two awards were won by both survival horror game "The Walking Dead" and "The Unfinished Swan", a game developed by Giant Sparrow and published by Sony.
The inaugural award for a British Game went to "The Room", a puzzle adventure from developers Fireproof Games, which the jury described as "an engaging, enigmatic, beautiful, slow burn".
Daniel Krupa, games writer at video game website IGN, said the nominations for the BAFTA Game Awards highlighted the greater range of games that had emerged in recent years due to apps on smartphones and new distribution methods for games.
Following is a list of the main winners of the British Academy Games Awards in 2013:
- "The Unfinished Swan"
- "The Room"
- Danny Wallace (The Narrator) - "Thomas Was Alone"
- "The Walking Dead"
- "LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes"
- "Far Cry 3"
- "New Star Soccer"
- "The Unfinished Swan"
- "Journey" (Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Michael Roddy)