video games

Game studio co-founded by Filipina wins at 2024 BAFTA Games Awards 

Gelo Gonzales

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Game studio co-founded by Filipina wins at 2024 BAFTA Games Awards 

SAD OWL STUDIOS. Studio co-founder Gwen Foster stands at the podium of the 2024 BAFTA Games Awards to receive the Best British Game award on April 12, 2024, Philippine time.

Screenshot from BAFTA/YouTube

Sad Owl Studios' innovative photography-based game 'Viewfinder' takes home the 2024 awards for New Intellectual Property and British Game

MANILA, Philippines – Scotland-based game development studio Sad Owl Studios and publisher Thunderful Publishing on Friday, April 12, took home the awards for the categories New Intellectual Property and British Game at the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards for the puzzle game Viewfinder.

Released in July 2023 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows, Viewfinder bested the games Cassette Beasts, Dead Island 2, Disney Illusion Island, Football Manager 2024, and Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin in the British Game category. 

For the New Intellectual Property award, the game edged out Chants of Sennaar, Dave the Diver, Dredge, Hi-Fi Rush, and Jusant

Prior to these awards, the game was also nominated for Best Debut Indie and Best Independent Game at The Game Awards in December 2023, and Best Independent Game and Best Visual Design at the Golden Joystick Awards in November 2023. 

Notably for Filipino gaming fans, Sad Owl Studios, the studio that developed the game, was co-founded by Filipina game developer Gwen Foster in 2021. Foster currently serves as the studio’s business director. 

Receiving the award, the game developer said, “Thank you,” and also noted, “I hope they have snacks because I’m very hungry,” to the crowd’s delight. On a more serious note, the developer also thanked Sony for its support.

Game studio co-founded by Filipina wins at 2024 BAFTA Games Awards 

Foster told Rappler after the event, “We really didn’t plan any speeches since we didn’t actually think we were going to win. The games nominated are all really great, and we at Sad Owls Studios are such big fans of the other teams. The original goal was for us and the team to enjoy, and be cheerleaders of everyone else. Totoo ‘yung kaba. (The nervousness was real)”

In a succeeding tweet, Foster added that there were other Filipino members in the team including a producer, two artists, a game testing partner, a musician who did music for the game’s trailer, and a designer who did the game’s logo.

Foster’s hunger is probably on-brand as she is also behind the Filipino studio Chikon Club, which made the 2021 cooking game Soup Pot, which, of course, allowed players to make dishes such as sinigang, kare-kare, and maybe even some kakanin.

Foster has also served as a business associate for game development consultancy group Robot Teddy, which assisted in getting the game Among Us to the Nintendo Switch in 2020. 

What is Viewfinder?

Viewfinder is an unusual and novel game where you use photographs to place around the game’s world to reshape the world in order to progress and access new areas. 

“In the words of the Cheshire Cat, ‘Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.’ Viewfinder gameplay became this unique experience that can only exist in the video game medium,” Foster wrote in her blog entry for the game on the PlayStation site. 

Game studio co-founded by Filipina wins at 2024 BAFTA Games Awards 

She called it “so absurd, weird and far removed from reality,” but also, “taking photos and placing things randomly in space to alter reality is very exciting and amusing.”

Foster has also written a few pieces for Rappler.

The BAFTA 2024 Games Awards’ biggest winner of the night was the development team for Baldur’s Gate 3, taking home five awards, including best game, music, narrative performer in a supporting role, and the player’s choice award – adding to what has been a long list of accolades to date for the hit RPG.

Alan Wake 2, another critical darling, took home two awards for artistic achievement and audio achievement. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.