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Rockstar Games are to be awarded the BAFTA Fellowship at the upcoming BAFTA Video Game Awards, BAFTA announced today.

The studio, developers of critically acclaimed and controversial titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Bully, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne, will be awarded with the BAFTA Fellowship – the highest accolade bestowed in recognition for outstanding and exceptional contribution to either film, television or games.

Both Dan Houser, co-founder and vice president of creative, and Sam Houser, co-founder and executive producer, will be present to receive the award on Wednesday along with Leslie Benzies, president of Rockstar North and producer, and Aaron Garbut, art director.

“It is Rockstar Games’ revolutionary approach to games that helped bring the medium to the masses, particularly with Grand Theft Auto, one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game series of all time,” BAFTA said in a press release.

“It was the Grand Theft Auto series’ shift into 3D with Grand Theft Auto III that raised the bar for game-making, as players were immersed in a highly detailed, open world where they could explore gritty urban locations and follow the game’s narrative at their own pace. The game’s resounding success earned the company global recognition.”

It continued: “The Grand Theft Auto series, alongside groundbreaking games such as L.A. NoireManhunt, Bully and Red Dead Redemption, cemented Rockstar Games’ reputation for creating intricately layered interactive worlds that have kept the company at the forefront of the gaming industry for over a decade, both critically and commercially.”

The latest instalment in the GTA franchise was Grand Theft Auto V which launched on September 17th last year. The game quickly became the biggest launch in entertainment history, earning $800 million during its first 24 hours and then breaking $1 billion by its third day on sale.

Critically acclaimed worldwide, the game also outsold its predecessor, GTA IV, beat The Last of Us as the biggest digital release on PlayStation and broke seven Guinness World Records.

Having shipped over 32.5 million copies, the game has won four Game of the Year awards and is nominated for a further three.

Back in February, both Sam Houser and Dan Houser were inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

“We have long believed in the potential for videogames to become a new form of cultural expression and worked to show that in our games, so for us accepting the BAFTA Fellowship is incredibly humbling,” said Sam Houser.

“This honour reflects the creative vision and dedication of a huge number of people over many years, and we look forward to accepting the Fellowship on their behalf.”

Harvey Elliott, Chair of BAFTA’s Games Committee, added: “It is hugely exciting to be able to recognise the amazing contribution made by Rockstar to the games industry over the past 16 years.

“The creativity and passion exhibited by the Rockstar teams have inspired a generation of game developers to raise the bar in every aspect of game development. From design and mechanics, through to storytelling, cinematics and audio immersion, and in the process creating games that compete so profoundly on a global stage across all entertainment media.

“Rockstar, this Fellowship is wholly deserved.”

The BAFTA Video Game Awards takes place on March 12th from the Tobacco Dock in London and will be hosted for the sixth time by comedian Dara O’Briain.

A live stream of the event will be broadcasted on Twitch TV when the ceremony commences at 7pm. Tickets for the public can be purchased via BAFTA’s website.

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