Respawn may be the first game developer to be nominated for an Oscar

WW2 documentary Colette
(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment, Facebook Oculus)

Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment might just have become the first game developer to be nominated for an Oscar—but I'm afraid it wasn't because of BT-7274's heartfelt performance in Titanfall 2.

Colette, a 24-minute Guardian documentary following one of the last surviving members of the French resistance in Nazi-occupied Germany, has been shortlisted for best documentary short subject at this year's Academy Awards

So, where does Respawn fit in? Well, Colette was created as part of the studio's VR shooter Medal Of Honor: Above And Beyond. The documentary was co-produced by Respawn and Oculus as one of many short, live-action films for the game, and credits name Vince Zampella as a co-executive producer.

While it's not clear how hands-on Respawn was in the moment-to-moment production of Colette, the developer is obviously quite chuffed to be within arm's reach of becoming an Oscar-winning studio. As Respawn composer Stephen Barton notes, that's something very few film companies achieve—but for games studios, it's unheard of.

He may be correct, too. As far as we can tell, this is the first time a videogame developer has appeared in Oscar nominations. It is too much to hope this sets a precedent, one that'll eventually see PC Gamer reporting from the glitzy red carpet? Probably, but we can always dream.

Of course, not all developers have the same aspirations to be recognised by The Oscars. Isn't that right, Josef Fares?

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.