Image: BAFTA / Rockstar

Almost 25 years after Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 won a BAFTA for best sound at the 1999 Interactive Game Awards, its sound director is finally being honoured with the award.

Blair Renaud joined Rockstar Canada at 17 and later went on to be credited as the map designer/sound director on Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 at the age of 21. During the game's development, he handled all of its sound design (including the sounds of the vehicles, guns, menus, and pickups), while another team in London led by Somethin' Else's Paul Bennun recorded the voice-over and edited together the radio stations. As we detailed back in our in-depth Making Of feature on Grand Theft Auto London in 2022, however, neither Renaud nor Bennun was recognized on the night. Instead, an unknown representative from Take-Two accepted the award on behalf of the publisher and gave a speech

Bennun, who was at the awards back in 1999, gives an account of what happened on the night: "We went on the night, and I see this marketing dude going up and giving this shitty speech about how amazing they’d been and what great work they’d done on this title. One, I don’t know who the fuck you are. Two, I’ve never heard of you. Three, have I mentioned I’ve never heard of you? Four, you have nothing to do with the thing that you’re claiming credit for. Nothing at all."

GTA London 1969
Image: BAFTA

Bennun was able to subsequently complain to BAFTA shortly after the show and get his own award sent out to him — which now reportedly resides in the Somethin' Else offices in London, but Renaud wasn't so lucky. Over the last 25 years, he's been unsuccessfully trying to get in touch with someone at BAFTA to have his case looked into.

"As I recall it, someone at the office told me 'GTA London won an award'," he tells us, "But there were no details given to me whatsoever. It wasn't until years later that I found out what the award was, and how significant it was. [Since then], I have made multiple attempts over the years to get some information about it, but have never been pointed in any useful direction, or given an opportunity to make a formal request."

As a result, Time Extension volunteered to help put him in touch with the right people and advocate on his behalf, but this proved to be a bit of a painfully slow process. In total, it took us 17 months before we were able to get BAFTA to meaningfully reply, and initially, the answer they gave us was no. But after Renaud stepped in and passionately argued his case, it was eventually put to a vote.

Now, almost 21 months since our original email, the BAFTA board has finally presented Blair with his own mask (minus the plaque, which is still incoming), recognizing Renaud for his work on the game. We asked Renaud for a comment about BAFTA's decision and he sent us the following statement:

"I'd actually like to thank you. And maybe the internet and the technology that enabled this to happen. Without your help, this would never have happened.

In 1999 when the internet was young and I was just a punk kid making games, I couldn't have known the significance of being awarded a BAFTA. As time passed, the internet and I both matured and filled with knowledge.

It took 24 years to sort through the data and make the right connections (you being one of them), but I don't think I could ask for a more satisfying outcome. Not only do I feel recognized for my work, but I also feel like I've fought and won a battle, and made some great friends, memories and stories along the way.

Now If you'll excuse me, I should probably go purchase a bottle of Champagne."