BAFTA announces this year’s Young Game Designers finalists

BAFTA has announced the 53 individual finalists for the tenth anniversary of the Young Game Designers (YGD) competition.

The YGD competition showcases and supports the UK industry’s young talent by providing access to the industry’s most creative minds, through a year-round programme of competitions, networking, workshops and mentorship.

The winners will be selected by a panel of industry experts, and will be announced in the YGD’s first ever digital ceremony hosted by Aoife Wilson. The ceremony will take place on Thursday 18 June 2020 at 17.00 GMT on the BAFTA YouTube channel.

Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and CEO of UKIE, said: “During these uncertain times, we have seen the games industry unite more than ever before. The BAFTA YGD competition has provided an excellent opportunity over the last ten years to encourage aspiring talent to discover more about the industry, whilst also unlocking their imaginations and creative potential. This year shows yet again how important games are as a medium for finding your way in the world and telling meaningful stories. Good luck to all of the 2020 finalists – I look forward to following the future careers of the winners!”

This year’s entires encompass a wide range of topics, from mental health and relationships to climate change. The finalists this year will compete for the YGD Game Concept award, which is split into two categories – 10 to 14 years, and 15 to 18 years, and will celebrate the best original game idea. Additionally, the YGD Game Making Award, split into the same two categories, rewards the coding skills used to create a prototype game.

The juries were chaired by Dr. Jo Twist OBE and Des Gayle, and other jurors included Abubakar Salim, Jodie Azhar and Alysia Judge. Entries will be judged on gameplay design, creativity and suitability for the chosen games platform.

In addition to the BAFTA YGD award, winners will have the chance to build upon their game ideas through a mentorship with leading industry figures, and will also receive advice on a career in games and the industry as a whole.Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, PlayStation, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Further information can be found here.

Emily Mitchell was winner of the BAFTA YGD Award in 2017 for her debut game Fractured Minds, an immersive, artistic short puzzle game about the struggles of living with mental health issues, and has subsequently been able to publish the final game, selling thousands of copies. She was also named the winner of the  Games for a Better World award at the MCV/DEVELOP Awards.

Host Aoife Wilson, said: “I’m so honoured to host the BAFTA Young Game Designers Awards in its tenth year. The standard of entries for YGD is always so amazingly high; full of imagination, creativity, excitement and empathy. Every year the YGD competition reminds me why I love games so much, and reminds me of the potential that games have to make a positive impact in people’s lives. I remember being in love with games as a young person but having no clue how the industry worked or how I would begin with trying to forge a career in it. The BAFTA YGD competition helps demystify the practical side of getting into games, removing barriers between game-makers and their chosen industry, offering support at every level and making games a more accessible career path for as many young people as possible. It’s an exciting inside glimpse of what’s to come for gaming!”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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