Entries are now open for The Develop:Star Awards 2021, taking place on October 27th

Tandem Events has announced that entries are now open for this year’s The Develop:Star Awards, taking place on Wednesday 27 October at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, during Develop:Brighton 2021.

Entries can be submitted across 17 categories via the Develop:Star Awards website. The deadline for submissions is 23:59 BST on Friday 2 July. Further details on the submissions process are available on the website.

“This year’s Develop:Star Awards will recognise and celebrate the achievements of our industry’s best and brightest after what has been a tough year for everyone,” said Tandem Events Managing Director Andy Lane.

“As we look forward, this year we’re proud to be introducing the Tomorrow’s Star award. This award will recognise an inspiring individual with a long and promising future in game development ahead of them. We’re looking for someone who inspires others and has the potential to become an industry leader.”

Last year’s awards took place as part of Develop:Brighton Digital, and saw Media Molecule and Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Dreams being awarded the Game of the Year prize, as well as Best Innovation and Best Game Design.

As well as the 17 categories this year, the awards will once again “honour an extraordinary industry figure for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the industry.” Last year, Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard accepted the honour, and this year’s recipient will be announced over the coming months.

The qualifying period for entires is from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021 – Only games released during this period are eligible for nomination. Any supporting evidence for individual nominees must also fall within this timeframe.

The final shortlist, which will be decided upon by a panel of industry experts, will be announced over the summer, ahead of an industry vote to determine the winners in each category.

Further details about the 17 categories can be seen below:

Best Visual Art: Recognising a game which demonstrates exceptional achievement in visual art and/or animation, across any genre.

Best Narrative: Rewarding a game that far exceeded expectations in storytelling to create an outstanding player experience – through innovative or ground-breaking writing.

Best Game Design: This award recognises the game that demonstrated exceptional and creative game design via the use of controls, level design, pacing and mechanics.

Best Audio: Rewarding a game that demonstrates distinction in the use of sound or music to improve player experience.

Best Original IP: This award will recognise the creation of the best new intellectual property in a game.

Best Innovation: The award which recognises any game, studio or organisation that has created something ground-breaking within the games industry. This could be a technical advance, a pioneering gameplay experience or anything showing true innovation.

Diversity Star: This award celebrates an individual who has shown a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the games industry.

Best QA and Localisation Provider: Recognising the organisation that has provided the highest quality of service and contributed the most to usability, testing and localisation within the game developer community. 

Best Creative Provider: This award recognises the organisation that has provided exceptional audio assets (voice acting, music or sound effects) or visual assets (porting or creating sections of the game) for the game developer community. 

Recruitment Star: Recognising an organisation that has shown outstanding support helping development studios successfully recruit and retain new team members. 

Best Technology Provider: For this award we’ll be rewarding the organisation who have provided outstanding hardware and/or technological support for UK game developers. This could include third party engines, motion capture tools, dev kits or microprocessors.

Publishing Star: Recognising an organisation that has shown outstanding support helping developers get their game published. This can include via funding, discoverability, research or anything else that helped secure a successful route to market for new games.  

Tomorrow’s Star: The Tomorrow’s Star award will recognise the achievements of new talent in the games industry. Nominees should be below senior management or director level.

Best Mobile Game: This award will be given to the game that offers best overall player experience on a mobile phone or tablet.

Game of the Year: Rewarding the game that stands out above all others in terms of gameplay, storytelling, art style, character development, creativity and overall player experience – across all genres and platforms.

Best Micro Studio: This award will go to a studio with four or fewer employees who’ve achieved exceptional critical and commercial success during the qualifying period.

Best Studio: This award celebrates any studio with five or more employees who’ve achieved exceptional critical and commercial success during the qualifying period.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can 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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