This is a press release posted in addition to our usual editorial content.
Today, BAFTA has announced the 54 talented finalists, from across the UK, for the 12th nationwide BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition. BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative of public events, workshops and a competition for 10-18 year-olds, culminating in the annual YGD award ceremony to celebrate finalists and winners. This year’s winners will be revealed at a special virtual BAFTA YGD ceremony, taking place on Thursday, 30th June 2022 at 17.00 BST. The ceremony will be hosted by actor, TV presenter and comedian Inel Tomlinson, and will be streamed on BAFTA’s Kids & Teens YouTube channel.
Over the last five months, 10 to 18 year olds across the country have been harnessing the power of their imaginations to create original concepts and designs for a brand new video game. Entrants have been working both in teams and individually, at home and at school. A virtual jury of industry professionals, chaired by Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Jodie Azhar, Nick Button-Brown and Des Gayle, have selected 40 of the most creative, thought-provoking and visually exciting games for this year’s final.
This year’s shortlisted entries encompass a diverse range of contemporary topics, including mental health and anxiety, climate change, computer safety, time and space travel, and gender identity, with several gender-neutral leading characters across this year’s entries. Entries also feature a plethora of challenges for players to undertake, including problem-solving activities, escape tasks, and intergalactic quests. This impressive cohort of finalists demonstrate in their games the creative thinking and artistic prowess that underpins the game-making process, and provide an insight into the bright and exciting future of the British games industry.
Further details on all finalists and their games are available here.
Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and CEO of UKIE, said: “Congratulations to all 54 BAFTA Young Designers finalists: each of them deserves the recognition that YGD gives. With the support of our official partners, we are delighted to celebrate the creativity of young people who are passionate about using games to tell stories and create experiences that tackle gender identity, mental health, and climate change. An important part of BAFTA’s mission as an arts charity is focusing on emerging talent and YGD has become a major event in the games industry calendar which spotlights some incredibly talented young people, some of whom go on to have careers in the games industry.“
Actor, Comedian and BAFTA YGD host Inel Tomlinson, said: “I am thrilled to be hosting this year’s virtual BAFTA Young Game Designers ceremony, where the incredible work of the 54 talented young finalists will be celebrated. All the finalists have brought their A-game with exciting, original and compelling modern interactive experiences that challenge the perception of this medium. I am excited to see what these exceptional young designers do next with the support of BAFTA in their future game-making endeavours. This is the future of the British games industry, and I am honoured to be able to usher through their ideas for the wider world to one day experience.”
The 54 shortlisted individuals will compete for the YGD Game Concept Award, split into two categories (10-14 years) and (15-18 years), which will go to the most original and best thought-out game idea, as well as the YGD Game Making Award, also split into 10-14 years and 15-18 years, which celebrates the coding skills used to create a prototype game using freely available software. Winning entries will be judged on gameplay design and their suitability for the chosen games platform.
BAFTA YGD is committed to supporting accessible career pathways into game design: there is a digital mentorship programme available for all finalists aged 13+, in addition to exclusive masterclasses and networking opportunities that provide insights into games careers. Not only that, but the winning entries will be showcased as part of Power UP, an interactive experience that has been running at the Science Museum in London and will open at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester on 18 June, alongside some of the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades.
Official Partners to BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, Epic Games, PlayStation, Tencent Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Games and Wizards of the Coast. Further information can be found here.
Recent finalists include David McIntosh (YGD Game Making finalist – 2020) and Tyler Rotheram (YGD Game Concept finalist – 2019). David’s quirky platformer game, SnakeLaw Island, attracted the attention of renowned games developer Alexander Francois from Brainchild Studios, and is now available to play on Steam, whilst Tyler is now interning as a game designer with independent game studio Silver Rain Games. Previous winners include Dan Pearce, who subsequently received a BAFTA Games Award nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky, and Emily Mitchell, winner of the 2021 MCV / DEVELOP Award, an accolade that recognises innovation, talent and cultural impact.
Following the success of last year and in the interest of accessibility, this year’s BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be a pre-produced digital show, hosted by Inel Tomlinson, which will focus on the themes explored by this year’s talented cohort of finalists, and will announce this year’s winners and their games. In addition, all finalists are invited to an in-person event at BAFTA HQ in London on 9 July to showcase their games to the industry.
The BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be streamed on BAFTA’s Kids & Teens YouTube channel, with highlights and clips from the show available to watch on Twitter (@BAFTAGames) and LinkedIn. Tune in on Thursday 30 June at 17.00 BST for the digital ceremony.