London Games Festival announces its 2021 programme for an entirely-online event

The programme for the 6th London Games Festival has been announced, with hundreds of game creators from around the world signed up for the entirely-online event.

The London Games Festival will run from the 19th-28th of March, and promises to be the most accessible version of the event ever, with online content available for everyone.

For the first time, the festival will feature an Official Selection of 40 games from around the world, representing quality, innovation and diversity. The selection will highlight creative talent across four categories: Made In London, Narrative Excellence, International Innovators and Pick Up And Play.

The 40 games will be presented via a dedicated showcase website, which will be available from March 19th, and will include associated store promotions at digital retailers. A number of the games included in the selection are due to be released during the festival period, while others have free demos available.

The Official Selection games will also be featured at the LGF World Stage, the festival’s new destination for its talks, panels and broadcasts. Over 70 shows will be made available onYouTube and a dedicated LGF EPG at games.london over the course of the festival.

Highlights from the festival include:

  • 40 original previews of the Official Selection games with developer commentary, exclusive first looks and premieres
  • Director’s Commentary: John Carpenter – a special event with the revered movie director which will be looking at his life through the lens of his love for video games
  • A free screening of the Tony Hawk documentary Pretending I’m A Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story – which looks at the origin of the bestselling games series and its legacy and ways it intersects with skating and music culture – followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers
  • Original documentaries by Games London looking at Games Are Good For You and The Game Tech Revolutionising Movies
  • Two exclusive music performances are scheduled for the opening and closing days of the festival, further showcasing the variety and depth of audio content in games. New York-based games designer Jane Friedhoff will be playing the EP mixes she has created using the game FUSER on Friday 19 March – while performances from Brian D’Oliveira (composer for Resident Evil 7, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and others), recorded at his studio La Hacienda Creative in Montreal, will close the festival on Sunday 28 March.
  • Refreshed episodes of the Ensemble Salons, Games London’s recent series of one-to-one interviews with the key talent in its exhibition focusing on Black, asian and marginalised ethnicities working in games
  • Launches of new programmes for consumers and industry alike from Games London’s Virtual Photography Challenge to a new cross-industry Green Games Guide intended to help developers hit 2030 sustainability targets
  • A London-based edition of the popular Games Jobs Live event which features career advice and experts talking about working in the games sector
  • Plus a series of industry panels and discussions on key issues and hot button topics in games, ranging from the ways fans have turned their love of games like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox into a career, through to metaverse (covered in an exclusive fireside chat with CCP Games CEO Hilmar Petursson) and how games aid mental health

The festival will also have a focus on mental health, through a partnership with games industry charity Safe In Our World and its Safer Together Campaign. The campaign offers a public Discord, which will launch during the festival and will provide a platform for gamers and the industry to connect, discuss games and be a safe space for all to talk.

The Now Play This programme will feature an additional 25 games and experience. Taking place from March 25th to 28th, the programme centres around the climate crisis, and how interactive experiences can inform and educate. Now Play This includes online talks and workshops, and a number of in-game activities – such as a ‘flight’ to the festival using Hosni Auji’s Airplane Mode.

Behind the festival’s public-facing events is a major business-to-business offer that will see hundreds of professionals log on for video meetings, pitches to investors and networking. For instance, the Games Finance Market will feature over 60 major global funds meeting pre-selected studios from London, UK and around the world looking to get new games financed. This year’s event will use new online platforms and partners, such as digital escape room company The Adventure Is Real, where delegates can network and meet new people while solving puzzles.

Overall, this year’s event will include over 400 games businesses, the biggest showing the festival has seen since the festival started as a physical event in 2016.

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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