BAFTA has announced the 40 finalists for the Young Games Designers Awards, a nationwide competition in the UK to find the future of the games industry. They will be awarded at a ceremony on July 8th at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly.
One award has already been announced with he YGD Hero award going to Unity Technologies. The award for industry professionals or teams that support young games designers was judged by the BAFTA Games Committee.
"We are very grateful to BAFTA for this recognition," said Unity global head of education, Jessica Lindl. "At Unity, we believe every young person should have the opportunity to learn how to become a creator, and not just a consumer, of technology. That's why we invest so deeply in building a powerful and flexible engine that makes young people's dreams a reality."
The list, which is available to read and play here, is split in to several categories. Winners will receive guidance and advice from top gaming industry professionals, get the chance to develop their game fully, and will receive gifts from Warner Bros. Games and studio tours of Criterion, Ubisoft and Jagex.
Last year's winner of the Game Making Award for ages 15-18, Daniel Smith, has had his entry Spectrum picked up by a publisher and is currently developing the game for release. Previous winners also include Dan Pearce, who also nominated for a BAFTA for Castles in the Sky in 2014
The categories are divided by ages and categories with the Game Concept and Game Making awards divided between 10-14 and 15-18 age groups. One third of the nominees this year are female. "It’s a great opportunity for young people up and down the country to take part in, and be inspired by the games industry and for sector itself to ignite an interest in STEM careers," said the Nominet Trust's programme director, Chris Ashworth. "Once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity and thrilled to see a sustained increase in the number of entries from girls."
In addition to the main awards, there are two awards for those who enable young people to learn about the games industry. The YGD Mentor award for educators will be nominated by the public and announced at the awards ceremony.
"Each year I’m truly inspired by the amazing games that we see and the talent, creativity and enthusiasm that all our entrants show. I never fail to be humbled by how much better their work is than what I could do at their age, said BAFTA Games Committee chair, Nick Button-Brown. "BAFTA Young Game Designers also recognises those who inspire the next generation, and we’re delighted to honour the companies and teams within our industry that encourage people to get involved in making games, as well as the individuals who work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of games makers to achieve their dreams