[From the industry] London Games Festival 2021 dates announced for March

This is a press release directly from the industry, selected by our editorial team for its importance, that we are reposting in addition to our usual coverage.

The 2021 London Games Festival will showcase a range of unreleased titles from around the world, explore how games have aided players’ lives under COVID-19, and connect creators with global investors when it returns next year – running from Friday 19 March to Sunday 28 March.

Next year professionals and players alike have a wealth of activity to enjoy, the majority of it from home. This includes a brand new showcase of new games, some of which will be playable at home for free, broadcasts and streams from iconic London locations and a must-attend business track.

A select number of outdoor elements are also planned for LGF and will be fully unveiled in early 2021. These include a public exhibition celebrating Ensemble, the festival’s showcase of Black, Asian and marginalised ethnicity UK video games talent, plus events run by Now Play This, which returns to Somerset House at the end of March.

London Games Festival is backed by the Mayor of London and seeks to make London the games capital of the world.  It is delivered by Games London, an initiative from Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment).

Highlights for London Games Festival 2021 include: 

  • For the first time in its six years, LGF will curate an Official Selection of titles across key themes such as narrative excellence and diverse creators while offering enhanced ways for players to experience these games, from developer sessions through to streaming gameplay
  • Ensemble, Games London’s acclaimed exhibition of Black, Asian and marginalised ethnicity UK video games talent, returns with an outdoor exhibition in partnership with the City of London Corporation, showing in Aldgate Square and Guildhall Yard across March, April and May
  • Games Finance Market, running across 22 March to 25 March, which will connect 60 major investors with games businesses for private online pitch meetings curated by Games London
  • BAFTA Games Awards, the games industry’s most prestigious accolades, broadcast on the night of 25 March
  • Plus another head-turning collaboration with Now Play This. Now Play This runs 25 March to 28 March and is set to feature experimental gaming installations and activities at Somerset House
  • All content will be underpinned with daily broadcasts from London. This includes keynotes with major developers and creatives, plus explorations on key themes such as games’ impact on culture, how creators can address burning issues such as sustainability and diversity, collaborations with filmmakers, and the ways audiences found solace in virtual worlds while living under lockdown

LGF was one of the first events globally to switch to digital platforms in early 2020 and to great success: its programming this year generated millions of pounds of business for 402 participating global games companies. The call is now open for game submissions and applications for investor meetings in 2021.

Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London Games Festival will unlock more potential for the capital next year. The festival was one of the first events to switch to all-digital and we’re proud to see it evolve the model further with a dedicated games showcase and more. The games sector has proven its resilience in 2020 and we remain hugely committed to championing London and connecting the city’s game businesses to colleagues across the world, all while continuing to promote this exciting sector.”

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said: “London Games Festival will focus on topics that are close to our industry’s heart – namely diversity, sustainability, and the ways many of us have used games to escape to at challenging times. As games continues to prove its value commercially, it’s never been more important to build invaluable connections between creators and funders to support the creation of world-changing games businesses in the UK.”

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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