Many areas with game development hubs now have their own local events, but nowhere else in the UK has a development conference on the scale of Develop:Brighton, when a sizeable chunk of the rest of the industry, from the UK and beyond, joins the local development community for a few days by the sea.
And this year that sum total of development talent will be able to listen to the likes of Sean Murray from Hello Games, Frontier’s David Braben, the five founders of Media Molecule, Chris & Jason Kingsley from Rebellion, and many, many more.
The relationship between the local development scene and the conference is strong and warm, as Hangar 13’s general manager Nick Baynes points out: “Welcoming the Develop conference here every year is great for the city, and at Hangar 13 we love spending time with developers from around Europe as they discover how vibrant, exciting, and occasionally sunny, Brighton is.”
And for those on the conference’s doorstep, one very immediate plus is that there’s no travelling and accommodation worries. “We love Develop, it means we can go hang out with our friends in the games industry, learn from our peers and still sleep in our own beds!” enthuses Ed Daly, studio director at The Chinese Room.
For those looking to recruit, it’s also a huge advantage, as potential candidates literally come to you, adds Adrian Brown, head of UK recruiting at Unity’s Brighton office: “We love having the event in our backyard because we can invite candidates to our office to showcase our workspace and a glimpse into what working at Unity is like.”
While many Brighton studios will choose to present sessions at the conference, Hi-Rez is going one step further this year and running its own partnered esports track at its offices, Lallier tells us: “We’re very pleased to be working ever more closely with the conference and to be increasing our presence to new levels in 2019. For the first time Esports Insider will be running a dedicated esports track, which we’ll be hosting at our Brighton offices. Having partnered with the conference itself, anyone with a Develop pass will be able to attend. The track will include a series of talks and a roundtable with influential voices from the UK and international esports scene.”
“We love Develop, it means we can go hang out with our friends in the games industry, learn from our peers and still sleep in our own beds!”
Caspar Field, until recently of Wish Studios, is hugely supportive of the event too, though he’d like to see a few changes: “Of course it helps that the Develop conference is in Brighton, although like a lot of people I’ve spoken with, I’d like to see it change to a different venue, to freshen it up a bit. But having a large chunk of the industry descend on the city to talk shop and have fun is great, and long may it last!”
And the conference has already lasted a long time. Having clocked up 13 years in the city to date, it’s seen the local community grow and change, conference director Ali Fearnley notes: “Develop:Brighton has been running since 2006, the dev community down here has definitely grown but it has also evolved – in the early days of the conference there were a few larger studios like Black Rock and Relentless employing big teams whereas now you’ll find many more smaller studios and indie developers. But it’s really just a reflection of what’s happened in the industry as a whole.”
Finally, Fearnley explains why Tandem Events originally chose the city for the event, covering off many of the city’s pluses: “Brighton has always had a diverse cultural, music and arts scene, which has made it a hub for creative industries including game development. So this and the relaxed, non-corporate, setting by the sea made it the perfect fit for Develop. Plus, of course, it’s within easy reach of London with good transport links to the rest of the UK and Europe. Brighton also offers a wide range of accommodation to suit every pocket, which is important for our event because we have everyone from start-ups and micro indies to studio heads from global publishers attending.”
All of which shows why the event has been so persistently popular over its lifetime. And the MCV team is looking forward to seeing you all there next week! If you haven’t yet got your conference pass the register here and use code ‘MTOYSW’ to get a 10 per cent discount.