BAFTA celebrates ten years of recognising and championing young talent in games.
BAFTA YGD discovers, showcases and supports Britain’s young games talent by providing access to some of the most creative minds in the industry, through a year-round programme of competitions, mentorship, workshops and networking. The winners, selected by a jury of industry experts, will be revealed at the first-ever digital ceremony, hosted by Aoife Wilson. The ceremony will take place on Thursday 18 June 2020 at 5pm (UK time) on www.youtube.com/BAFTA.
Across the country over the last five months, children aged 10-18 have been working both individually and collectively at school, coding clubs, and more recently at home, to demonstrate their imagination with creating innovative game concepts and designs.
This year’s finalists’ entries encompass a diverse range of contemporary topics, including mental health, relationships, bereavement, education, climate change, female empowerment, disability, transgender rights, and inclusion. Entries also feature a plethora of challenges, problem-solving quests, supernatural adventures, and survival tasks. The shortlisted entries highlight the notion of games as an art form to inspire and connect young people across the UK. 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: “During these uncertain times, we have seen the games industry unite more than ever before. The BAFTA YGD competition has provided an excellent opportunity over the last ten years to encourage aspiring talent to discover more about the industry, whilst also unlocking their imaginations and creative potential. This year shows yet again how important games are as a medium for finding your way in the world and telling meaningful stories. Good luck to all of the 2020 finalists - I look forward to following the future careers of the winners!”
This year’s cohort of talented finalists will compete for the YGD Game Concept Award, split into two categories (10-14 years) and (15-18 years), celebrating the best original game idea, as well as the YGD Game Making Award, also split into (10-14 years) and (15-18 years), rewarding the coding skills used to create a prototype game.
The juries were chaired by Dr. Jo Twist OBE and Des Gayle, and other jurors included Abubakar Salim, Jodie Azhar and Alysia Judge. Entries will be judged on gameplay design, creativity and suitability for the chosen games platform.
In addition to the prestigious BAFTA YGD Award, winners will be given the chance to build on their game ideas through a robust mentoring scheme with leading figures in games, as well as an insight into a career in games, and the industry as a whole. Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, PlayStation, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Further information can be found here.
Previous winners across the last ten years include notable game developer Dan Pearce, winner of the first ever BAFTA YGD competition in 2010. Dan has since gone on to receive a BAFTA Games Award nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky. Emily Mitchell was winner of the BAFTA YGD Award in 2017 for her debut game Fractured Minds, an immersive, artistic short puzzle game about the struggles of living with mental health issues, and has subsequently been able to publish the final game, selling thousands of copies. She was also named the winner of this year’s MCV / DEVELOP Award, an accolade that recognises innovation, talent and cultural impact.
Dan Pearce, 2010 BAFTA YGD Winner, said: “"Winning YGD was life changing for me, it gave me so much confidence and validated my ideas. It felt like going from zero to 100! I found school learning difficult but was passionate about pursuing a career designing video games and YDG was the first step on that ladder. BAFTA opened so many doors for me and introduced me to some of my industry heroes. One of the most affirming things that early on in my career was having people I admire look at my work and talk to me with respect as a peer. I have since gone on to be a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and feel so grateful to be part of the BAFTA family”.
In light of government restrictions and advice in relation to COVID-19, this year’s BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be a pre-produced digital show, hosted by presenter Aoife Wilson. The ceremony will entail a highlights reel looking back at the last 10 years of BAFTA YGD, including an insight into previous recipients and what they’ve gone on to achieve, as well as the announcement of this year’s winners and their games.
Host Aoife Wilson, said: “I’m so honoured to host the BAFTA Young Game Designers Awards in its tenth year. The standard of entries for YGD is always so amazingly high; full of imagination, creativity, excitement and empathy. Every year the YGD competition reminds me why I love games so much, and reminds me of the potential that games have to make a positive impact in people’s lives. I remember being in love with games as a young person but having no clue how the industry worked or how I would begin with trying to forge a career in it. The BAFTA YGD competition helps demystify the practical side of getting into games, removing barriers between game-makers and their chosen industry, offering support at every level and making games a more accessible career path for as many young people as possible. It’s an exciting inside glimpse of what’s to come for gaming!"
The BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be streamed on BAFTA’s YouTube, with highlights and clips from the show available to watch on Twitter (@BAFTAGames). #YGD2020