Yorkshire Games Festival returning to National Science and Media Museum with Mike Bithell in the line-up

A major gaming industry event is set to return to Yorkshire with developers and experts taking centre stage.

The National Science and Media Museum has announced that the Yorkshire Games Festival will return to Bradford for its fourth outing between February 5 and 9 next year.

Games designer John Romero attending the Yorkshire Games Festival in 2016. Picture: James Hardisty.

Games designer John Romero attending the Yorkshire Games Festival in 2016. Picture: James Hardisty.

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The five-day event is pitched at developers, gamers, and families, offering a variety of events and activities.

Leading the line from an industry perspective, however, will be the Games Talks sessions from professionals and experts running across two dedicated days, February 6 and 7.

Included in the line-up will be a mix of both developers and journalists such as famed indie developer Mike Bithell of Bithell Games, best known for Thomas Was Alone, Volume, and most recently John Wick Hex.

Festival director Kathryn Penny said: “We’ve made a point of providing a welcome environment for industry luminaries to come and lay open their views, their experiences, and their knowledge to what is always an engaged and committed crowd.

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Picture: Tony Johnson.

“The next Yorkshire Games Festival is going to be no different, building on that strong relationship we’re developing with the industry and bringing those voices to the next generation - a generation of creatives who can’t typically head to events elsewhere around the country. It’s a unique meeting of minds, making the next festival the best yet.”

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Appearances will also be made by Chloe Crookes of Team17, a senior quality assurance analyst, Sumo Digital level designer Zi Peters, whose work at the company includes Hitman 2 and earlier in his career, Halo Wars 2, Patrick O’Luanaigh, CEO of award-winning virtual reality developer nDreams and journalist Alysia Judge, whose work has been published in the BBC, The Guardian, IGN, and The Independent.

Lead Animator Emma Hollingsworth. of UK-based publisher Coatsink and celebrated studio Rare, will talk about the making of its "swashbuckling" multi-player pirate action game Sea of Thieves.

More speakers will be announced in the future.

Previous headliners include John Romero, designer of games including Wolfenstein 3D, Dangerous Dave, Hexen, Doom, Doom II and Quake.

Adding to the mix of the event will be a demo by Team17 of its forthcoming co-op party game Moving Out - coming to PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2020 - serving as the title’s first UK hands-on demo outside of London.

Team17 will also be setting up a pop-up Usability Lab at the museum, where attendees of the festival can get real-world experience of what it is like to test games and give feedback.

Ms Penny said: “It’s exactly publishers like Team17 and activities like the Usability Lab that help us to illustrate just how wide and diverse the games industry is to our attendees.

"It’s very easy for those just thinking about starting out in games to have their eyes fixed on the big glamorous jobs at the Triple-A studios [mid- or major-sized publishers] and not realise the industry has a wealth of other jobs and professions to offer.”

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Also making the line-up are the developers behind CBBC’s online multi-player game Nightfall, who will be showcasing the game at a dedicated play station across the course of the Let’s Play Family Weekend - running between February 8 to 9 - allowing up to 30 children to take it on at once.

There will also be a gallery detailing the development of the game, alongside the chance to talk to those involved.

Visitors will be able to get further insight into possible pathways in the world of games via Meet the Developers networking sessions, as well as dedicated career surgeries designed to shine a light on potential vocations, plus the return of the Young Developers Conference for 11 to 18-year-olds, once again in partnership with BAFTA and the BAFTA Young Game Designers scheme.

For developers, Yorkshire Games Festival can also announce it has begun canvassing for games to exhibit at the Northern Games Showcase, with the remit being to show off to best the north of the UK has to offer to the festival’s throng of attendees.

Anyone who is interested should contact Jack.Weedon@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk