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Yorkshire Games Festival returns in February 2020

We are excited to announce the programme of events for the next Yorkshire Games Festival, which will return in February 2020 for its fourth year.

Serving as a bastion for the UK’s ever-ambitious and successful games industry in the north of England, the National Science and Media Museum is excited to announce that the much-celebrated Yorkshire Games Festival will return to Bradford for its fourth outing between 5–9 February 2020.

Once again, the five-day event will be pitched at developers, gamers, and families alike, offering a wide variety of events and activities to appeal across the spectrum. Leading the line from an industry perspective, however, will be the Game Talks sessions from professionals and experts running across two dedicated days, 6–7 February.

Tickets for the Game Talks programme are now available and can be picked up at the Yorkshire Games Festival webpage.

Heading up the line-up next year will be a mix of both developers and journalists, ensuring a heady blend of insight and inspiration for all attendees. It includes famed indie developer Mike Bithell of Bithell Games, best known for Thomas Was Alone, Volume, and most recently John Wick Hex; Chloe Crookes of Team17 who serves as Senior QA 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; renowned journalist Alysia Judge, whose work has been published by the BBC, The Guardian, IGN, and The Independent; Lead Animator Emma Hollingsworth of UK-based publisher Coatsink; and celebrated UK studio Rare, who will talk about the making of their swashbuckling multiplayer pirate action game Sea of Thieves. Further speakers will be announced in the future.

Festival Director Kathryn Penny says:

“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 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.”

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 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’s like to test games and give feedback.

“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,” continues Penny. “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 and not realise the industry has a wealth of other jobs and professions to offer.”

As such, also making the line-up this year are the developers behind CBBC’s online multiplayer 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 8–9 February—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. It’s one of many opportunities for those starting out in the industry to see the other avenues to operating a successful business: it doesn’t all have to be Triple-A killer-apps for consoles.

Indeed, attendees 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 11–18-year-olds, once again in partnership with BAFTA and the BAFTA Young Game Designers initiative.

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. If you’d like your game to be part of the mix, please contact jack.weedon@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk.

The full schedule across the course of the week will be:

  • Game Talks, 6–7 February: Talks featuring Mike Bithell of Bithell Games, Zi Peters of Sumo Digital, nDreams’ Patrick O’Luanaigh, journalist Alysia Judge, Chloe Crookes of Team17, Emma Hollingsworth of Coatsink, and celebrated Sea of Thieves studio Rare
  • Young Developers Conference, 5–9 February: In partnership with BAFTA, the Young Developers Conference is a free and accessible event for young game developers. The conference will help provide opportunities to learn valuable skills and gain knowledge through talks, workshops and masterclasses led by industry professionals
  • Let’s Play! family weekend, 8–9 February: A weekend focus on families, young game developers, gaming enthusiasts and everyone in between, promoting intergenerational gameplay and learning. It features the BBC's Nightfall, a Rocket League tournament in partnership with the British Esports Association, an exhibition of development projects from XR Stories looking at immersive and interactive technologies for storytelling, and a panel discussion about responsibility in videogames chaired by Alysia Judge

Keep your eye out for more announcements in the weeks ahead. If you’re a member of the media looking to book a press pass for the festival, please contact keith@renaissancepr.biz. More details on the festival can found on the Yorkshire Games Festival webpage.   

ENDS

For more details, please contact:

Keith Andrew, Renaissance PR: keith@renaissancepr.biz / 07834 237 322

Katie Canning, Press and PR Manager, National Science and Media Museum: katie.canning@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk / 01274 203 027

Notes for editors

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. It draws on more than three million objects from its national collection to explore the science and culture of image and sound technologies, and their impact on our lives.

The museum creates special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults, and is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

The Yorkshire Games Festival showcases some of the greatest talent and titles from across the videogames spectrum from the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, Yorkshire, in partnership with games business network Game Republic.

The festival is designed to provide gamers and budding game makers unrivalled access to the industry, offering insights into all aspects of the games industry from award-winning studios, and hosting live shows and events showcasing a wealth of games and activities.

The Yorkshire Games Festival also dedicates a day to school groups, aiming to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the many aspects of videogame design, development and coding.

Festival partners and supporters