Dr Jo Twist (Chair)
Dr Jo Twist OBE is the CEO of Ukie, the trade body for UK games and interactive entertainment, making the UK the best place in the world to make, sell and play games. She is also Deputy Chair of the British Screen Forum, London Tech Ambassador, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and BAFTA Trustee, an Ambassador on the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, Creative Industries Council member, and Honorary Visiting Professor at Ravensbourne University.
She is a VP for games and accessibility charity SpecialEffect, Patron of Safe in Our World a mental health and games charity, as well as a Queen’s Appointed Trustee for Royal Historic Palaces.
In 2016 she was awarded an OBE for services to the creative industries and won the MCV Women in Games award for Outstanding Contribution. In 2019 she was named MCV Industry Hero and Devcom Hero for Leadership in the European games industry. She was also named as one of the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 Most Influential People in 2019 and was entered into the Computer Weekly Hall of Fame in 2021.
Des Gayle (Deputy Chair)
Des is the founder and producer of Altered Gene, a remote games studio currently working on their next title, The Analyst.
Before starting his own development studio, Des built up a wealth of experience on both the publishing and development sides of making video games having got started over 20 years ago. He has worked with a number of the games industry's leading products: at Microsoft he worked on the launch of the original Xbox, he helped EA for five years supporting their development teams, he managed R&D at Crytek’s European offices and was also the producer for Square Enix Collective. His breakout project was working on the original Life Is Strange series that won a BAFTA and other awards.
Des is passionate about inclusion and loves building and running effective, diverse teams. He is particularly interested in forging links between the games industry and education to inspire the next wave of game creators.
Jodie is the CEO and Game Director at Teazelcat Games, a studio focused on story-driven games.
Prior to this she spent a decade working as a technical artist at various game development studios across the UK, most recently as the Technical Art Director for the Total War franchise at Creative Assembly.
She’s an award winning developer; was one of BAFTA's Breakthrough Brits of 2016; and is a
founding member of POC in Play, an independent organisation aiming to increase the visibility and representation of People of Colour in the video games industry.
Nick Button Brown
Nick has worked in senior positions across the tech and games industry for more than 20 years. As well as serving as Chair at Outright Games, he is a Board member at Coherence, a Cloud-platform company and Loveshark, an Augmented Reality based start-up; he works as an Advisor at Ori, an edge-computing company, Gameye, a multiplayer technology company, and at Payload Studios, developers of Terratech. Nick also makes investments within the games and technology space and advises VCs on their games and technology investments. He helped grow Improbable, a tech start-up that most recently raised more than $600m, and helped take Sensible Object, through 3 equity rounds leading to a sale to Niantic, makers of Pokemon Go.
He is a founder trustee at OKRE, a charity focussed on sharing knowledge across Research and Entertainment, was formerly Chair of the Games Committee at BAFTA, serves on the Advisory Board at Games London, helping to run the London Games Festival. Before that, he worked for 5 years at Crytek in Germany, managing teams across the world, including development of games such as 'Crysis 3', 'Ryse', and 'Warface'. He also spent 9 years at Electronic Arts, working on games such as 'Battlefield' and 'Timesplitters 3'.
Leanne started making games over 16 years ago working on titles such as Scrabble, Risk and Magic the Gathering. After heading up a 3rd party publishing division in Japan for a couple of years she returned to the UK and joined Electronic Arts as Senior Producer. It was here that Leanne married her love for cars and games by heading up multiple Need for Speed titles including leading the transition to a community run live service. She is currently at Riot Games in Los Angeles, where she heads up Riot Forge - The 3rd party publishing division of Riot Games, making a variety of League of Legends games with multiple developers.
Leanne is a passionate ambassador for Women In Game and focuses on encouraging women to join the industry and strives to create more diversity in teams through mentorship and events where she can share her knowledge, experiences and advice.
Liz Mercuri (she/her) is a Senior Account Manager for PlayStation. She has the fortunate role of working closely with a number of PlayStation Partners, supporting them in bringing their titles to the platform. Previously a Senior Developer Relations Manager at Unity Technologies, Liz has had the unique opportunity to engage deeply with the global Game Development community. An advocate for equality, Liz realises the importance of empowering developers, instilling confidence and promoting diversity in the game development community. She has worked with key initiatives to empower the next generation of game development talent through mentoring, facilitating student game jams, delivering talks and technical demonstrations. Liz fiercely believes in the elevation of underrepresented teams, bringing new perspectives and telling stories often untold. This not only enriches the medium but encourages a more diverse consumer reach and presses reset on the publics' perception of the industry.
Catherine is a Designer at Media Molecule working on the PS4 game, Dreams.
She has been working as a Designer in the games industry for over 10 years now, previously having worked at The Chinese Room, and on BAFTA Award-winning Alien: Isolation while at Creative Assembly. Prior to Creative Assembly, Catherine worked at Electronic Arts Bright Light where she started her career in games working on interactive books for children on the Nintendo DS.
Catherine enjoys encouraging children, students, and adults into getting into the games industry by helping as a STEM Ambassador, speaking at universities and events and helping wherever possible with BAFTA, especially the Young Game Designer competition as it’s one of her favourite areas to help support because children are the future of our industry.
James is a games industry veteran of over 20 years and with that brings significant experience in running and guiding game development and publishing studios and producing games. James was in near the start of a company that eventually grew to be Kuju Entertainment, a company with around 350 staff. He produced a high number of high quality games in his career including Firewarrior, Geometry Wars Galaxies, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and Burn Zombie Burn. He was in increasingly senior management positions to be eventually in charge of the development and growth of full games studios. He founded groundbreaking studio, doublesix games, a new division of Kuju, which was solely focused on digitally distributed games on multiple platforms using innovative marketing and sales techniques (when digital distribution was new), before leading a management buy-out of part of doublesix to form Born Ready Games which successfully launched Strike Suit Zero. Born Ready Games became Edge Case Games, where James remained the CEO, leading the company to produce the critically acclaimed Fractured Space (PC Free to play). After building a growing team well known in the industry for excellence, Edge Case Games was sold to Wargaming. James has now started up a new company, Absolutely Games, using all he has leaned over the last 20+ years to create a great new, highly focused strategy games studio in the UK, utilising franchise design, smart decision making, community collaboration, long-tail game development and strong values based leadership.
Rosemary Buahin is a multi-award-winning strategic marketing specialist with 20 years’ experience in the videogames industry. She has held a number of senior roles at companies such as Sony PlayStation, Warner Bros and Microsoft where she manages the full Xbox games portfolio. She has worked on a number of ground-breaking software and hardware campaigns including the Xbox Series X|S launch and the forthcoming Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite. Rosemary is also an active diversity & inclusion and youth development ambassador, participating in numerous industry activities and consumer initiatives which assist marginalised groups.
Max has been involved in the videogames industry since 1995, working in the US, UK, Japan and Australia, first as a games writer including roles as EIC of Official Xbox Magazine in the UK and Official PlayStation Magazine & T3 in Australia then embedded with development teams at publishers such as EA, Codemasters and Ubisoft in PR, Brand management and as a leader & senior manager on the commercial side of videogames. He also ran his own videogames consultancy company working with AAA and AA publishers while also working in counter terrorism and counter people smuggling functions for the Australian government. Most recently, Max has headed up the business side of premium indie publishers, currently as Head of PC & Console Publishing, responsible for delivering great game launches.
Jim Jagger is Director of Animation at Rockstar Games. A graduate of Bournemouth University, Jim has over 20 years’ experience in video game animation. Jim has spent the majority of his career with Rockstar Games, working on a wide array of projects including the Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto series, LA Noire and many more.
Prior to Rockstar, Jim worked in the US, Canada and China on series such as Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Splinter Cell.
Jim has a lifelong passion for video games, and is keen to help BAFTA continue to find and support future talent from all backgrounds.
Sean began his career in 1992 at 221B, a tiny 8 and 16Bit developer in Sheffield, as a work-placement during his Fine Art Degree. Following that, he spent the rest of the 90s in London at VIE and Pure Entertainment, before returning to Sheffield in 1999, where he has worked since; first at Gremlin/Infogrames and, since its inception in 2003, at Sumo Digital.
As Creative Director at Sumo, Sean has worn a variety of different hats, from working directly on Dev teams and managing the Sheffield Studio Design team through a period of enormous growth, to forging trusted creative partnerships with publishing partners, representing Sumo as the ‘flamboyant’ face of BizDev and running the Sumo-wide Concept Team, as he does now, with the responsibility of creating new IP for the group as well as responding to requests for proposals from publishers.
On behalf of Sumo (and alongside the BBC and Charles Cecil) Sean collected the BAFTA in 2012 for ‘Digital Creativity’ for “The Doctor Who Adventure Games”. Sumo also won the BAFTA for ‘Best British Game’, for “Sackboy’s Big Adventure”, in 2021.
Now able to relocate back to his home county of Norfolk, Sean exists as off-the-grid as possible, in the middle of nowhere, with just his dog, Sandra, a vast record collection and his game consoles for company.
He is living his best life.
Elle Osili-Wood is a video games presenter and journalist, and has been named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of the most influential women in gaming. Seen on screen for a huge range of brands, including PlayStation, Ubisoft, BAFTA, and the BBC, Elle is one of the most recognisable faces in gaming, with over a decade of experience in the industry. Having started her career as a political reporter for the BBC, Elle quickly gravitated towards her lifelong passion for games - whether interviewing game designers for BAFTA, investigating the science of games for BBC Sounds, or presenting from E3 for PlayStation, Elle is a passionate advocate for the industry, and the talent it represents.
Game Scout, Team 17
Simon has over 20 years experience in the games industry as a designer and producer, at Codemasters, Blitz, & Sony, and then ran his own independent production company, thumbfood. He is now a Game Scout at Team 17 where he sources and signs new games for the Indie Publishing Label. As co-founder and Chair of Gameopolis - the games industry network for Greater Manchester - he organises regular events in conjunction with BAFTA, UKIE and others. A passionate equality campaigner, Simon spent 5 years as a volunteer board member of the Gay Football Supporters Network where he was part of the team that launched the national "Rainbow Laces" LGBT+ football campaign.
Jonathon is a Game/Level Designer that has been working in the games industry for over 8 years, in that time he has worked in both indie and AAA before moving into the freelance space. He has spent the majority of his career working as a designer but also has some experience in biz dev, production, and QA.
Before going freelance he worked for companies like Coatsink, Pocket Money Games, and Hangar 13 where he had the opportunity to design for a variety of game genres and different platforms which helped to establish him to establish and refine his design skills.
Jonathon is a huge advocate for the games industry and does what he can to support upcoming talent as both a VGA and Into Games Mentor. He is often found supporting career fairs, portfolio review sessions, or workshops at industry events or online alternatives. He also co-hosts a level design podcast and appears on other shows to further share his knowledge and passion for design and the games industry.
He was voted as one of MCV’s 30 under 30 in 2019 and shortlisted as a game dev hero.