- Compelling themes relating to gender identity, mental health and climate change dominate this year’s entries
- Winners to be revealed at a digital ceremony on Thursday 30 June at 17:00 BST
- BAFTA also unveils Inel Tomlinson as new host for the 2022 YGD virtual ceremony
- Ceremony will be streamed digitally on BAFTA Kids & Teens YouTube
BAFTA has announced the 54 talented finalists, from across the UK, for the 12th nationwide BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition.
BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative of public events, workshops and a competition for 10-18 year-olds, culminating in the annual YGD award ceremony to celebrate finalists and winners. This year’s winners will be revealed at a special virtual BAFTA YGD ceremony, taking place on Thursday 30 June 2022 at 17.00 BST. The ceremony will be hosted by actor, TV presenter and comedian Inel Tomlinson, and will be streamed on BAFTA’s Kids & Teens YouTube channel.
Over the last five months, 10 to 18 year olds across the country have been harnessing the power of their imaginations to create original concepts and designs for a brand new video game. Entrants have been working both in teams and individually, at home and at school. A virtual jury of industry professionals, chaired by Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Jodie Azhar, Nick Button-Brown and Des Gayle, have selected 40 of the most creative, thought provoking and visually exciting games for this year’s final.
This year’s shortlisted entries encompass a diverse range of contemporary topics, including mental health and anxiety, climate change, computer safety, time and space travel, and gender identity, with several gender-neutral leading characters across this year’s entries. Entries also feature a plethora of challenges for players to undertake, including problem-solving activities, escape tasks, and intergalactic quests. This impressive cohort of finalists demonstrate in their games the creative thinking and artistic prowess that underpins the game-making process, and provide an insight into the bright and exciting future of the British games industry.
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: “Congratulations to all 54 BAFTA Young Designers finalists: each of them deserves the recognition that YGD gives. With the support of our official partners, we are delighted to celebrate the creativity of young people who are passionate about using games to tell stories and create experiences that tackle gender identity, mental health, and climate change. An important part of BAFTA’s mission as an arts charity is focusing on emerging talent and YGD has become a major event in the games industry calendar which spotlights some incredibly talented young people, some of whom go on to have careers in the games industry.“
Actor, Comedian and BAFTA YGD host Inel Tomlinson, said: “I am thrilled to be hosting this year's virtual BAFTA Young Game Designers ceremony, where the incredible work of the 54 talented young finalists will be celebrated. All the finalists have brought their A-game with exciting, original and compelling modern interactive experiences that challenge the perception of this medium. I am excited to see what these exceptional young designers do next with the support of BAFTA in their future game-making endeavours. This is the future of the British games industry, and I am honoured to be able to usher through their ideas for the wider world to one day experience.”
The 54 shortlisted individuals will compete for the YGD Game Concept Award, split into two categories (10-14 years) and (15-18 years), which will go to the most original and best thought-out game idea, as well as the YGD Game Making Award, also split into 10-14 years and 15-18 years, which celebrates the coding skills used to create a prototype game using freely available software. Winning entries will be judged on gameplay design and their suitability for the chosen games platform.
BAFTA YGD is committed to supporting accessible career pathways into game design: there is a digital mentorship programme available for all finalists aged 13+, in addition to exclusive masterclasses and networking opportunities that provide insights into games careers. Not only that, but the winning entries will be showcased as part of Power UP, an interactive experience that has been running at the Science Museum in London and will open at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester on 18 June, alongside some of the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades.
Official Partners to BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, Epic Games, PlayStation, Tencent Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Games and Wizards of the Coast. Further information can be found here.
Recent finalists include David McIntosh (YGD Game Making finalist - 2020) and Tyler Rotheram (YGD Game Concept finalist - 2019). David’s quirky platformer game, SnakeLaw Island, attracted the attention of renowned games developer Alexander Francois from Brainchild Studios, and is now available to play on Steam, whilst Tyler is now interning as a game designer with independent game studio Silver Rain Games. Previous winners include Dan Pearce, who subsequently received a BAFTA Games Award nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky, and Emily Mitchell, winner of the 2021 MCV / DEVELOP Award, an accolade that recognises innovation, talent and cultural impact.
Following the success of last year and in the interest of accessibility, this year’s BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be a pre-produced digital show, hosted by Inel Tomlinson, which will focus on the themes explored by this year’s talented cohort of finalists, and will announce this year’s winners and their games. In addition, all finalists are invited to an in-person event at BAFTA HQ in London on 9 July to showcase their games to the industry.
The BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be streamed on BAFTA’s Kids & Teens YouTube channel, with highlights and clips from the show available to watch on Twitter (@BAFTAGames) and LinkedIn. Tune in on Thursday 30 June at 17.00 BST for the digital ceremony.
-- ENDS --
Notes to editors:
BAFTA YGD images HERE
Games’ summaries, images and finalist headshots HERE
For further information, to receive the winners’ press release or interview requests, please contact WDW Entertainment:
Francesca Duke | [email protected] | +447805465252
Molly Whitehall | [email protected] | +447789848782
Sandhya Kimberley-Lachman | [email protected] | +447789917566
BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit www.bafta.org. BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).
About BAFTA YGD
Throughout the year, BAFTA organises events and initiatives around the world to promote the art and craft of games, while helping practitioners grow their network and industry profile; develop cross-sector skills; and establish sustainable careers. The programme includes developer talks, showcases and networking opportunities, both in person and virtually. BAFTA supports the next generation of talent with initiatives such as BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD), which gives young people and educators insights into the industry and access to the brightest creative minds in games. Our new tier of BAFTA membership for emerging talent, BAFTA Connect, is part of BAFTA's ongoing commitment to supporting future creative leaders in the games industry as an accessible, inclusive community that allows participants to achieve their full potential.
Previous winners include revered 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 Debut Game nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky. Emily Mitchell was a 2017 winner for her debut game Fractured Minds, and has subsequently released the game commercially, winning last year’s prestigious MCV / DEVELOP Award. Similarly, Spruce Campbell (2017 winner) has self-published his game on the App Store. Previous winners have also showcased their creations at EGX Rezzed, London’s largest games event, including 2016 winner Daniel Smith whose game was picked up by Ripstone Games.
About The Science Museum Group and Power UP
The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. Power UP is a hands-on, fully interactive gaming experience featuring the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades. From Pong to Pacman and Minecraft to Mario, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a retro games fan, a serious gamer or just want to beat your family at Mario Kart. Power UP’s original run at the Science Museum (2 – 19 April) completely sold out, so due to popular demand it was extended until 6 June. More information can be found www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk. The Science Museum Group and BAFTA look forward to developing their relationship over the coming years.
About Inel Tomlinson
The multi-award nominated Inel Tomlinson exudes magnetic charm, charisma and talent that instantly demands your attention whether on TV, stage or in video game form. Coupled with an electric smile and the world's loudest laugh, it's hard not to fall for his exuberant personality, which radiates throughout his extensive body of work.
As a comedian, his attention-grabbing style always demands the audience's attention from the get-go. He skillfully guides us through his unique takes on the world, mixing beautifully delivered nostalgic musings with his eye for the ridiculous.
Inel is also a hugely gifted actor and improviser, with an extensive list of TV, animation and video game credits, including Horrible Histories on BBC, Love Island's Lloyd the Lovebird, and a plethora of video games from EA's Grid Legends to The Solitaire Conspiracy. As a presenter and qualified teacher, Inel has also produced various drama and comedy workshops for young adults over the years. Inspiring many to find their voice within the arts. As well as hosting numerous panels for BAFTA's Children's activities and presenting shows for CBBC, Junior Vets on Call and All Over The Place, to name a few.