Chella is better placed than most to work in the games industry because she was a games journalist for 20 years, initially drawn to gaming because it seemed so fast paced and dynamic. She had always written fiction but it wasn’t until she took part in a writing for games retreat with a literary foundation that Chella realised that a curtain had been lifted on the mystery role of narrative designer.
It was a game jam in Bristol that changed Chella’s life because that’s where she came up with the idea for her first game, Before I Forget, about an Indian woman with dementia alone in a house, alongside co-developer and co-founder of their microstudio, Claire Morwood. She now works at Ubisoft Massive, the studio behind the record-breaking Tom Clancy’s The Division franchise and who is leading the development of a new game based on James Cameron’s Avatar film series, which is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of scale in comparison to her own studio, 3-Fold Games but she finds it incredibly energising and a real thrill to see her narratives brought to life by level designers and other brilliant people in the company who layer creativity on top of creativity.
Chella thinks it’s great that games are recognised in the same way as TV and film by BAFTA as she believes it still struggles to get the accolades it deserves as an artform and is thrilled that as a BAFTA Breakthrough, she will be given support and access to the women who are blazing a trail in the games industry.