Our annual list of games development's rising stars
Proving that you don’t have to remember the release of Space Invaders to shine as an industry talent, Will Freeman shines Develop’s talent spotlight on 30 youthful professionals shaping the future of games…
2010’s Develop 30 Under 30 is sponsored by OPM Recruitment, the leading specialist recruitment consultancy in the computer, console, handheld, mobile, online games and interactive entertainment sectors. OPM recruits for a diverse roster of clients in the UK and worldwide with jobs available in every area of business associated with entertainment products and services. www.opmjobs.com
Robinson has worked at Rare for over two years. In that time he has been a whirlwind of creativity, inspiration and organisation. Nominated in part for his role ensuring Kinect Sports hit the shelves on time and in such good quality, the 27-year-old is, according to his colleague, ‘the future of how good creative production can be in the development of games’.
Senior Programmer, SCEE
At 29 years old, Burgess has been a key element in putting together a managed localisation solution available for use throughout the Sony World Wide Studios, available to both internal and external developers; a system that has to date been used on over 70 projects. It’s not been an easy job, but his humour and dedication has seen him through all the highs and lows.
Senior level designer, Bizarre Creations
Nominated because he pushes his senior teammates to ‘greater heights’, Collier has brought knowledge beyond his years to Bizarre Creations. A true team player, the 28-year-old has alsoimpressed with his understanding of what happens behind the doors of the biggest publishers on the planet and how to help get them the information they need.
Game Designer, Playdom
Siegel has rapidly established a reputation across the globe as a considerable intellect in the realm of game design. Currently focused on social games, John Siegel got his first job in the by attending a development conference where walked directly up to a company CEO and said: ‘My name is Scott Jon Siegel and I’m the game designer you’ve been looking for’. They hired him.
Managing Director, Spilt Milk Studios
Yes, Andrew was in the ‘30 Under 30’ last year, but back then he was a designer at Proper Games. Now he’s MD at Spilt Milk Studios, which has in eight months attracted several successful contracts. Andrew is single-handedly managing to keep his new business afloat in the current economic climate while designing and delivering original games. Impressive stuff.
Managing Director, Mediatonic
Bailey co-founded the successful Mediatonic business aged 21 years old while studying at university, and helped the company move from its student digs to upmarket offices in Westminster. Now 26, Dave employs almost 30 people, and Mediatonic’s wide ranging portfolio includes work for major publishers such as EA, Disney and Sega.
Designer, Blitz Game Studios
25-year-old designer Bithell, who worked on the development of Dead to Rights, is an important member of Blitz’s business development team – his job is to create new game ideas and pitch proposals for publishers. He also recently archived stunning success with a game he created in less than 24 hours. Flash title Thomas Was Alone gained over 100,000 plays and was featured on the front page of online giant Kongregate.
2D Artist, Crytek
At a youthful 23 years old, Wong is already carving a name for himself on Crytek’s art team. Having pushed himself constantly after graduating from the University of Abertay, Wong has won a number of development competitions in the past 12 months. He also contributed towards Colour Coded, which was nominated for two BAFTAs. A true rising star, he currently spends his time toiling away on Crysis 2.
Creative Director, Mobile Pie
Proving that graduating from a game design course can set you in good stead for a career in the industry, Luton joined Mobile Pie after a spell at Sega Europe. There he picked up production credits for a number of triple-A games titles including Space Siege and The Incredible Hulk. Luton has been integral to his employer’s success in the mobile sector, and has a reputation for making sure deadlines are met.
A PlayStation Home and server programmer at nDreams, 28-year-old Cannavan has proved himself to be a huge talent way beyond his years professionally. He is regarded by his workmates as both a highly imaginative and good-natured employee, and has developed a superb track record within nDreams of repeatedly hitting deadlines. According to his colleagues ‘he’s got a big future ahead of him’.
UX and Designer, Valve Software
Last year Hope starred in our 30 Under 30 as Apple User Experience Evangelist. Now he’s back, making us break our ‘only new people every year’ rule as he has climbed ever upwards in just 12 months. Now he’s a user experience specialist and designer at Valve Software, and according to his colleagues is ‘an up-and-coming Steve Jobs, a creative dreamer and mastermind visionary with limitless potential’.
Game Designer, Playground Games
Turner joined Playground Games in March this year after leaving Codemasters. Blessed with a knack for visual flow, he quickly impressed his colleagues, and has subsequently carved a valuable niche within Codemasters Racing Studio. According to Turner’s managers, much of the slickness and pacing of titles such as DiRT 2 and the BAFTA-winning GRID is down to the 27-year-old’s unique skill set.
Motion Editor, Lightning Fish Games
A graduate in Computer Arts at the University of Abertay Dundee, McEwan serves as Lightning Fish Games’ expert in fitness and dance moves. She is also one of the team’s most talented motion editors at Lightning Fish. Having joined the studio in February of 2010, McEwan has quickly risen as a significant asset, and has made a huge impact. ‘Angela will get stuck into anything we throw at her,’ says a colleague.
Associate Producer, XDev Studio Europe
Karp has served at Sony’s XDev studio for five years, after a hard working start in the SCEE’s outfit’s QA department. Having moved into a production role he has worked on no less than 16 games in two years, including Hustle Kings and the much-anticipated shooter from Housemarque, Dead Nation. Karp has also invested a great deal of effort producing numerous titles for launch just in India.
CEO, Distinction Games
22-year-old Adsoy set up Distinction Games while completing his Computer Games Technology BSc at the University of Portsmouth. A multitalented CEO, he serves as manager, producer, programmer and technical artist, and has worked on projects for companies like Blitz and Red Redemption. Now in his final year, Orcun has also spent time in Japan building contacts with Bandai Namco and Digital Hollywood University.
Birkin joined Mudlark three years ago after a spell at social network outfit Naked. Never before working in the games industry he soon led on a number of key games projects, and is now the senior producer on Chromaroma, the online social game that uses your Oyster Card Journeys as the basic currency. Now responsible for wrangling three different teams of developers into action Birkin also steers the executive production team.
Managing Director, Beatnik
Robin Lacey founded the independent development studio Beatnik Games three years ago. The company launched its critically-acclaimed first title, Plain Sight, in April 2010 on Steam and other digital distribution platforms. In 2009 Beatnik was commissioned by Channel 4 education to develop Ada, a science based adventure game, this is to be launched in Q1 2011. Beatnik Games has grown to 10 full-time employees.
Tutty specialises in computer games and works in the hugely respected computer games department at Sheridans. Since then Tutty has represented a large number of games developers on everything from publishing agreements to disputes and always provides first class commercial advice which has been invaluable to us. At 29, Tutty is best known for advising the team at Mobigames during the whole Langdell fiasco.
Technical Artist, Muskedunder Interactive
Despite Liljecrantz’s young age he has already worked on over 50 flash and Unity games at Muskedunder. He has worked both directly for high expectation clients such as Disney, as well as on internal projects, including the studio’s social game Icy Tower, which attracts over 1.5 million active users per month. ‘Scrum-master’ Liljecrantz also supports and mentors several teams at the studio.
Co-founder and Consultant, ICO Partners
Having founded ICO Partners with former NCsoft co-worker Thomas Bidaux, 29-year-old Lagrange has brought a wealth of knowledge to the game industry. As NCsoft business development manager she preached the F2P model long before most studios had heard about it, and since she has developed a reputation with ICO’s clients as a talented professional with a sharp analytical mind.
Business Development Executive, Testronic Labs
At just 19 Goodall joined Testronic Labs straight from school and immediately made an impact, demonstrating confidence and poise beyond his years. Now a key member of the games testing sales team, he has forged excellent relationships with many of the biggest names in the industry, sealing sizeable deals for testing services with clients across Europe and representing the company ably.
Senior Concept Artist, Leading Light Design
Allsop has been on the team at game-focused specialist production design consultancy Leading Light Design more or less from the outset. There he has exerted his prodigious art skills and vision as a senior external concept artist on world beating triple-A projects including Fable III and Killzone 2. ‘His art has had a telling impact in creating some of the most amazing video games,’ says a colleague.
Associate Game Designer, PopCap Games Europe
Beginning his career in QA, game designer Moreda spent four years trying to break PopCap’s games before assuming a design role so he could make new ones for the giant of the casual sector. He went above and beyond his QA role by adding significant creative value to the games he was testing, earning him the chance to design Bejeweled Live.
Chief Technical Officer, Dubit Platform
Warneford has spent an impressive decade in development despite being just 27 years old. At just 18, he helped found the Dubit company with the aim of making media more interactive for young people. His work on the Dubit Platform has led to the company producing virtual worlds for the BBC, Cartoon Network and more.
Production Associate and PR Manager, Curve Studios
Yes. That Ed. Former Develop deputy editor Fear made the unconventional jump from games journalist to studio production associate and PR manager at London studio Curve, where he has demonstrated an impressive ability to straddle the two disciplines his job title includes. He’s currently hard at work on Explodemon.
QA Manager, Ubisoft Reflections
Wanting in at the ground floor Williams started off as a games tester at Ubisoft, and apparently conceived a five-year plan for success. After working his way up the ladder and gaining experience at a number of different studios he came back to Ubisoft where he is renowned for being friendly, hard working and motivated.
Starting out as a user interface designer, Furneaux quickly bolted user experience designer to his title, and is now the chief designer on the Turbulenz gaming platform. Obsessed by socially connected games, and responsible for authouring every feature and pixel at the studio, he is known to his co-workers as being akin to ‘the games industry’s own Jony Ive’.
Chuck joined the design team at Lionhead some three years ago after working on the Harry Potter series at EA, and has developed a reputation for being highly skilled at his craft. He’s passionate, hard working and always willing to give up his own time to further whatever the Lionhead team happen to be working on, his colleagues tell us.
Art Director, Stonetrip
Jerome Barbato, 26, is art director at Stonetrip, the developer of the 3D engine ShiVa3D. Joining the French outfit in 2005, Jerome was involved in the very early stages of ShiVa3D, creating 3D models to be integrated in the engine. A core team member at Stonestrip, he handles every element of ShiVa3D’s visual presentation from application design to demo creation.
Production Manager, Side
Amoros is a production manager at Side, where she has worked tirelessly with the likes of Lionhead, Sony and Bioware to ensure the voice production on their titles is of the highest quality. Amoros’ ability to create bespoke script handling programs to assist the delicate and creative process of achieving great character performances in games has impressed many of Side’s clients.
No less worthy of mention, but victims of the overwhelming number of nominations, and our ruthless one-person-per-company rule, were the following:
Kieran Belkus, Environment Artist, Lightning Fish Games; Adrian Smith, Programmer, Lightning Fish Games; Jim Constable, Senior QA, Lightning Fish Games; Michael Gluck, President and CEO, VGMarket; Adam Green, Managing Director, Assyria; Sam Van Tilburgh, Senior Communities and Video Manager, Mircosoft; Vincenzo Alagna, iOS Specialist; Jas Purewal, Games Team Lawyer, Olswang; Joachim Ante, CTO, Unity; Joe Dixon, Programmer, Tag Games; Scott Downie, Programmer, Tag Games; Tom Jubert, Narrative Designer; Brian Knox, Senior Producer, En Masse Entertainment; Guillaume Descamps, Vice-President and CCO, Mindscape