You might not have heard of the Yorkshire Games Festival, as this year marks the debut of the event after all. So what is it all about, I hear you cry. Here’s how the organizers describe it:
Yorkshire and the Humber is a huge player in the global games industry, with more than 9% of the UK games industry based in the region. The Yorkshire Games Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the great games created here and welcome guests from across the UK and overseas.
The five-day festival will focus on games culture, design and production, with workshops, master classes and networking opportunities, as well as showcases of major games studios and professionals. The festival will conclude with a game-packed Family Weekend featuring exciting hands-on demos and games so the whole family can play together.
The event will feature games from across all platforms, and a focus on local developers means there’s a lot of PC and Mobile games on show this year. There are also some multiplatform titles and a few that will also feature on consoles. First, let’s take a look at the demos I’ve got my eye on.
Team17 – Worms W.M.D (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Team 17 have a big presence at the Yorkshire Games Festival, fitting given that they’re one of Yorkshire’s oldest and best-loved developers. They’ve got more than 25 years of development experience, and their latest game, Worms W.M.D, has reinvigorated the franchise that made them famous. As well as showing off the madcap strategy game that released on August 23rd for all platforms, Creative Director Kevin Carthew will be telling the story of the game’s making in a session on Friday the 11th. You can read our review of Worms W.M.D, which we called “The best Worms game since 1999″ here.
Sumo Digital – Snake Pass (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Sheffield-based developer Sumo Digital have some big name games in their history, having worked on Hitman: Episode 5, Crackdown 3, Little Big Planet 3, and Dead Island 2. Seb Liese and Sean Millard from the studio will be talking about the development of a game, from inception to sale, on Friday. They’re also bringing along their brand-new game from the developer’s inaugural game-jam: Snake Pass. The physical action-puzzle game casts the players as a snake navigating evermore complex environments and “fiendishly mind-bending objectives.”
Retroburn – Positron (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
You may have never heard of Retroburn, as they’ve previously worked on minor games in the PC and Xbox market, and since 2012 have dedicated all resources to the development of Positron. Studio founder Martin Caine has been busy promoting his Tron-inspired arcade racer recentl in the run-up to its release on Steam on the 11th of November. The game will subsequently be brought to PS4, PS Vita and Xbox One in 2017. You can check out the game on show at Ga-ma-yo 9 here. The arcade racer boasts numerous modes, competitive play, and might just be a better Tron game than Tron Legacy.
Triple Vision Games – Mable & The Wood (PC/Mac/Linux)
Triple Vision Games are known for their unique indie games like What Are You Waiting For, a “detailed exploration of the social phenomenon of queuing,” and You Only Get One Face, the barber shop simulator. They’re bringing along their in-development title Mable & The Wood in which players take on the role of a shape-shifting girl who “takes the form of the enemies she has slain.” The gameplay is that of an action-platformer with some intriguing twists, and the artstyle is very much the retro pixel look. The game comes to PC, Mac, and Linux in February 2017. You can check out the game’s official site here.
Red Kite Games – Dream Machine (iOS/Android/Windows)
Red Kite Games are showing off their recent puzzle game for mobile devices, Dream Machine. The atmospheric 3D puzzle game, featuring lethal hazards and impressive boss fights, released in March 2016 on Google Play and the App Store, and we’ll be checking out what’s new with the title.
Dumpling Design – Dashy Crashy Turbo (iOS)
Dumpling Design will be showing off the update to their insanely popular iPhone game Dashy Crashy, titled Dashy Crashy Turbo, the winner of this year’s “big indie pitch” at Apps World 2016. The game is a riff on a tried and true and very old-school formula: players drive up a motorway, switching lanes to avoid oncoming traffic, boosting for greater risk and reward, and so on. The game has proved addictive in its simplicity and the update adds unlockable vehicles and minigames into the mix.
Kotori Studios – Fugl (iPad and Oculus Rift)
John Gjestland, the creator of Melodive for iOS, will be bringing his latest game, Fugl. Similar to his first title, Fugl is a “flying game” with a voxel art style and laid-back, hypnotic gameplay. The new game is notable for the fact that it is also in development for the Oculus Rift as a VR title.
Wet Genes – Candy Ghosts (Tabletop)
Wet Genes, Bradford-based developer of table-top games, is showing off their new board game: Candy Ghosts. The tabletop game was recently released through the gamecrafter and allows up to six players to take on the role of teenagers trapped in a haunted house. Their only way out? Eat the ghosts, of course.
The Yorkshire Games Festival features a whole showcase on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to dig up some unknown gems for you lucky people too. As well as the showcase, there are some talks from some huge names in the games industry. First up, on Wednesday we’ve got talks from Rob Bartholomew of Creative Assembly, of Total War and Alien Isolation fame; Revolution Software, the developers behind the legendary Broken Sword adventure games; and last but not least Rhianna Pratchett will be discussing her career in the industry, including chatting about her work on Rise of the Tomb Raider. The Guardian’s games team will also be hosting a panel featuring several of the guest speakers.
Thursday kicks off with a big one; Warren Spector, the mind behind Deus Ex and System Shock, will be speaking live from the USA; Brenda Romero discusses her life as a wife and mother working in the games industry; and Gary Napper of Supermassive Games (Until Dawn) talks VR, the rules, and how they can be broken. Friday opens with the keynote speech, delivered by none other than John Romero of iD Software, discussing programming and the early days of iD. This is followed by the Kevin Carthew and Sumo Digital talks mentioned above before the Edge magazine live-interview of Romero.
I’ll also be bringing you some exciting one on one interviews with Rob Bartholomew, John & Brenda Romero, Rhianna Pratchett, and others. So, if you have any questions you’d like to ask any of the speakers, post them in the comments below and you might just get your chance. I can’t promise to ask everything, as the interviews have a tight schedule, but I’ll do my best.
These are the games and speakers I’ll be visiting and speaking with, but if you’d like to find out more about what’s on at the festival, you can check the official site here. The Yorkshire Games Festival takes place from the 9th to the 13th of November at the National Media Museum in Bradford, UK. The talks are ticket-only, which you can book on the site, but the games showcase on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th is free to all.
Are you attending the first ever Yorkshire Games Festival? Do you have any questions you want our interviewer to ask? Let us know in the comments below.