During London Games Festival 2017, a wide array of industry leaders and pioneers will be giving talks and sharing their views on a broad spectrum of topics. Over the course of our programme, game developers, mixed reality experts, actors, top film execs and more will be taking part in our Summits and other exciting events.
Stay tuned as we will be announcing more speakers in the build up to the Festival, which takes place between 30 March and 9 April.
Stay tuned as we will be announcing more speakers in the build up to the Festival, which takes place between 30 March and 9 April.
John HankeCEO and Founder, Niantic Labs
As CEO, John leads Niantic, Inc., an innovative company dedicated to building “Real World” mobile gaming experiences that foster exploration, exercise and social interaction. Niantic has developed and released two games, Ingress and global phenomenon Pokemon GO. The company was originally founded as a start up within Google to explore the creation of new kinds of entertainment at the intersection of location, social, and emerging mobile devices. Niantic was spun out as an independent company in 2015 with backing from investors such as Google, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. Earlier in his career, John was a founder of Archetype Interactive, creators of one of the very first online massively multiplayer games, Meridian59, and then went on to co-found Keyhole, a company acquired by Google for the technology that lead to the creation of Google Earth. John was Vice President of Google's Geo division (overseeing projects including Maps and Street View) for seven years before founding Niantic. John received a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Debbie BestwickCo-founder and CEO, Team17
Debbie Bestwick is co-founder and CEO of award-winning games developer and international games label, Team17. Team17 is able to share 26 years of knowledge and expertise on the very competitive games market of today. Debbie Bestwick has received an MBE for services to the video games industry and was awarded Businesswoman of the Year in the 2016 Women in Games Awards.
LK ShelleyManaging Partner, Affiniti Ventures|AV(M) & IPC
LK Shelley has over 17 years’ international experience in the US, EU and Asia/JP. She participated in and transacted investments from US$5-$900M and exited a couple of ventures of her own. LK Shelley is the Managing Partner at Affiniti Ventures|AV(M) & IPC, collectively it invests in early stage mobile first startup including technology, platforms, digital media and entertainment, content as well as mobile gaming. She holds MBA and MS degrees from MIT.
Toby CoffeyHead of Digital Development, National Theatre
Toby Coffey is Head of Digital Development for the National Theatre. His team is responsible for the creative and technical development of the digital interfaces between the NT and its audiences. He focuses on developing forms of digital engagement and interaction around the NT and its repertoire of productions. Toby is currently leading the NT’s Immersive Storytelling initiatives looking at the application of 360 films, VR and installations in compelling methods of storytelling. Relevant areas include 360 films, virtual reality, augmented reality, installations, telepresence, digital publishing, online, UX, app development, device based engagement, digital art direction, social media, transmedia and documentary production. Toby has over 15 years expertise in the digital arena from creative, technical, production and social perspectives.
Mark OgilvieDesign Director, Jagex
As the RuneScape’s Design Director, Mark is the vision holder for the RuneScape universe and steers the creative direction of all the games within it. With a passion for exploring new concepts in game design and delivering the RuneScape world in new ways, Mark led the design for RuneScape Quests: One Piercing Note for Amazon Alexa. The skill became the first mainstream game brand to come to the voice-controlled device.
Tanya LairdFounder & CEO, Digital Jam
Tanya has been at the forefront of emerging creative technology spanning games, film, TV, comics, music, immersive theatre, Transmedia VR, AR and AI. She is the creator of the the VR Writers Room and the co-organiser for the world’s largest VR & AR focused meetup group “Augmenting Reality”, a Trustee for both the World Youth Organisation and UN Influx, the winner of a Women in Games Award and the vice chair of BAME in Games
Cara EllisonWriter and Games Critic
Cara Ellison is a Scottish writer, game critic and video game narrative designer. She has written for The Guardian, VICE, Kotaku, PC Gamer, Paste Magazine and the New Statesman, and wrote the best-named column in the world, S.EXE, at Rock Paper Shotgun. She was also co-writer on Charlie Brooker’s How Videogames Changed The World for Channel Four television in the UK. Her writing and game narrative work has been featured in The New York Times and Wired, and she was one of The Guardian’s Top Ten Young People In Digital Media 2014. She contributed to the forthcoming game Dishonored 2, and has recently put out a collected volume of her gonzo crowd-funded itinerant travelogues around the world. She is currently working on unannounced game projects.
Lifelong gamer and game-creator, Imre Jele is an expert in game design, AI mechanics, procedural content, narrative, crossmedia and audience engagement. He’s known for promoting innovative and collaborative creative approaches including Bossa's regular internal Game Jams. Throughout his colourful career, Imre has worked on a wide range of game genres and platforms. He's Co-founder and Creator-in-Chief of Bossa Studios - winner of multiple BAFTA and other awards, creator of Surgeon Simulator and Worlds Adrift. Imre has been serving on BAFTA Games Committee since 2012, where his focus are to increase the popular cultural perception and governmental recognition of games, and helping young talent entering the industry.
Robin Baumgarten is a German Indie based in London. After researching Artificial Intelligence in games and working on mobile titles, he's now knee-deep involved in strange experimental hardware games such as Line Wobbler. He's also a keen game jammer, wannabe nomadic and photographer.
Phoenix PerryLecturer, Goldsmiths University of London
Phoenix Perry creates physical games and user experiences. As an advocate for women in game development, she founded Code Liberation Foundation. In her role at Goldsmiths, University of London, she lecturers on Physical Computing and games and is starting a new MA in Independent Games and Experience Design.
Adam MyersDirector, Failbetter Games
Adam Myers is a director and game designer at Failbetter Games, best known for Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies and Fallen London. He also runs Failbetter's internship programme and is a member of the Fundbetter committee, which provides funding for small narrative games.
Jo SummersNow Play This
Jo Summers is a producer for digital products, and an organiser of games-focused events. Events she has worked on include Now Play This at Somerset House (2015 – 2017), Pop up Arcade for the Brighton Digital Festival (2014 – 2016), and the UK edition of the Wordplay Festival held at the British Library (2016, as director). She has been a member of the Executive Committee for the Global Game Jam for the last two years, and runs regular gamejams, meet-ups and workshops for local games communities in Brighton. She has a particular interest in supporting diversity, both in creating digital games and showing these creative works to new audiences.
Paul CallaghanProgramme Manager for Games & Interactive, British Council
Paul Callaghan is the Programme Manager for Games & Interactive at the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. Prior to joining the Council, he worked across the games sector as a programmer, designer, writer, teacher, and creative producer both in the UK and Australia.
Michael CookSenior Research Fellow, Falmouth University
Michael Cook is a researcher, writer and game designer currently working as a Senior Research Fellow with the Metamakers Institute at Falmouth University. His research focuses on automating game design using creative artificial intelligence, and building tools to make generative software more accessible. He is the creator of ANGELINA, a game-designing AI that was the first system to enter a game jam alongside humans, and is the founder of the Procedural Generation Jam. In 2015 he was listed on Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Games. He once completed a game made by Alan Hazelden without cheating.
Sarah Brin is a curator and writer based in Copenhagen. Some of her prior projects include co-founding and advising PlaySFMOMA, an initiative supporting the creation and exhibition of artist-made games at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; co-curating Horizon, an exhibition and press conference for independent games at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; and publications, lectures and gallery experiences for entities like Autodesk, Babycastles, Vice, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, the Game Developers Conference, Eyeo and elsewhere. She is currently a fellow in the GIFT project, where she collaborates with and advises a consortium of cultural institutions on playful museum experiences. You can learn more about her work at sarahbrin.com.
Iain Lee has been a familiar face on television since he got his first break on the 11 O’Clock Show. After 3 series of The 11OCS, Iain left to present a video games documentary, Thumb Candy, where he travelled the world meeting the innovators in the world of computer entertainment. A series, Thumb Candy, followed and secured Iain’s place as one of the country’s most prominent gamers. For a year, Iain hosted Channel 4’s breakfast show Rise, Iain’s performances on the show were loved by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, so much so that Bob later cast Iain in TittyBangBang before writing a show for him and his former flatmate Mackenzie Crook.. As well as appearing on TV, Iain has made quite a name for himself on the radio. Spending 3 years on LBC before moving to Virgin and Absolute for a further 4 years. Between January and October 2011, Iain’s Absolute show podcasts had over 5 million downloads.
Stuart AdcockFacial Capture Supervisor, ILM
Stuart Adcock joined Industrial Light & Magic's London studio with 15 years of game development experience where he spent his career focused on high quality characters and real-time environments. Having graduated from Bournemouth with an Animation Degree, he began his career with Sony Playstation where he was responsible for exploring new ideas and advanced methods for next-gen character creation. In 2006, Stuart moved to Ninja Theory, to further hone his character skills and solely focus on the facial animation for Heavenly Sword. This led to a role as the studios Technical Art Director, where he developed further titles from concept to completion, including Enslaved, DmC and the concept phase of Hellblade. As the company's technical visionary, Stuart enjoyed a versatile role that demanded a mix of art direction, motion-capture supervision, R&D and hands on development to help turn the studios ambitious visions into reality. Stuart joined ILM in 2015 to supervise the Real-time Digital Acting (RTDA) research project, a collaboration between ILM London, Disney Research, and Vicon. In particular focusing on the integration of real-time aspects into the VFX workflow. Enabling filmmakers the ability to monitor actors CG performances live in real-time, while allowing actors to perform in regular costume and without dense facial markers.
Talulah Riley is one of the UK’s most exciting creative talents. Not only does she have an impressive CV of acting, directing, and screenwriting experience, she has recently added Entrepreneur into the mix. Talulah is the co-founder and COO of FORRGE, a hugely successful app that works with the world's most innovative companies to bring on-demand work opportunities to clients worldwide.
Dr Esther MacCallum-StewartAssociate Professor of Games Research, Staffordshire University
Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart is Associate Professor of Games Research at Staffordshire University. Her work examines the ways that players understand games and tell stories about them. She has written widely on gender, sex, sexuality and deviant play in games, and is currently working on an edited collection on boardgames.
Leigh Alexander is a journalist working at the intersection of technology and popular culture. She hosts the Guardian’s tech podcast, writes a technomancy column at Motherboard called "Oracles of the Web", and occasionally does narrative design for independent video games. She recently published Monitor, a cyberpunk novella, and launched an ASMR video series devoted to vintage computing. More projects can be found at leighalexander.net/about.
Chiara is a marketing and communication professional with over 15 years experience in entertainment and technology. A keen gamer, she entered the world of communities in 2000 when she was recruited by Atari as a volunteer forum moderator. As she discovered the commercial benefits of customer engagement, Chiara decided to combine her expertise and passion and focused her career on community marketing, working for leading games developers and publishers (Atari, Capcom, Trion Worlds and 2K), as well as technology and entertainment organisations (Sky, Telefonica, Skype, Virgin, Spotify, Vodafone), both in-house and as a consultant. Combining hands on experience and leadership roles, Chiara has been championing the creation of deeper relationships between companies and customers.
Shaun RutlandCEO, Hutch
Shaun co-founded Hutch in 2011 following a 7-year stint at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and with a background in e-commerce. At Hutch, he has lead the racing-focused mobile gaming studio on its way to reaching over 100 million players worldwide, whilst prioritising flexible working for employees and establishing a culture based on transparency and self-determined teams that ensures lean, fast and innovative development.
Andy Campbell is the Digital Director for Yorkshire-based arts/media charity One to One Development Trust and the founder/lead author of Dreaming Methods, One to One’s award-winning in-house electronic literature and narrative games development studio. His latest work includes All the Delicate Duplicates with digital artist Mez Breeze which won The Space Open Call competition, the Tumblr International Prize and Best Overall Game at GameCity Festival 2016 and WALLPAPER with writer/film-maker Judi Alston, an immersive game/installation supported by Arts Council England and Sheffield Hallam University with a VR adaptation funded by GamesLab Leeds - Creative England. He is the lead developer of Inanimate Alice, an episodic work of digital fiction for young adults used extensively in multilingual education worldwide.
Multiple award-winning writer & narrative director Rob Yescombe began his career in video games, where he worked on blockbuster franchises including THE DIVISION, ALIEN and STAR WARS, along with experimental indie games like QUBE: DIRECTOR’S CUT and RIME. His feature screenplay OUTSIDE THE WIRE landed on the 2014 Brit List, and is set with London-based production company 42 (WELCOME TO THE PUNCH), to be exec produced by Automatik (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY). Currently, he is working on three major Virtual Reality projects: FARPOINT and HOW WE SOAR for Sony Entertainment, and THE INVISIBLE HOURS for Tequila Works and Game Trust. He is also writing the feature film GOOD GAME for Universal Pictures.
Violet Berlin is a writer. Her work appears on all kinds of screens, in all kinds of places. She specialises in devising narratives for interactive and immersive projects. She creates content-rich digital media for museums, galleries and brand experience centres and is a master of writing films, animations and games with a short dwell time of just a few minutes. Back in the 20th century, Violet was a pioneering presence on British TV. After presenting Britain’s first TV video games reviews (probably) on an early satellite channel, she came to star in ‘Bad Influence!’, a chart-topping ITV show about consoles and computers. She went on to produce, write and present a number of successful TV and radio shows about science and technology, became an early ‘internet correspondent’ on ‘Woman’s Hour’ (BBC R4) and wrote regular columns for newspapers, including ’The Observer Magazine’.
Fran Scott is the only female science presenter on CBBC. A scientist by training and an engineer at heart, Fran uses her knowledge to entertain and excite audiences of stage and screen. After working behind-the-scenes for many years on hit programmes such as Richard Hammond's Blast Lab, Bang Goes the Theory and Horizon, Fran then made the move to in-front of camera. She has since presented six series for CBBC, five series for BBC Learning Zone, and one for BBC Worldwide. For Fran, science and entertainment is at the heart of what she does, and this seems to have struck a chord with those wanting informative and yet engaging factual programmes, with her shows becoming successes across the globe and receiving numerous recognitions including a RTS award and three BAFTA nominations. She is best known for her playful (and often fiery) demonstrations on the CBBC show Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom. Fran also puts her behind-the-scenes experience to good use when working on programmes from the development stage, often designing her own demonstrations, acting as scientific consultant and writing her own scripts. Aside from television, Fran also brings science and engineering to the stage. She has written and performed hundreds of science stage shows, and knows only too well the demonstrations, narrative and humour needed to make a show not only enjoyable, but also educational. She is often commissioned to write bespoke shows and over the years has presented on-stage with many wellknown names including Richard Hammond, Prof. Robert Winston, Prof. Brian Cox, and, of course Dick and Dom! She has built up a solid reputation
Ellie Gibson is a comedian, TV presenter and award-winning video games journalist. She appears as the games expert on hit Dave TV show Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit. She is also one-half of comedy double act Scummy Mummies, hosts of the UK's number one parenting podcast, and authors of the Scummy Mummies book. She is set to host a new video games TV show due to debut this summer.
Laura is a Lead Producer in King’s London studio, currently working on a large unannounced new title for the world-renowned mobile games company. She was previously a Producer on Farm Heroes Saga, the hugely successful mobile game enjoyed by millions of players around the globe. She has seven years’ experience as a Producer and Product Manager in the mobile and social games industry, having also worked with Wooga, Mind Candy and Arkadium. She graduated from Columbia College, New York, with a BA, Honors degree in Literature.
Violet forms one half of the small but mighty team of two at Nerd Pirates (www.thenerdpirates.com), working as a freelance social media manager, copywriter, and marketeer. Her work highlights include her position at virtual reality marketing agency, Virtual Umbrella, and a placement at London-based food-art company, Bompas and Parr. She’s produced work for Microsoft, the Barbican, and Courvoisier, and recently became the PR co-manager of indie games studio, Revelations Studios. She’s also super addicted to biscuits.
Lily is a freelance marketeer, copywriter, and social media manager, working as part of the creative twin-sister duo at Nerd Pirates (www.thenerdpirates.com). Her freelance work involves everything from press-releases, talks, VR demos, tweets, and creative problem-solving at virtual reality marketing agency, Virtual Umbrella, to the creation of market research and exhibition text for Bompas and Parr’s ‘The Complete History of Food’. She’s worked with names like San Miguel, Kaleidoscope VR, Courvoisier, Cubicle Ninjas, and indie games studio, Revelations Studios. Her favourite game character is Portal 2’s Wheatley.
Erin O'Brien is Culture Developer at Gram Games, and leads the creation and further refinement of the company’s culture, to build an inspiring place to work that is good for its people, as well as the business. Originally from Washington DC and graduated from Princeton University, she started her career in gaming as a content manager. After sharing ideas and supporting the culture team, she became Culture Developer, aiming to drive Gram’s culture as its own product, to optimise input and output, and ensure the business works for everyone. As Gram Games expands to London, her role continues to evolve as she leads on the search for new talent to fill multiple positions at the new office. Erin made her move into the video games industry as she believes it provides a fascinating opportunity to interact with a variety of people, both directly and by creating entertainment that resonates on a human level. She enjoys working in an industry whose aim is to ultimately make people happy.