For the 2017/18 academic year, Grads In Games is supported by a range of partners from across the games industry.
We’re delighted to welcome back Sumo Digital, long-time supporter of the Grads in Games initiative. The Sheffield-based studio have actively helped shape the games industry grad scene with us for the past 4 years, and will once again be sponsoring our Sumo Digital Rising Star game dev challenge for students not yet in their final year of higher education.
Founded in 2003 from the vestiges of the renowned Gremlin Interactive, Sumo Digital are one of the largest and most secure independent game studios in the UK, and have spent the last 14 years working with high profile clients developing a range of popular cross-platform games. Going from strength to strength, recent years have seen the studio open a second UK studio in Nottingham, as well as increasing their visibility with a string of successful AAA titles and critically acclaimed games including LittleBigPlanet 3 and work on Disney Infinity, plus the upcoming Crackdown 3 & Dead Island 2.
Recently, the studio embarked on a new journey and launched their very first self-published IP: Snake Pass. The puzzle platformer was originally an idea created during a Sumo internal game jam to promote creativity across its teams. Judges saw promise in the game, and later released a fully realised version of Snake Pass to the world. The game earned critical success with positive reviews across the board.
Sumo Digital have taken on a number of students from both Search for a Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star in the past, hiring two programming finalists from the 2017 challenge, and will be once again looking at the competition this year. Even better, the Snake Pass studio have informed us that they will be recruiting three graduate roles this year, which students from Search for a Star would be perfect for!
Students who make it to Finals Day for Search for a Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star can expect to meet judges from the studio, and also representatives who will be eager to talk to any students about opportunities with the studio.
“Search for a Star provides a way for the best graduates to demonstrate and hone their skills above and beyond the work they have completed as part of their course.” says Sumo Digital. “It allows candidates to compare themselves against fellow graduates from different institutions, and gives current undergraduates a target to aim for.”
You can find out more about Sumo Digital and their games over on their website.
We’re excited to welcome back nDreams as a Grads in Games Partner for 2017-18! nDreams joined up with Grads in Games last year, and after taking on a couple of students from Search for a Star, including VFX winner Niels Dewitte, they’ve partnered with us once again to support a sustainable industry filled with great graduate talent.
nDreams are the largest studio in the UK devoted solely to the publishing and development of VR games and experiences. Established in 2006, nDreams quickly became a leading publisher in PlayStation Home and as a developer of several major alternate reality games. However, their focus shifted in 2013 when the studio got their hands on an Oculus Rift – and they haven’t looked back since.
Their VR titles span from the visually spectacular experience Perfect, which transports players to a number of breath-taking environments to relax and unwind, to the slightly less relaxing Bloody Zombies, a hack and slash co-op brawler based in a plague-infested London.
“nDreams are keen to be involved in supporting new talent within the industry, and the Grads in Games initiative is a fantastic opportunity for upcoming stars.” says Tamsin O’Luanaigh, nDreams’ CoSec & Talent Director, “Aardvark Swift have given a structured way for grads with essential skill sets to have their portfolios reviewed by employers. This is a great opportunity for students, and gives them a chance to receive feedback directly from industry leaders and discover what is needed to break into the industry.”
nDreams have been involved every step of the way for this year’s competition, from helping us write challenge briefs, providing tailored feedback on student work, and will also be interviewing our finalists!
They’ll be keeping a keen eye open for any more talented developers who share nDream’s passion and flare for where virtual reality can take the games industry. Last year’s VFX winner impressed nDreams judges so much, that he was almost instantly offered a job. “The combination of technical prowess and creative flare, all articulated with such a personable and humble mentality, made it very hard not to pay attention to Niels’ achievements” said Art Director Glenn Brace.
You can find out more about nDreams and their cutting-edge VR games here, and see the work of last year’s VFX winner, and now nDreams VFX Artist, below!
We’re thrilled to welcome back Playground Games as a Grads in Games Partner for 2017-18. Playground Games, known for their work on the Forza Horizon series, have been an important part of Grads In Games for three years now. They will be partnering with us again to support the ever-growing video games industry that sports a variety of talent from graduates.
Playground Games were formed in 2010 in Leamington Spa under the direction of the talent like Gavin Raeburn and Ralph Fulton from other renowned studios, including Codemasters and Ubisoft Reflections. The studio have raced ahead with their critically acclaimed Forza Horizon series, with its third installment holding a 91% rating on Metacritic. They are now working to establish a second studio in which their seven years’ experience can be used to create more captivating experiences for gamers everywhere.
The studio was one of 12 companies to win Gamesindustry.biz’s ‘Best Places to Work 2017’ award, with the highest overall score out of all applicants. Staff at the company are offered numerous benefits, including competitive salaries, flexible working hours, a royalties scheme, and duvet days to name just a few. Not only that, but Leamington Spa was also recently ranked as the happiest place to live in Britain.
A big believer of growing the grad environment, Playground Games will be looking at Search for a Star when hiring six programming students this year. Previously, they have taken students from the challenge, with Hannah Smith joining the team as a 3D Environment artist earlier this year.
The team at Playground Games will be joining us on the Get in the Game tour, providing tailored feedback on your challenge submissions, assessing finalists, and giving a careers presentation on the final day in the process.
You can find out more about Playground Games and their titles over on their website.
We’re delighted to welcome Boss Alien back as a Grads in Games Partner for the fourth year running. Boss Alien have always shared our mission to support graduates game developers entering the industry for the first time, and we’re glad they’ll be continuing their efforts this year.
The studio was formed in Brighton back in June 2011 by ex-employees of Black Rock Studio. Their 2012 debut title, CSR Racing, was a massive hit, generating over $12 million in its first month on App Stores alone. In 2013, Boss Alien continued their racing success with CSR Classics, which was praised for its standout attention to detail. While the company is now part of Natural Motion, and the larger Zynga family by extent, Boss Alien retain the freedom to work independently to create exciting new experiences for their loyal community.
The racing fanatics have taken on a number of talented developers from Search for a Star over the years, including our Rising Star Code winner for 2017. Challenge winner Alfred Norton flourished in Boss Alien’s internship programme and was able to hone his programming skills with the help of tailored feedback from his industry expert peers.
Boss Alien is now looking to hire a Graduate Programmer and Technical Artist and will be present at the Search for a Star Finals Day to talk to talented students about opportunities with the studio.
You can find out more about Boss Alien and their games over on their website.
We’re happy to formally welcome Red Kite Games to the Grads in Games family, now an official Patron of the initiative!
Red Kite Games works closely with clients including Activison, Sony, Sumo Digital, and even Kellogg’s to either create games from scratch, or lend their expertise to a project. As such, they have an impressively broad portfolio of games, having worked on everything from Call of Duty and Dirt 4 to indie games such as Extreme Exorcism and Dream Machine.
Red Kite Games has been involved with Grads in Games for a number of years, helping us grow the industry’s graduate scene, and will be taking a more active role this year. They’ll be joining us on our international Get in the Game tour, delivering presentations on how to get into the industry. Even better, the studio will be present for our Search for our Star Finals Day event to talk to students about opportunities with their studio, and to sit on the final judging panels!
“Having studied a games focussed degree myself I can’t help but wish that Grads In Games and Search For A Star had been established during my time at University” says Simon Iwaniszak, Managing Director of Red Kite Games.
“Not only does it allow for the next generation of enthusiastic games developers to demonstrate their skills to potential employers on a National scale, it also provides an excellent insight into how the games industry actually works. As a Patron of Grads in Games, Red Kite Games is extremely proud to be involved with the initiative.”
You can find out more about Red Kite Games and the games they develop over on their website.
2017-2018 is shaping up to be a fantastic academic year for Grads in Games, and that’s in no short part because we get to welcome d3t as an official Grads in Games partner for the first time!
Founded in 2011, and acquired by Keywords Studios previously this year, the work for hire studio have partnered on projects with the likes of Boss Key, the BBC, Sony and Sega, and will now be offering up their hard-earned experience & industry insight on the Get in the Game tour and to students attending Search for a Star Finals day.
d3t’s skill and experience has been channelled into a wide variety of projects, stretching from award-winning work on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to beloved children’s titles such as Charlie and Lola. The studio is continuously going from strength to strength and continue to offer their services as an independent company without ties to any one IP.
The Cheshire-based developers were one of the proud companies to win Gamesindustry.biz and Aardvark Swift’s ‘Best Places to Work 2017’ award. With their diversity in projects, developers never get tired of working on one project for too long. Staff are able to cultivate a range of skills which they simply aren’t able to within a traditional studio environment.
d3t has five graduate programming vacancies available this year and will be present at the Search for a Star finals day to meet and talk to students about opportunities with the studio. Committed to developing the industry’s graduate talent, the Best Places To Work winner has taken on last year’s Rising Star programming finalist Neil Osbaldeston, for impressing judges with both his dev talents and his submitted game, Cube Invasion.
You can find out more d3t and their work over on their website.