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Yorkshire Games Festival 2016: Lineup Preview

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In our first year here at Pure PlayStation, we’ve reported on many a games festival but we’ve yet to get boots on the ground, as it were. That all changes this week when we’ll be attending the first annual Yorkshire Games Festival in exotic Bradford. There’s a whole host of talks from big industry names and a weekend showcase of games from prominent Yorkshire developers like Team 17 (Worms) and Sumo Digital (Snake Pass). We’ll be bringing you the news from the talks, previews of the games, and even some one on one interviews, so join us here from the 9th to the 13th to get all the latest. Right now, we’re bringing you a taster of what to expect below.

You might not have heard of the Yorkshire Games Festival, this year marks the debut of the event after all. So what is it all about? I hear you cry. Here’s how the organisers have described 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 some PS4 and Vita games that make the cut, though; let’s take a look at the three titles I’ve got my eye on.

Team 17 – Worms W.M.D

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Team 17 have a big presence at the 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 PS4, Creative Director Kevin Carthew will be telling the story of the game’s making in a session on Friday the 11th.

Sumo Digital – Snake Pass

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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 ever more complex environments and ‘fiendishly mind-bending objectives.’

Retroburn – Positron

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You may have never heard of Retroburn, as they’ve previously made 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 recently, in the run-up to its release on Steam on the 11th of November. The game will subsequently be brought to PS4, 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.

These are the three that have piqued my interest, but there’s 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 that will be of great interest to PS4 and PS VR fans. First up, on Wednesday we’ve got talks from 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 Edge magazine live-interview Romero.

These are only the PlayStation-focused games and speakers too, so if you’d like to find out more about what’s on at the festival, you can check the official site here. The event 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 comers. Maybe I’ll see you there?

A first-year festival being the first festival for a first-year site seems rather fitting if you ask us. Will we be seeing you in sunny Bradford next weekend? Let us know in the comments below and keep it Pure PlayStation for all the news from the festival.

Dom is a gaming orphan; after his surrogate father SEGA was killed in the console wars, he was adopted by Sony and raised by various PlayStation consoles. He swears he’s not biased in any way though, so that’s good enough for us.
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