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Nick Button-Brown speaks BAFTA Games and The Future of the Gaming Industry

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The BAFTAs isn’t just for television and movie awards – they take an interest in all forms of media, including video games.

 

Over June, during E3, Riot Games were honoured with a Special Award to celebrate their contribution to the video games and esport industry. We were given the opportunity to speak with BAFTA Games Committee Chair, Nick Button-Brown on the collaboration between BAFTA and the games industry.

“An important part of BAFTA’s activity is to celebrate and showcase creative excellence in film, games, and television,” Button-Brown says, “So each year, BAFTA can give a Special Award to the individuals and companies that have contributed the most to the creativity of our industry.”

Recent winners of this award have included the developer and creator of Minecraft, Notch and game director and writer Amy Hennig, who had worked on Uncharted.

“This year we felt it was right to recognise the contribution of Riot Games, for their influence on our industry, and the way they have constantly improved and evolved League of Legends, through to their approach in eSports and the way they create wonderful must-see events, their stadium-filling matches and the generation of stars that have changed the way we look at games.” Nick states.

Button-Brown has worked in the gaming world for 20 years, including taking senior positions in companies such as Improbable, Crytek and Electrotonic Arts. He has worked on games such as Timesplitters 3, Ryse and Battlefield.

 

When asked his favourite game to work on, he gave the answer, “That’s an almost impossible question! I loved working on Battlefield 1942, although my favourite was Battlefield 2142 for the battles in the Titans. I loved working on the Timesplitters series and would love to find a way to bring it back some day.  And for the team that we had on it, and the difficulties of working on a launch title, Ryse – Son of Rome was a tremendous achievement.

“I love parts of every game I’ve worked on but I can also see the flaws.”

There are always flaws and recently, the gaming industry has had some serious downs as well as amazing ups. Nick has some ideas of what he wants from the future of this industry.

“I want games to feel real and mean something,” he comments, “I want to play games where what I do matters to the worlds I’m playing in and the worlds respond in a way that feels real. I think that’s the key to making deep emotional connections to what we make, and providing those richer experiences should be our goal.”

20 years is a long time to spend in any industry and gaming is something that can be quite difficult to figure out how to get into it, unless you already know somebody in the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Button-Brown gave this advice to budding game developers. “You need to look at each job you are considering and see if you can justify it on the basis of does it give you access to best practices, does it improve or add to your technical skills, does it give you life skills, does it help you in your decision making, or does it help you build your networks.  If a job gives all of those, then you should snatch it out of their hands!”

BAFTA Games has its own student programmes to get your foot into the gaming industry, including the Scholarship Programme, BAFTA Crew (for more experienced developers) and BAFTA Guru. All give you the chance to speak to industry professionals, to network and build connections, and get the experience needed.

With twenty years of experience behind you, think of how much games will change around you and that you – like Nick Button-Brown – could be a part of that history.

For more information, check out the BAFTA website.

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