Develop:Star Awards Logo

About the Develop:Star Awards

Bringing together the game dev community to celebrate the very best games and talent.

Taking place on the evening of Wednesday 12 July during Develop:Brighton, the Develop:Star Awards 2023 will recognise the very best games and talent within the industry with categories that enable studios of every size to shine.

These awards are all about the game dev community celebrating the creative excellence of the game makers behind the best games of the previous 12 months. Scroll down to see the who has made it onto the shortlist this year!

The Stars Schedule

  • 1 February - Nominations open
  • 31 March - Entry deadline
  • 11 April to 5 May - Judging for the shortlist
  • 16 May - Shortlist announced and online voting for the winners opens
  • 31 May - Voting closes
  • 12 July - Winners announced at the awards ceremony

Categories

The awards are split into 20 different categories, focusing on the achievements of development teams and the success of great games over the previous 12 months. Within those categories, one ultimate ‘Develop Star’ will be awarded to honour an extraordinary studio or game developer for outstanding achievement and contribution to the industry.
 

Best Visual Art

Recognising a game which demonstrates exceptional achievement in visual art and/or animation, across any genre.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this game deserves the Best Visual Art award and what is extraordinary about the team’s work. Give examples from the nominated game and how the team’s work supported the overall goals of the game. What makes the visual art in this game stand out?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement.

Best Narrative

Rewarding a team who have far exceeded expectation in their storytelling to create an outstanding player experience – through innovative or ground-breaking writing.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this game deserves the Best Narrative award and what is extraordinary about the team’s work. Give examples from the nominated game and how the team’s work supported the overall goals of the game. What makes this narrative stand out?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement in dialogue and narrative design.

Best Game Design

This award recognises a team responsible for exceptional and creative game design via the use of controls, level design, pacing and mechanics.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this game deserves the Best Game Design award and what is extraordinary about the team’s work. Give examples from the nominated game and how the team’s work supported the overall goals of the game. What makes this game design stand out?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement.

Best Audio

Rewarding a game that demonstrates distinction in the use of sound or music to improve player experience.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this game deserves the Best Audio award and what is extraordinary about it. Give examples from the nominated game and how the team’s work supported the overall goals of the game. What makes the audio in this game stand out?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement.

Best Original IP

This award will recognise the creation of the best new intellectual property.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your nominated game deserves the Best Original IP award and what is extraordinary about it. Give examples from the game, its inspirations and what the goals were. What makes this original IP stand out?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement.

Best Technical Innovation

The award which recognises technological innovation in the video game space. This could be a pioneering gameplay experience, a breakthrough new development technique, inventive hardware or anything showing true innovation.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why the team responsible for this innovation deserves the Best Technical Innovation award and what’s extraordinary about their work. Explain how they came up with the new idea, what makes it so ground-breaking and why it has been such a success. What makes this project and the achievements of the team stand out?

Judges will look for a real departure from anything that has gone before, plus evidence of critical and/or commercial success.

Diversity Star

This award celebrates an individual who has shown a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the games industry.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this person deserves the Diversity award and what is extraordinary about what they’ve achieved. Give examples of how they’ve successfully promoted diversity and inclusion. What makes this person stand out? Include any supporting evidence and testimony within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023)

Judges will look for a trailblazer who has gone above and beyond to further the cause of diversity in our industry.

Marketing Star

Recognising a UK-based individual, in-house team or external agency that has shown outstanding achievement in promoting a game – including marketing, PR, influencer relations and community development.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why you, your team or organisation deserves to be recognised as our Marketing Star. Give us an overview of your strategy, goals and successful execution for a campaign which launched within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) including details of the brief, objectives, strategy, tactics, outputs, outcomes and budget.

Please include one testimonial regarding your work on this campaign from another function within your business or from your client.

Judges will look for creativity, innovative approaches, delivery on brief and within budget, plus the resulting commercial success.

Best QA and Localisation Provider

Recognising the organisation that has provided the highest quality of service and contributed the most to usability, testing and localisation within the game developer community.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your organisation deserves the Best QA and Localisation award. What is your core business and how has your product/service supported game developers? Please describe in depth one title that you’re especially proud of helping bring to market within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) and why. You may provide up to three customer testimonials.

Judges will look for excellence in service levels, delivery on brief and resulting critical and/or commercial success for the client.

Best Creative Provider

This award recognises the organisation that has provided exceptional audio assets (voice acting, music or sound effects) or visual assets (porting or creating sections of the game) for the game developer community.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your organisation deserves the Best Creative Provider award. What is your core business and how has your product/service supported game developers? Please describe in depth one title that you’re especially proud of helping bring to market within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) and why. Please provide up to three customer testimonials.

Judges will look for innovation, creativity, excellence in service levels, delivery on brief and resulting critical and/or commercial success for the client.

Best Technology Provider

For this award we’ll be rewarding the organisation that has provided outstanding hardware and/or technological support for UK game developers. This could include third party engines, motion capture tools, dev kits or microprocessors.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your organisation deserve the Best Technology Provider award. Please describe in depth one title that you’re especially proud of helping bring to market within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) and why. Please provide up to three customer testimonials.

Judges will look for innovation, excellence in service levels, delivery on brief and resulting critical and/or commercial success for the client.

Talent Development Star

Recognising an in-house team that has shown outstanding policies and initiatives, and produced impressive results in successfully recruiting, retaining and developing talent within their team.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your team deserves to be recognised as our Talent Development Star. Give us an example of your achievements within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) and tell us how you contributed to your company's success. 

Judges will look for innovative, inclusive approaches and the resulting success.

Recruitment Star

Recognising an external organisation that has shown outstanding policies and initiatives, and produced impressive results in successfully recruiting new team members for development studios.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your organisation deserves to be recognised as our Recruitment Star. Give us an example of your best placement within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) and tell us how you contributed to your client's success. Please provide up to three client testimonials.

Judges will look for innovative approaches and the resulting success.

Best Mobile Game

This award will be given to the game that offers best overall player experience on a mobile phone or tablet.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this game deserves the Best Mobile Game award and what’s extraordinary about it. Give examples from the nominated game & explain what makes this game and the team’s achievements stand out?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement.

Tomorrow's Star

The Tomorrow's Star award will recognise the achievements of new talent in the games industry. Nominees should be below senior management or director level.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this person deserves the Tomorrow's Star award and what is extraordinary about what they’ve achieved. Give examples of how they’ve successfully contributed to your organisation. What makes this person stand out? Include any supporting evidence and testimony within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023)

Judges will look for an individual who strives to achieve success and results, inspires others and has the potential to become a future leader in our industry.

Publishing Star

Recognising an organisation that has shown outstanding support helping developers get their game published. This can include via funding, discoverability, research or anything else that helped secure a successful route to market for new games.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your organisation deserves to be recognised as our Publishing Star. Give us examples of a game or games you’re really proud to have supported within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023) and tell us how you contributed to their success. Please provide up to three testimonials from developers you’ve worked with.

Judges will look for innovative approaches and the resulting critical and/or commercial success for the developer.

Best Game

Rewarding the game that stands out above all others in terms of gameplay, storytelling, art style, character development, creativity and overall player experience - across all genres and platforms.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why this game deserves the Best Game award and what’s extraordinary about it. Give examples from the nominated game, their inspirations and what the goals were. What makes this game stand out as the Best Game?

Judges will look for innovation, creativity and technical achievement not just commercial success.

Best Small Studio

This award will go to a studio with ten or fewer employees who’ve achieved exceptional critical and commercial success during the qualifying period.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your studio deserves to win Best Small Studio. What makes your studio and the achievements of your team stand out? Explain your company culture and team dynamic, what’s remarkable about your game(s), development and production process and community engagement?
Link to examples of your latest game(s) from within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023)

Judges will look for evidence of all round outstanding achievement and individuality as well as critical and commercial success.

Best Studio

This award celebrates any studio with five or more employees who’ve achieved exceptional critical and commercial success during the qualifying period.

Entry Requirements:
Tell us why your studio deserves to win Best Studio. What makes your studio and the achievements of your team stand out? Explain your company culture and team dynamic, what’s remarkable about your game(s), development and production process and community engagement?
Link to examples of your latest game(s) from within the qualifying period (1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023)

Judges will look for evidence of all round outstanding achievement and individuality as well as critical and commercial success.

How to Enter

How it works:

  • The qualifying period for entries is from 1 June 2021 – 31 March 2022.
  • Entry to the Develop:Star Awards is open to any companies working in the game dev industry with teams based in the UK, or Europe if they have a strong connection to the UK (e.g. a UK-based publisher or strong UK sales).
  • You can enter yourself or your own organisation, or you can nominate a third party.
  • Entries must be submitted via our online entry form. Any entries submitted via any other medium will not be considered.
  • When reviewing entries for the shortlist, judges will only use the information provided by you on the submission form within the deadline period.
  • To give yourself or whoever you are nominating the best possible chance, please follow our criteria instructions on the form carefully and provide your information exactly as requested – this will help provide the judges with entries of a consistent standard and make it a fairer judging process.
  • Entry for the Develop:Star Awards closes on Friday 1 April 2022.

Shortlist selection

  • All entries will be evaluated by panels of games industry professionals appointed by the Develop: Star Awards team. The judging panel for each awards category will review entries and select a shortlist of 5 finalists for that award.
  • The shortlisted entries will be announced on 17 May 2022.

Selection of the winners

  • The Develop:Star Awards are all about game devs recognising the achievements of other game devs. So winners will be independently selected by the game dev community – anyone who has attended Develop:Brighton in the last three years or had registered for this year’s event will be able to vote online for their favourite finalists.
  • Voting will take place from 17 May to 1 June.
  • Winners will be announced at the Develop:Star Awards ceremony on Wednesday 13 July 2022.

View the Develop:Star Awards terms and conditions here


Top Tips Before You Start Your Entry

Have a Clear Objective

  • Tell us why you or your nominee deserves to win. Be clear with your message - what sets the nominee apart from the other entrants?

Be Different

  • Judges and voters want to see nominees that stand out from the crowd, so make your entry engaging and inspirational - show us how excited you are about your entry.

Forward Planning

  • Draft an outline plan of what you want to get across before you start writing and talk to other team members to get their input.

Create a Story

  • Judges and voters like a clear narrative. Think about the 5 W’s – Who, What, Why, Where and When.

Answer the Questions Succinctly

  • Try not to waffle – think about what is being asked and answer thoroughly but concisely.

Put Yourself in the Judges Shoes

  • The judges will be reading lots of entries while whittling the nominees down to our final shortlist – make it an easy and enjoyable read and back up any claims with real-life examples and facts and figures where appropriate.

Supporting Materials

  • Only use evidence that really backs-up what you’re saying. Videos are a great way to show off a project and if you’re entering a game category then share game codes so the judges can play your game - if they haven’t already!

ENTRY OPENS MONDAY 30 JANUARY.

Develop:Star Awards Party

The Develop:Star Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony on the evening of Wednesday 12 July during Develop:Brighton.

Party Timings

  • 19:00 Drinks and Canapes
  • 20:00 Awards Presentation
  • 21:00 Dinner
  • 22:00 Awards Presentation
  • 22:30 After Party
  • Late bar with dessert stations, a live DJ and some surprises..

The Develop:Star Award 2022

 Arkane Lyon’s Studio Director and Co-Creative Director Dinga Bakaba, was given the 2022 Star Award for his outstanding achievements and contribution to the games industry.

“Making video games is a part of me, both to make players happy and to give back the joy games have brought me. I love the craft of making games. Being a part of the games industry means so much to me, and it’s an honour to be recognised by so many talented individuals that I look up to myself.”

Sponsorship

The Develop:Star Awards offer a range of sponsorship opportunities to help you achieve your marketing & promotional goals. Whatever your aims, there’s something to suit every pocket - all designed to maximise your exposure.

To find out how you can get involved contact us at:

E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)20 3927 6440

The 2022 Develop:Star Awards Winners:

  • Best Narrative: Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Best Audio: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Best Creative Provider: d3t
  • Best QA & Localisation Provider: Keywords Studios
  • Best Technical Innovation: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Best Visual Art: Horizon Forbidden West
  • Marketing Star: Media Molecule Live Services Team
  • Best Extended Reality Game: Resident Evil 4 VR
  • Tomorrow’s Star: Charmie Kim
  • Best Technology Provider: Unreal Engine
  • Recruitment Star: Sumo Group
  • Best Mobile Game: LEGO Star Wars Battles
  • Diversity Star: Charu Desodt
  • Best Origional IP: DEATHLOOP
  • Best Game Design: Unpacking
  • Publishing Star: Curve Games
  • Best Game: Horizon Forbidden West
  • Best Micro Studio: Acid Nerve
  • Best Studio: Sumo Digital
  • The Develop Star Award: Dinga Bakaba - Arkane Lyon
Watch the highlights from the Develop:Star Awards 2022