Posted: 28th October 2021
Games industry celebrates as the winners are announced during Develop:Brighton 2021

The winners of the Develop:Star Awards 2021, hosted at the Hilton Brighton Metropole last night during Develop:Brighton, have been announced.

This year’s Develop:Star Awards returned in-person and saw winners crowned in 17 categories before this year’s Develop Star recipient, Team17’s founder and CEO Debbie Bestwick MBE, was celebrated for her outstanding achievements and contributions to the games industry.

It was a big night for PlayStation exclusives, with Returnal picking up Best Visual Art and Game of the Year, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales winning Best Audio, while Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout picked up two prizes in the Best Game Design and Best Original IP categories.

Best Micro Studio was won by Röki developer Polygon Treehouse, following the game’s win in the Best Narrative category, while Sumo Digital picked up the Best Studio award for the second time following their win in 2019.

Sumo Digital and internal studio The Chinese Room also won Best Mobile Game for Apple Arcade platformer Little Orpheus.  

The full list of winners is below:

  • Best Visual Art: Returnal
  • Best Narrative: Röki
  • Best Game Design: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Best Audio: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Best Innovation: Lost Words: Beyond the Page
  • Best QA & Localisation Provider: Keywords Studios
  • Recruitment Star: Amiqus Recruitment
  • Best Creative Provider: Atomhawk
  • Best Original IP (Sponsored by Hiro Capital): Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Diversity Star (Sponsored by PTW): Anisa Sanusi
  • Tomorrow's Star (Sponsored by Amiqus): Reema Ishaque
  • Best Technology Provider: Unreal Engine
  • Publishing Star: No More Robots
  • Best Mobile Game: Little Orpheus
  • Game of the Year: Returnal
  • Best Micro Studio (Sponsored by Talenthouse): Polygon Treehouse
  • Best Studio (Sponsored by Epic Games): Sumo Digital
  • The Develop Star Award: Debbie Bestwick - Team17

“The Develop:Star Awards made their debut in 2019 and we were disappointed not to be able to return with a physical ceremony in 2020, but last night was a special one for us and it’s safe to say it was worth the wait,” said Andy Lane, managing director at Tandem Events.

“We’d like to thank everyone who joined us and congratulate all the worthy winners, but in truth last night was a celebration of the entire industry after an often difficult 18 months.”

The finalists in each competitive category were selected by a panel of judges, with the winners then decided by a closed industry vote, with delegates from the past five years of Develop:Brighton invited to take part.

The Develop Star Award, recognising an individual’s incredible achievements in the industry, was the exception. “It was humbling to receive the award last night,” said this year’s winner, Debbie Bestwick MBE. “It continues to be a pleasure to be part of this incredible and creative industry, and play a role in building a better environment for developers to realise their ambitions and make games loved around the world.”

The Develop:Star Awards 2021 were made possible by headline sponsor Unreal Engine and individual award sponsors Amiqus, Hiro Capital, PTW, and Talenthouse.

The Develop:Star Awards will return next year to the Hilton Brighton Metropole on Wednesday 13 July during Develop:Brighton 2022.

About Develop:Brighton conference & expo

The Develop:Brighton conference is where the European developer community comes together to learn from each other and share experiences, be inspired by world renowned experts and gurus, get up-to-date with the latest development tools and techniques, make new contacts and catch up with old ones.

With a programme that is shaped by some of the industry's key figures, the conference touches all levels of the development community from the largest studios to the smallest indies; from development directors to programmers.

About The Develop:Star Awards

Taking place alongside the conference, the new Develop:Star Awards will recognise the very best of the game development community. The achievements of developers and success of great games and creativity will be celebrated across 18 categories, including one ultimate ‘Develop Star’. This award will honour an extraordinary game developer for outstanding achievement and contribution to the industry.

Twitter: @developconf

LinkedIn: Develop-Brighton

Facebook: developconference

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