Women in Games: UK Edition
MCV’s stellar Women in Games Awards kicked off last week, celebrating the incredible contribution women make to the UK games industry. The ceremony included free copies of Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play, a fantastic encyclopedia of some of the most influential women in the industry around the world, from its fledgling beginnings to today.
In this blog, we’ll be highlighting some women from the book who helped influence the UK games industry. This is only a snapshot of the wider talent that exists - both in the UK, and internationally.
The daughter of acclaimed novelist Terry Pratchett, but a well-established and talented writer in her own right, Rhianna Pratchett is one of the leading narrative designers in the industry. Originally a journalist following her graduation from the London College of Communications, Rhianna later moved into video game scriptwriting. Her first gig was Divine Divinity in 2002, before leading on major titles such as Heavenly Sword and Mirror’s Edge. After this, she became lead writer on the newest reboot of the Tomb Raider series.
Her redesign of the iconic Lara Croft as a relatable, multi-faceted young woman on the cusp of untapped greatness was a landmark in both the series and wider games writing. In 2013, the Tomb Raider was short listed for the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain “Best Video Game Script”.
Perhaps one of the most recognisable community managers, Hollie had an unexpected and rather British beginning to the world of work – as a midwife on the NHS. Her lifelong love of games motivated her to write video games articles on the side for various outlets, before she realised that the games industry was truly where her mind was set. After convincing the European VP of Bandai Namco at a networking event of her passion, she was offered a job there the very next day. Hollie has gone on to work as a highly influential Community Manager & Content Creator for PlayStation, and now works at CD Projekt Red.
Jodie is Technical Art Director at Creative Assembly and Director of her own studio, TeazelCats. In between these two busy roles, she also takes time to lend a helping hand to those aspiring to get into the industry by giving lectures at universities and talks at industry events. If that wasn’t enough, Jodie is also active in diversity initiatives such as POCinPlay. Her impact on the industry and its future talent will be seen for years to come.
A UI/UX Designer with over a decade of experience, Amrita graduated from Abertay University - the first university in the world to offer a computer games degree. Her talent as a student caught the eye of BBC Scotland, who offered her an internship upon leaving university. Amrita’s next role was then at EA for an impressive seven years, and she now works at industry leader Rockstar Games. Some of the games she’s worked on include Red Dead Redemption 2, The Sims Social, and a number of Harry Potter games.
Originally raised in Australia, Siobhan moved to the UK at 18 and entered the world of video games at 19. She had a promising start and began working for Perfect Entertainment on games based on the Discworld series of novels by Terry Pratchett. Siobhan then moved to the legendary Criterion Games as senior development manager overseeing the Burnout franchise. Her stellar career didn’t end there. She co-founded Media Molecule, whose debut game, LittleBigPlanet, was an international success. LittleBigPlanet went on to win the most coveted award of them all: Best British Game, as voted for from our 30Years of Play Twitter tournament!
Another alumnus of Abertay University, Jude came into contact with two coders and a behavioural scientist whilst studying on her course. The trio at the time were creating games for corporate team building, and Jude joined them to establish their own company which continued this idea, TLPD. Inspired by the ‘games for good’ concept, Jude later founded Playmob, a platform which facilitates collaboration between brands and charities, raising money for the latter. Playmob has generated over 1.5million pounds for charities so far, and truly has helped unlock the potential to cause impact in games.
Chipzel is credited as one of the pioneers of an emerging musical genre - chiptune music. Inspired by the 8bit beeps and clicks of retro video games, Chipzel first cut her teeth on the genre through growing sites such as 8BitCollective and 8BitPeoples, using a Nintendo Game Boy to create music that she would then upload online for feedback. Within a year, she was performing in other countries and she released her first full album in 2010. She was only 18 at the time. Chipzel now continues to create her trademark tunes alongside composing for video games, including Super Hexagon (nominated for a BAFTA in 2013).
Keza is a well-known in the realm of video games journalism and beyond, having written for Eurogamer, the Observer, Edge, and Kotaku UK (which she founded in 2014). Her career started out when she was only 16 and was followed by a degree in Japanese and German, and a Masters in comparative literature. After her studies, she returned to video game journalism, and her whirlwind climb up the career lander now sees her in a coveted position of games editor at the Guardian.
Interested in reading more about their stories and many, many more? Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play by Meagan Marie is available now.