Search for a Star 2017/2018

By February 13, 2018 Industry News

Search for a Star 2017/2018

It has never been more important to nurture the next generation of games developers. Between massive skills shortages, the challenges of improving diversity, and the uncertainty of Brexit, it is imperative that we create new and better pathways into the creative industries.

This has been at the core of Aardvark Swift’s Grads in Games initiative. For nearly 10-years challenges like Search for a Star and Get in the Game careers talks have championed increased communication between universities, and studios. For students this has meant unparalleled access to expert feedback and mentoring. Improving skills and giving students a far better idea of what qualifications and experience they will need.

“For all the students involved this has become an unrivalled opportunity to get a glimpse inside the industry. Not just in terms of development cycles and deadlines; but a chance to speak to and get genuine feedback, support and insight from industry professionals.” Ian Goodall, Managing Director at Aardvark Swift.

For partnered studios (including Sumo Digital, nDreams, Playground Games, BossAlien, Red Kite Games & d3t) it has meant immediate access to some of the best talent from across Europe and an opportunity to set a real benchmark for the quality of entry level candidates.

This year’s Search for a Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star challenges have already broken records. With almost 1000 students from over 100 universities registering to take part. In part driven by Aardvark’s Get in the Game careers talks have had a particular impact on helping open students’ eyes to the demands of modern creative industries.

No small thanks is owed to lecturers, tutors and academics who have supported and encouraged students to get involved. The following Top-10 universities have contributed almost 500 entrants.

Top-10 Universities                  Number of Students

Sheffield Hallam University                               73

Staffordshire University                                     50

University of Hertfordshire                               47

Teesside University                                          44

Abertay University                                            44

ESNE Madrid                                                     42

University of Huddersfield                                41

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)             41

Newcastle University                                        40

Howest Digital Arts & Entertainment                 40

Preparations have now begun for Search for a Star Finals Day, where partnered studios take a direct role in assessing submissions. While the assessments will produce a shortlist for finals day, the feedback from professionals has already had an impact. We have seen dramatic rise in standards from initial drafts to final submissions, particularly in the character and environment art challenges.

For partner Sumo Digital, the exclusive Rising Star initiative has allowed them to hand pick a talented developer to be placed with the studio.

Some may assume that Search for a Star is a competition, but it is primarily about developing and showcasing the wealth of talent coming from Higher Education; providing forums where students, educators and industry can some together and communicate for the benefit of everyone involved. Something that will only become more important in the years to come.

Nurturing the future of the UK Games Industry has never been more important.


Further Information:
Aardvark Swift Website:
Grads in Games Website:
Search for a Star Website:
Get in the Game Careers Talk Website:
Grads in Games Partners:
About Aardvark Swift:

Aardvark Swift are an award winning, UK based recruitment agency specialising in videogames, toys and licensing. With over 25-years’ experience we not only work with top brands including Ubisoft, Riot, Sony etc. but invest in the next generation of games makers with talks, tours, workshops and initiatives like Search for a Star, Catalyst and Get in the Game.


Contact Details:
Rachel Frost

Marketing Manager


Tel: +44 (0)1709 834 777

Mob: +44(0)7807 754 552


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