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News Staffs games graduates race to BAFTA success

The graduates helped to make the winner of Best British Game

Aaron Smith, Peter Scorige and Dr Chris McCreadie with the BAFTA
Image: Aaron Smith, Peter Scorige and Dr Chris McCreadie with the BAFTA

It is going to be hard to top winning a BAFTA for the first game we worked on outside of uni!

Aaron Smith, Playground Games

Games graduates from Staffordshire University are celebrating a significant win at the most prestigious global awards for computer games just two years after qualifying.

Aaron Smith and Peter Scorgie are part of the team behind the popular car racing game Forza Horizon 4 which has won Best British Game at the BAFTA Games Awards 2019.

The pair met while studying BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming at Staffordshire University and were snapped up by Leamington Spa-based company Playground Games when they graduated in 2017.

“Our lecturer Paul Roberts arranged for a whole bunch of games companies to come in and do interviews with us in our final year. Peter and I were lucky to be shortlisted as outstanding and managed to get jobs with Playground Games.” Aaron explained.

Peter added: “During the three years at uni we had chance to build up a really strong portfolio which I think helped us in the interviews. The course also gave us a real grounding in all the basics which helped when we started our jobs.”

Aaron and Peter joined the Playground Games as Forza Horizon 4 went into production and worked as Gameplay Engineers on the project. Lecturer Dr Chris McCreadie also made the move from Staffordshire University at the same time and worked as a Build Engineer for the game.

Chris was a key member of the team that developed Staffordshire University’s BSc (Hons) Games Programming and BSc (Hons) Games Development awards.

He said: “Aaron and Peter only had two weeks training before starting work on Forza Horizon 4. This shows that the knowledge and skills provided by Staffordshire University really prepares graduates to go straight into working with an established company.

“We really didn’t expect to win the BAFTA but it is amazing! There’s over 100 people who helped create the game and this is testament to all of their hard work.”

The annual BAFTA Games Awards recognise the best computer games from the year and Forza Horizon 4 beat off strong competition from the likes of Red Redemption 2.

Aaron said: “It is going to be hard to top winning a BAFTA for the first game we worked on outside of uni! The team at Playground have developed and worked on the Forza Horizon franchise from the beginning and this award is the culmination of that journey. We are really lucky to have benefited from their experience.”

Staffordshire University is a UK leader in computer games courses and recently launched the Digital Institute London which will deliver degrees in the latest tech industries from September.

Paul Roberts, Course Leader for Computer Games Programming, said: “Playground Games have been a huge part of the in-house interview process that we’ve run for the past three years and they recruit some of our best students.

“It is great to see Aaron and Pete working on the very best AAA games out there and receiving the recognition they deserve from BAFTA. It is also great to see that Chris is at the heart of Playground Games too - we are still teaching Chris’ content on the course and this shows just how cutting edge his expertise is.”

Discover more about studying at Staffordshire University at an Open Day – find more information and book a place here.

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