Andrew Crawshaw is a Bafta award-winning creative director and Director of Thunkd. He has a passion for supporting developers to grow and create new games. So much so that in 2011 he founded GaMaYo which is now described as the largest and friendliest game developer network in The North. He has been a regular attendee at Game Republic events since 2003, when he attended the first ever GR event. Since passing the now 1000+ GaMaYo network to Game Republic, he now runs Leeds Games Toast for a “chilled meet and mingle” in a pub. Of course, that network is now growing thanks to his incredible ability to help people passionate about games like him. Games companies in Yorkshire know that Andrew has played a part in many of their journeys from idea to major hits. Nothing makes him happier than seeing the success that comes out of the get-togethers he started. He has made an incredible contribution and positive impact to our games industry.
What do you like about working in the games industry?
It’s the continuous challenge. As I work alone, I have to fix the bugs, meet the challenges to get to what I want to achieve either for my own games or for client work. Developing games is like playing games, you are constantly learning and improving – levelling up.
Over the last 5 to 10 years I have found enormous reward from people tapping me on the shoulder to say that their first break was GaMaYo, that after the first screening, they sold for millions. It’s a really nice thing to hear.
What should people know if they want to go into the games industry?
Perseverance. If you leave Uni looking for that dream job, don’t just stick with the portfolio you have, keep on learning. Don’t worry about the knock backs just keep going.
How are you influencing the industry here?
I founded GaMaYo in 2011 and we were ahead of the wave for the massive growth in indie games. It was serendipitous given the Appstore was taking off and Indie Game the movie had come out, so it was not hard to find little companies to come along. It ballooned and got copied in other regions which is great. Game Republic started in 2003, and I went to the first event and carried on. Unlike many imitators, when public sector funding ran out, the network continued. Now I run Leeds Games Toast which is a lot more chilled than GaMaYo so it’s a good mix. Over the last 5-10 years I have found enormous reward from people tapping me on the shoulder to say that their first break was GaMaYo, that after the first screening, they sold for millions. It’s a really nice thing to hear.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Launching my own studio has given me so much creative freedom and control. I do my own projects and work for clients. I do art and design, but when Unreal came along it changed things so I can do so much more myself. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture won the Bafta Game Award which was very special. In the industry, I always find something I love. No matter how challenging the project, there is always a silver lining to look for to get you to love what you do.
I would like to see more companies making their own IP, IP is king. I hope to influence more of that.
What role does Game Republic play in your work?
Game Republic has been a bedrock in games development since 2003. Lots of places tried to mimic it, but when public sector funding was withdrawn, most other regions stopped doing this. Game Republic stayed afloat. I think a lot of studios would not have survived without Game Republic and it continues to bring studios together and to do a lot of flag waving for the North. It is this amazing asset for the region helping people to connect with opportunities and each other.
What makes Yorkshire and The North a good place to do business?
Lots of reasons, but a key one is that Game Republic is here and plays a pivotal role – and gives businesses a focus – a hotline to hundreds of talented developers and a wider network of publishers, platforms and investors, it gives companies such a big network to talent and skill and funding.
I want to help companies develop new and original IP. There is understandably a lot of work for hire here, but I would like to see more companies making their own IP, IP is king. I hope to influence more of that. In Thunkd I am navigating through a new project and making narrative games. I will also be continuing Leeds Games Toast, forming new connections for our industry.