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Graduates bring games to life with LEGO

February 13th, 2018 | by Gerry Hart
Graduates bring games to life with LEGO
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In what is often perceived as a male dominated industry, a group of all female Newcastle University Graduates have recently been employed by video game developer TT Games.

Nina Campbell, Ruth Caulcott-Cooper and Aishling Mulhern signed on to the Bolton based developer in March 2016, April 2017 and August 2016 respectively.

A subsidiary of Warner Brothers Interactive, TT Games is known for developing several licensed LEGO themed games, including LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game.

“I started a career in gaming firstly because I really enjoyed playing videogames, and have done so since a very young age” said Ruth Caulcott-Cooper, 22.

“Secondly because it was a unique challenge that no one in my social circles or at my all-girls school took interest in.”

In addition to TT Games, the North of England is home to a number of other notable game developers. These include the Liverpool based developers of Driveclub Evolution Studios as well as the Newcastle based Ubisoft Reflections, whose 2015 title Grow Home received praise from numerous outlets including Eurogamer and Destructoid.

The video game industry is often seen as a hostile environment for women. In 2014, the Gamergate movement, ostensibly predicated on promoting ethical video game journalism, saw multiple female game critics and developers harrassed online.

Game development is a male-dominated profession, with men accounting for about 79%

More recently, allegations of widespread racist and sexist behaviour at French studio

Quantic Dreams were published in French newspaper Le Monde. Studio founders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière have since denied these allegations.

Additionally, game development is more often than not a male dominated profession, with men accounting for about 79% of video game developers according to the most recent Independent Game Developers Association last year.

“Women need to publicly show their success in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry to encourage other women to pursue it, and to progress the relevance of women in STEM roles”, Cooper said.

“Many of the most talented people I studied alongside were women, and it has been such a failure that they weren’t encouraged into the Games Industry during its fledgling days”, Chris Stanforth, Head of Mechanics at TT Games also stated.

“I, and TT as a company, will do what we can to change that and our association with Newcastle has been a successful step towards that goal.”

Dr Graham Morgan, Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University School of Computing, said: “Due to the success of the students and close working links with industry partners, Newcastle enjoys a reputation for delivering high quality talent to the video games industry across many international markets.”

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