Epic Games and Wellcome Announce ‘Developing Beyond’ Competition

By Daniel Kayser

Epic Games and Wellcome are inviting games developers based in Europe to participate in the new $500,000 year-long development competition Developing Beyond. Using Unreal Engine 4, which is available for free download, developers are challenged to submit compelling, immersive and highly entertaining game ideas based on the theme of Transformations by February 10, 2017.

Mike Gamble, European Territory Manager at Epic, commented: “This is a significant commitment and a great opportunity for studios. Taking a leap into the unknown on new IP takes courage but can be highly rewarding both creatively and commercially. With Developing Beyond we want to share some of that risk, helping participants to create the best possible minimum viable product and giving them a chance to win the competition.”

The full jury, which includes development legend John Romero, will be revealed on February 20 together with the list of six semi-finalist projects.

During the initial filtering stage the judges will be looking for a combination of raw ideas and technical smarts. “Part of the pitch is that we require a team bio, so we’re looking to identify teams who are capable of delivering on their proposal and we’ll also be looking at their skillsets and experience,” said Gamble.

“The bar is not low, the ability to plan and deliver a product based on a theme, using Unreal Engine, is not insignificant. But of course the pitch itself, the game idea, has to be entertaining and it has to fit the scientific ideas, there are a number of tick boxes there.”


Epic’s Mike Gamble, comedian Susan Calman, and Wellcome’s Iain Dodgeon


A high-profile panel of judges, chaired by comedian and broadcaster Susan Calman, will follow the development of projects through the Developing Beyond competition which is designed to provide a sustainable platform for studios to create a minimum viable product (MVP) of their title over the course of the year.

On February 20, 2017 six semi-finalists will be announced. At that time each will receive $15,000 and work with a scientist to develop their concept further.

In July 2017 the progress of the six projects will be judged at Develop:Brighton where three finalist teams will be selected to go through to the final round, each receiving $60,000.

The winning team will be awarded $150,000 in January 2018. Second place will be awarded $50,000 and third place will be awarded $30,000.

The Developing Beyond competition seeks games ideas inspired by the theme Transformations. The submissions should draw inspiration from any aspect of this theme exploring the human condition – whether across moments or generations, microscopic or global, historical, geographic or indeed contemporary. Human bodies and populations across the world are constantly changing and with this comes new opportunities, unforeseen journeys and incredible challenges; from the consequences of a global shift towards urban living, to technological innovations revolutionizing lives and even bacteria outwitting the best antibiotics.

Chair of the judging panel, Susan Calman said: “Games have always been a passion of mine. They entertain and consume you like nothing else. Getting to look inside developers’ heads for year is an absolute dream; I can’t wait to get started!”

Iain Dodgeon, who leads broadcast, games and film work at Wellcome, said: “We’re very excited about Developing Beyond, enabling new creative collaborations between the worlds of interactive entertainment and science. With so many ways to draw inspiration from the theme, we’re looking forward to seeing where developers’ imaginations take it.”

This is the third collaboration between Epic Games and Wellcome having previously undertaken Make Something Unreal Live and The Big Data VR Challenge.

The deadline for applications is February 10, 2017. For more information on how to apply, visit the Developing Beyond website: www.developingbeyond.com

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