Sumo Digital speakers confirmed for Develop: Brighton 2024

2nd Jul 2024 Events News

Talented teams from across Sumo are headed to Develop: Brighton this summer to deliver talks onto into projects, discipline deep-dives, initiatives and more.

Here, our 2024 Develop: Brighton speakers give an insight into their sessions, and share their highlights for this year’s event:


Hot on the fleshy heels of the release of Still Wakes the Deep in mid-June, some of the development team from The Chinese Room will be sitting down with Alex Spencer – Games Editor at EDGE Magazine.

The terrifying trio of Laura Dodds (Associate Art Director), Daan Hendricks (Audio Director) and Louis Larsson-De Wet (Project Technical Director) will be talking atmosphere, authenticity and auric unknowns created for narrative-horror title, Still Wakes the Deep.

A Very British Horror Story: The Making of Still Wakes the Deep is taking place on Wednesday 10th July at 2pm – 2.45pm in Room 1. Join in if you dare! You can seek out more information here:

A gloomy sky looms over a control tower on an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea. At the bottom of a flight of metal stairs are live wires emitting sparks.
[Go behind the scenes of the Beira D Oil Rig with two talks exploring the making of Still Wakes the Deep.]


Can’t get enough of isolated Scottish horror? The Chinese Room’s Project Technical Director Louis Larsson-De Wet will be talking about creating entities unknown in Still Wakes the Deep.

In the game, players come face-to-face with an unknowable horror which has come aboard an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea. This duality of enemies creates intense gameplay which keeps players guessing and, on their toes, and Louis will be sharing how the mechanics for each were created and implemented for realistic, fluid and complex movement. Attendees will also gain some tips and techniques for using Niagara Systems and Control Rig in Unreal Engine 5.

On taking part in this year’s Develop: Brighton, Louis said: “Every year, it’s great to see Brighton become the hub for the games industry and become packed with people who live and breathe games. The city always has a great atmosphere and very friendly vibe during the conference, and I look forward to seeing the industry come together.”

Prepare to be scared. Still Wakes the Deep: Tentacles and Water will take over on Wednesday 10th  July at 5pm – 5.45pm in Room 3. More information can be found here:

Louis Larsson-De Wet speaking at a conference. The photo is taken from the crowd and he is lit by a spotlight.
[Louis Larsson-De Wet speaking at SDC2023]


Not to be missed this year is Sumo Group’s Head of Inclusion & Belonging, Leon Hijazi-Killin’s talk on the shifting landscape of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts and investments and the true cost of not investing in your people.

In the session, Leon will discuss how the priorities of newly emerging talent in the job market are evolving to focus on emotional and psychology safety, and whether inclusive practices are really ‘too expensive’ for businesses.

Attendees will gain an understanding of the true value of inclusive practices and how creating these environments can pay dividends in products, reputation and talent in the future.

On attending Develop: Brighton, Leon said: “The games industry is experiencing a very strange time but I’m looking forward to getting to touch base with some of the incredible people that we have working in games, at a time when connections and community and more important than ever. I love getting the opportunity to meet with people, hear what they’re doing at their studios/organisations to try and improve things for their people, what challenges they’ve faces, how they overcame them and the things that have and haven’t worked.

“The conversations I have at Develop: Brighton are unrivalled in terms of honesty, creative thinking and looking into the future of the industry… plus I always look forward to dodging a dive-bombing seagull or two!”

You can catch You’re Expensive for Just Dealing with Pronouns and Wokeness: The Real Cost of Workplace Inclusion on Tuesday the 9th of July at 11am – 11.45am in Room 3. More information can be found here:


Head of UI/UX at Atomhawk, Leanne Bayley, will be joining in the vitally important conversation around tackling child protection in gaming, and how developers can make informed decisions when it comes to the safety of children.

Hosted by the NSPCC’s Lewis Procter, this session will discuss everything from the content and messaging of games and their impact on children, to sibling rivalries that can emerge, and explore some of the experiences children face in online worlds, navigating the world of age ratings and parental controls and more.

On attending Develop: Brighton, Leanne said: “Develop is always such an inspiring event and a great opportunity to recharge your creative batteries! I’m looking forward to catching up with games industry colleagues both old and new… and getting a Pompoko lunch!”

Don’t miss Putting Children First: Tackling Child Protection in Gaming on Tuesday the 9th of July at 3pm – 3.45pm in Room 5. More information on the talk and its panellists can be found here:

Terry Goodwin holds a microphone and is speaking. The photo is taken from the crowd and they are in neutral lighting and looking to the side.
[Lab42 Studio Director Terry Goodwin]


Lab42 will see two of its team take to the stage this July as Studio Director Terry Goodwin and Office Administrator Cindy Archer will be discussing how to best support neurodivergent team members. So, whether you identify as neurodivergent, have neurodivergent folks in your team or circle, or are just curious about the world of neurodiversity, this talk will have something for you.

Despite the games industry having a far higher average of neurodiverse workers, support for ADHD, Autistic, Dyslexic or Dyspraxic colleagues is still lacking and the subject of neurodiversity can still be taboo. This session will aim to educate around neurodivergence at work, and offer practical suggestions of changes you can make in your studio to support your team!

As Lab42’s Neurodiversity Champion, Cindy is always looking for new ways to create changes and accommodations that can have a huge impact.

On being a part of this year’s Develop: Brighton agenda, Cindy said: “We’re looking forward to sharing Lab42’s experience of making changes in studio to get the best out of our neurodivergent team members. I’m looking forward to attending the Safe In Our World ‘Chari-tea’ to network, and learn more about neurodivergence and mental health.”

Dropping the Mask: Neuro-Inclusion for Wellbeing, Productivity and Staff Retention is taking place on Thursday the 11th of July at 4pm – 4.45pm in Room 2. More information can be found here:

Nina Klos speaking at a conference. She is stood behind a lectern and speaking.
[Nina Klos delivering a talk at SDC2023]


Curious about Technical Art? This talk is for you! Sumo Leamington’s Technical Artist Nina Klos will be sharing insights into Tech Art as a discipline, its history within the games industry, examples of the work of a Technical Artist and what you need for top-tier tech art.

No stranger to public speaking, Nina has also spoken at events including SDC and the Women in Games Careers Expo and hopes that people take away from her session a solid understanding of the importance of technical artists within a development team, the skills needed for a role in tech art and approaching problems from a tech art perspective.

She hopes that her talk will inspire and educate the next generation of game development talent, that people will gain a deeper understanding of the work and value of Technical Artists and will be able to cultivate a problem-solver mindset.

On attending Develop: Brighton this year, Nina said: “I’m looking forward to meeting developer friends from other studios, and giving out my handmade fish stickers – which is something I enjoy doing at every event I attend as it gives me purpose to talk to people I usually wouldn’t talk to. You only get a couple of days a year to meet the wider industry, so you have to make the best of it!”

A Deep Dive into Technical Art will take place on Thursday the 11th of July at 11.15am – 12.00pm in Room 2. More information can be found here:

Finally, we will also have panellists on Community Crisis, What’s Your Issue? Community Manager Roundtable being held on Tuesday 9th of July at 2pm – 2.45pm in Room 5 and the LGBTQIA+ Roundtable which takes place on Wednesday 10th July at 2pm – 2.45pm in Room 5.

Held annually, Develop: Brighton is one of the biggest conference, networking and expo events for the UK’s video game industry, and brings together developers from all over the world to share their knowledge, inspire creativity and receive practical tips and tricks.

Headed to Brighton this month? Come say hi to our Business Development team who will be around for the entire week for meetups, networking… and probably an ice cream or two.

2nd July 2024 Events News