ONES TO WATCH
Meet UK gaming’s star players
Say hello to five creatives making great British games.
The UK is home to some of the finest creative minds on Planet Games, so we’re peeking behind the curtain to meet the people making the titles we love.
And be sure to check out their sterling work by downloading their games, below each profile – there’s something here for everyone.
Composer Eli Rainsberry has quickly carved out a games career that has seen them provide music and sound for some of the App Store’s most beloved cult games – and it’s really just the beginning.
Rainsberry is most comfortable on the guitar, and once saw a possible future in being a session musician.
But following a work placement at BAFTA during their music degree, Rainsberry met several folks from the indie-games scene, one of whom needed a sound person for their new game, Wilmot’s Warehouse.
From that big break came further audio work on indie darlings A Monster’s Expedition, Bird Alone and If Found.
But that work on Wilmot’s Warehouse arguably remains Rainsberry’s finest hour so far – a soundtrack full of busy yet gently soothing electronica that suits a game about tidying up and organising things perfectly.
Once upon a time, Jai Bunnag was destined to be an architect – but once he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, he realised he was “done with physical space”, as he puts it.
He thought virtual spaces had much more potential, so he went to study Games at the London College of Communication, met his business partner and set up Finifugu Games.
After a year of experimentation – and a lot of rejection – Bunnag committed to what became Finifugu’s debut game: frantic chef-romp Too Many Cooks, released in March 2020.
That led to second project Otter Ocean, a pet-collecting game with the very same quick, cute, cartoony sense of fun.
Otter Ocean - Treasure Hunt
Collect cute otter family!
A globetrotting 15-year career in the industry marks Feria-Padua out as a real unsung hero in game development. Until now, that is.
Having launched multiple games for a publisher in the Philippines, she moved to Singapore to help launch cyberpunk-y online game Otherland, then headed to the UK to join Old School RuneScape creator Jagex.
After that, it was off to Ubisoft in Canada to work on major franchises such as Far Cry and Rainbow Six, before returning to the UK to help run big-name puzzlers Farm Heroes Saga and Farm Heroes Super Saga at Candy Crush maker King.
Today, she’s leading product management at innovative interactive-TV developer Playdeo, creator of Avo and Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt. Having refreshed and revamped the latter game in early 2021, Feria-Padua is now beavering away on what she describes as a “new live-action interactive educational project”.
Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt
Restore magical artefacts
When childhood friends Max St Hill and Taylor Campbell met Yasin Ali at college, they clicked immediately over a shared love of games – and realised that between them they had the skills to make their own.
In 2015 they formed indie studio Orthors, and after an experimental debut game – mostly to prove to themselves that they could make and release a game on the App Store – came arcade-shooter Dodgecrafts, released in October 2019. A refined and improved second season of the game was released in September 2020.
Next, it’s what the team consider their magnum opus: a stealth game about the Black experience and changing perspectives that’s set to drop in late 2021 or early 2022.
Thrilling Arcade Shooter
Fresh out of university with an illustration and animation degree, Catherine Unger could easily have gone straight into the animation industry. But she didn’t.
“At the time I left uni, there was a real boom in mobile gaming,” Unger tells us. “Because of that, a lot of 2D art styles came back, which meant that there was an opening for me.”
It began when university friend Adam Vian asked her to create background art for his company’s debut game, Detective Grimoire, which led to a role at London game studio Preloaded.
After going freelance, the opportunities really came rolling in: Unger estimates she has worked on over 15 indie games, including App Store faves Haunt the House: Terrortown, Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows and South of the Circle.
Her latest, Tangle Tower, is the one over which she has had the most creative control as both artist and co-writer. It’s a wonderful Apple Arcade murder-mystery adventure with charming artwork, lush animation and character-packed dialogue.