Meet the newest gaming superstars

These talents are our 2024 Ones to Watch.

The UK has produced some of the most iconic games of all time. As we celebrate London Games Festival, which honours home-grown games and talent, we’re spotlighting five standout individuals working on remarkable, creative games projects.

V Buckenham, founder of Downpour

V Buckenham is the maker of game-creation tool Downpour.

V Buckenham has worked on all kinds of games: physical installations, indie games, board games and projects at Niantic (the maker of Pokémon GO). Her latest project takes her back to her indie roots – Downpour is an innovative tool to make games, websites, art and more.

Buckenham handles everything from coding to design to marketing for Downpour, but her favourite part is seeing the delight players have for their own creations. “Just seeing people really into their specific thing, nerding out about it and wanting to share it with other people… that’s what life’s about! And I get to help make that happen,” she says.

Make a game about anything with Downpour’s quick tools.

Keiichi Matsuda, director at Liquid City

Keiichi Matsuda founded Liquid City, which specialises in XR and AI projects.

Keiichi Matsuda’s background in architecture paved the way for a career focused on spatial computing and AI. After working in creative roles in various tech companies, he founded Liquid City, which produces concept films, prototypes and games to envision our future relationship with technology. The newest of these are Overbeast for iPhone and Wisp for Apple Vision Pro, which has mystical creatures mixed into reality.

Matsuda finds inspiration in AI’s rapid progress and the creative challenges it brings: “There is always inspiration everywhere, and never enough time to do everything we want,” he tells us. “Because these technologies are so powerful, it’s also really important that the industry approaches their development in a way that respects people, and harmoniously integrates with their lives.”

Battles in Overbeast take over the entire city.

Beatka Wójciak, founder of Chaos Cookie

Beatka Wójciak developed the endlessly cute game Squarelets.

The colourful new puzzle game Squarelets was initially developed by Beatka Wójciak as a side project but has since become her sole focus, with the team expanding to five people.

Wójciak, who has a background and master’s degree in computer science, handles various aspects of game development, from coding to marketing, and is guided by a love of blending art and engineering. “For a long time, I thought you would have to choose a path in either art or science. And then I discovered that games are the perfect connection of the two, and that science is art,” she says. “Now I get to mix the two areas I love most in an interactive way, designing something beautiful and fun, but also useful.”

Relax with cosy puzzles in Squarelets.

Jade Ostle, game designer at Trailmix

Jade Ostle works on the popular merge game Love & Pies.

Working as a game designer on the delightful Love & Pies, Jade Ostle describes her role as “the glue that sticks everything together”, working alongside a range of different teams to keep players engaged and happy.

With a lifelong passion for games, Ostle studied games design at university and worked at King (maker of Candy Crush) before moving to level designer at Trailmix, where she learned to help create engaging and memorable experiences for players.

Ostle finds fulfilment in the potential games have to positively impact lives: “I want to create games that make people laugh, cry, connect with their loved ones on a deeper level, find what they're passionate about and encourage them to be kinder to themselves and the planet,” she shares. “That's what I love about my job and making games – that I possess the means to change the world.”

Love & Pies mixes moreish merge puzzles with a heart-wrenching story.

Romario Lourenço, co-founder and CEO of Decibel

Romario Lourenço focuses on immersive audio experiences in games.

Romario Lourenço is behind the trivia game Truuu, which is played with your voice. His journey from product design to gaming was driven by a passion for technology, creativity and crafting joyful experiences. Transitioning into the games industry allowed him to craft auditory adventures at Decibel, exploring the potential of audio in gaming. Lourenço’s current role involves shaping the company’s vision, delving into game development and overseeing operations.

He tells us, “The ability to craft worlds, evoke emotions and spark joy is unparalleled in any other industry I’ve worked in before. I find joy in the creative process, but what I cherish most is the impact our audio games have on players in those tiny moments throughout their day.”

Test your knowledge in Truuu’s audio trivia challenges.

Read more about the London Games Festival