Dare Academy

We’re delighted to announce the judges who will have the difficult (yet enjoyable!) challenge of selecting Dare Academy 2023’s finalists.

Alastair Brown (2022 Head Judge)

Senior Designer (Narrative and Dialogue) @ Rebellion

After 8 years at Rebellion I am now a Senior Designer for all things Narrative & Dialogue based in our titles. A former Dare participant from the 2012 Academy, I am really looking forward to seeing what this year’s teams have created.
Alastair Brown

Nat Clayton

Level Designer @ Inkle

Nat Clayton began working in games almost a decade ago, plugging away at big name games like Alien: Isolation and Minecraft's Console Editions while still a student at Abertay. In the time since she's balanced indie development with games media, recently ending a five year career writing freelance and full time for sites like PCGamer, Waypoint and Rock Paper Shotgun. These days she's a level designer at Inkle, bringing a lifetime's experience in wandering up Scottish hillsides to make mountains in A Highland Song

Natalie Clayton

Luke Savage

Senior Academic Development Manager @ Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

Luke Savage runs PlayStation’s academic program, PlayStation First.  Which means he has a very cool job … helping students make games on PlayStation.  He’s been a strong supporter of Dare for nearly a decade now, grew up playing Manic Miner and Chuckie Egg, and is eagerly anticipating the treasures that Dare 2022 has in store.

Luke Savage

Rosie Ball

Producer @ Chucklefish

Rosie is the Producer on Witchbrook, the latest in-house game by independent games developer and publisher Chucklefish. At various times Rosie has been a Game Designer, Artist and Brand Designer at both Chucklefish and Disney Interactive in the last 10 years. She took part in Dare to be Digital herself back in 2011 where her team became the overall winners that year and went on to win the BAFTA Ones To Watch Award. She has worked on titles such as Starbound, Wargroove, and Eastward, and with IP such as Stardew Valley,  Star Wars, and Disney Junior. In 2018/9 she was named among the 100 Most Influential Women In Games and 100 Rising Stars of the UK Games Industry by gamesindustry.biz and is an active speaker in the educational sector.

Rosie Ball

Stuart Brown

Senior Software Development Consultant @ Unity

Stuart Brown is a Senior Software Development Consultant at Unity as a part of the Accelerate Solutions team, where he helps customers ship their games. Based in the UK, he's been in the games industry for over a decade in the console games space working on titles such as Sea of Thieves and Guitar Hero Live. He's worked in engine teams responsible for game performance, stability and porting to new platforms, with dips into other disciplines such as character animation, AI, and gameplay.

As a past Dare finalist he's eager to return and see what the current year has been creating.

Stuart Brown

Catalina Luca

Lead Release Quality Manager @ Unity

Currently a Lead Release Quality Manager, Catalina has been working in the Games Industry for over a decade, and for the last 5 years, as part of the Release Team at Unity. While her tech background is in quality assurance, after moving into management, she has a new found passion in building teams, mentorship, developing talent and really helping people be the best that they can be professionally.

Catalina Luca

Andrew J Smith

Managing Director @ Spilt Milk Studios

Andrew J Smith is the founder, CEO and Creative Director at Spilt Milk Studios, which has been making games independently for over 12 years. He has been making games his entire professional life, and is also a published comic book writer. Andrew also won a games-themed Bake Off with an 'Ocarina of Key Lime Pie', and is more proud of this than he should be.

Andrew Smith

Jess Hider

Senior Designer @ Rare

Jess is focused on reimagining what gaming could be through restorative design. Having worked on a number of award-winning games and in a variety of roles across the industry, her adventures have led her to the magical world of Rare, as a Senior Designer. When taking a quiet moment to breathe on this journey, Jess is exploring how we can practice meditation, mindfulness, and self-care through video games, and is deeply supportive of the cozy games movement.

Jess Hider

Will Freeman

Freelance Games Journalist

Will is a freelance video game journalist, copywriter, editor, author and event curator who writes for and about games and the game industry. His work has seen him serve publications and organisations such as The Guardian, Edge, Eurogamer, BAFTA, the BBC, Ukie, Vice, NME, GamesIndustry.biz and PC Gamer for over 17 years. Will has also been involved in numerous game jams, game events, and game industry initiatives, and has a passion for exploring game’s intersection with the wider landscape of popular culture and society. A devoted arcade gamer with a soft spot for gaming’s past, Will also has far too many hobbies, and spends more time with a yo-yo than any 42-year-old should.


Will Freeman

Pause carousel

Play carousel