Unity Technologies and Universal Games Launch Universal GameDev Challenge

Worldwide contest kicks off with sponsorship from Intel and Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO, August 10, 2018 -- In the spirit of celebrating the creativity of game development, Universal Games and Unity Technologies announce an unprecedented partnership to launch the Universal GameDev Challenge, sponsored by Intel and Microsoft. Unity developers from around the world are invited to submit a game design document and pitch video with the goal of being chosen to build a PC game leveraging one of five Universal owned intellectual properties: Back to the Future™, Jaws™, Battlestar Galactica™, DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender™ and Turok™. The winner and runner-up will take home a combined $250,000 cash prize along with a consulting contract with Microsoft, Unity and Universal. For more information or to submit a pitch, please visit https://connect.unity.com/challenges/universal.

This marks the first time that Universal is providing developers with an open invitation to create games based on some of its most popular films and television shows. Independent game developers will have a unique opportunity to work on NBCUniversal IP and share their creative vision.

“The partnership between Unity and Universal, with sponsorship from Intel and Microsoft, is the perfect blend of advanced hardware and software, combined with classic film and TV properties, which we believe will inspire our developer community to bring those brands to life in a game of their dreams,” said Kat Strafford, Vice President, Marketing at Unity Technologies. “We can’t wait to see the incredible content that comes to life from the Universal GameDev Challenge.”

“The Universal Games Dev Challenge is an entirely new approach for entertainment and media companies to work with the indie game community,” said Chris Heatherly, Executive Vice President of Games and Digital Platforms, Universal Brand Development. “The incredible properties we are showcasing in this contest are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the vast portfolio of IP we have at NBCUniversal. This is a fresh and innovative way for us to find developers who are passionate about bringing those properties to life through games.”

Last year, Universal announced a significant build-up of its games team, as well as a more active approach to game development and publishing. The Universal GameDev Challenge is one of the first of bold steps Universal is taking in the gaming industry in 2018 and beyond.

The Universal GameDev Challenge judges include:

  • Bob Gale, an Oscar®-nominated screenwriter-producer-director, best known as co-creator, co-writer and co-producer of the Back to the Future films
  • Kate Edwards, CEO and Principal Consultant at Geogrify, The Executive Director of Take This and former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
  • Lauren Montgomery, Co-executive Producer at DreamWorks TV and showrunner for DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender
  • Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer for GamesBeat


The Universal GameDev Challenge celebrates the creativity of game developers building with Unity’s real-time development platform, optimizing for the latest PCs running on Intel®-based processors. Games and experiences made with Unity have reached more than 3 billion devices worldwide in 2017 and were installed more than 20 billion times in the last 12 months.

  • March 19, 2018 - April 19, 2018: Unity developers can enter the Universal GameDev Challenge on Unity Connect. Contestants will submit a game design document and pitch video to introduce themselves and detail their vision. Entries will be evaluated on four factors: creative use of the brand, gameplay and narrative design, capability, and integration of tools.
  • May 19, 2018: Six finalists will be selected by a panel of game and brand experts. Those chosen will build their game prototype, using any one of the five Universal properties. Finalists will compete for $250,000 in cash prizes, a consulting contract, plus a three-day VIP Mentorship Summit.
  • June 4, 2018 - June 8, 2018: Two members of each of the six finalist teams will be flown to Los Angeles where they will spend three days in mentorship with Intel, Microsoft, Unity and Universal to learn from brand visionaries and sharpen their technical skills. Finalists will also get behind the scenes access to the Universal backlot and a chance to meet and greet the judges, some of whom are responsible for bringing these iconic properties to life.
  • August 15, 2018: The six finalists will submit their game prototype for final consideration.
  • October 23, 2018 - October 25, 2018: All six finalist teams will be invited to Los Angeles, where the winner will be announced at Unite Los Angeles.


For more information about participating in the Universal GameDev Challenge, or to submit a pitch, visit Unity Connect https://connect.unity.com/challenges/universal.

About Unity Technologies

Unity is the creator of the world’s most widely-used real-time 3D development platform, giving developers around the world the tools to create rich, interactive 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences. The company’s 800 person engineering team keeps Unity at the bleeding-edge of technology by working alongside partners such as Google, Facebook, Oculus and Microsoft to ensure optimized support for the latest releases and platforms. Games and experiences made with Unity have reached ~3 billion devices worldwide and were installed more than 24 billion times in the last 12 months. Unity’s renowned flexibility gives developers the power to target and optimize their creations for 25+ platforms including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Gameroom (Facebook), SteamVR (PC & Mac), Oculus, PSVR, Gear VR, HoloLens, ARKit (Apple), ARCore (Google) and more. Unity also offers solutions and services for connecting with audiences including Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, Unity Asset Store, Unity Cloud Build, Unity Collaborate, Unity Connect and Unity Certification.

For more information, visit: http://unity3d.com to see the latest games and experiences created in Unity, go to: http://madewith.unity.com.

About Universal Games and Digital Platforms

Universal’s Games and Digital Platforms group leverages the vast portfolio of IP and characters from NBCUniversal. The Games and Digital Platforms group is a business unit of Universal Brand Development, which is chartered with globally expanding the company's intellectual properties, franchises, characters and stories through innovative physical and digital products, content, and consumer experiences. The company's extensive portfolio includes properties created by Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, and NBCUniversal cable and television. Universal Brand Development (www.universalbranddevelopment.com) is a business segment of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and part of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

Back to the Future ™ & © Universal Studios and U-Drive Joint Venture. Battlestar Galactica is a copyright of Universal Cable Productions LLC. Licensed by Universal Studios 2018. Jaws, its logo and characters are trademarks and copyrights of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios. DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender © 2018 DreamWorks Animation LLC. TM World Events Productions, LLC. Turok Son of Stone TM & © 2018 by Penguin Random House, Inc. Under license to Classic Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Unity PR
Alexis McDowel, 415-988-5996
Alivia Snyder, 650-218-1185
Universal Brand Development Communications
Sunny Antonio, 818-695-3436

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