NZGDC 2021 Talk Submissions are now open from 6th April 2021 until 31st May 2021!

This year’s theme is ADAPTABILITY.

New Zealand has proven itself to be incredibly resilient in the face of a global challenge, and our community of game developers is no different. While there have certainly been ups and downs – and there is much work still to be done – we want to celebrate all of the ways, means, and methods that our community has used to adapt to this ever-changing world. Please share with us your stories of adaptability and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. 

NZGDC 2021 will be run over multiple days with the Main Conference taking place on the 4-6th August 2021 in Wellington at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand. The first day will be focusing on workshops with the two remaining days focusing on conference talks. There will also be a separate student focused day on 7th August 2021 for Student Day being held at Massey University.

We will be running multiple talks simultaneously throughout each conference day from a selection of different streams.

Talk Streams for 2021 will include:

  • Art
  • Audio
  • Business, Marketing and Production
  • Culture
  • Game Design
  • Programming and QA
  • Realities
  • Serious and Educational Games
  • Story and Narrative
  • Virtual Production

Talks have the option of either being 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 60 minutes with the option for questions at the end of the presentation. Accepted speakers will receive a free full pass to NZGDC 2021.

The deadline for talk and panel submissions is May 31st, 2021!

What are we looking for?

NZGDC aims to provide informational and inspiring talks that teach others about the game development industry. There are no predetermined topics – we invite you to share your experience and expertise around what the industry needs most! 

Here are some other things we consider when evaluating talk topics and designs:

  • Unique takes on topics you’re really passionate about
  • Diverse backgrounds such as age, gender, beliefs, working with a disability and more. Let us know what makes you YOU!
  • A spirit of dedication and drive that supports the industry and the wider game development community
  • Talks that give people practical knowledge or new techniques that they can try out in their own environment

The main conference event is geared towards professional game developers who may already be involved in the game development industry. The student day is geared towards game developers ‘in the making’ – whether that’s recent graduates or career professionals in other industries looking to build practical skills before making the move to game development – so we will be welcoming talks from all experience levels. If we feel that your talk could be beneficial to both events we may approach you about your interest in speaking at both! 

Our Student Day will be aimed at having talks that are aimed towards our game developers in the making so we will be welcoming talks from all experience levels. If we feel that your talk could be beneficial to both events we may approach you about your interest in speaking at both!


If you have a group of people who would like to get together to give a panel we will also be opening submissions for these. These can range from a series of microtalks where each panelist gives a small but impactful mini-talk on a similar topic or having a moderator presenting the panel with focused questions to answer as a group. If you have any questions on panels or need some help finding any extra people to fill in the panel feel free to ask the NZGDA. We can also help organize a moderator for panels if needed.

Examples of potential panels:

  • A group of discipline experts giving small microtalks on practical tricks they have picked up over the years
  • A group talking about a situation that cause them to have to adapt and the results of adapting
  •  A game team doing a post mortem on their recent release

. The deadline for talk and panel submissions is May 31st, 2021!

want to speak But won’t be in New Zealand?

No sweat! We will be opening up submissions for remote presentations along with traditional in-person presentations for consideration. 

We unfortunately are unable to fly in any speakers from overseas this year due to border restrictions, but we still want to find a way for the international community and oversea kiwis to participate this year.

To do this we will use a live stream for our digital speakers to present to our live audience at the conference. At the end of the talk, we can then allow for the audience to ask questions. 

The conference will take place roughly between 8am-6pm on the 4-6th of August NZST (GMT+12). Be sure to check in with your own timezone and let us know if particular times work best for you and we will do our best to accommodate these in our schedule.

We are still working out the details for this service in the background but if you have any questions about being a digital speaker please do not hesitate to contact us at

Special Covid Note

This year as a precaution for Covid we are asking that all selected speakers provide a pre-recorded version of their talk prior to the conference as a precaution for rapidly changing circumstances. These could include a city/national lockdown, altered personal circumstances, travel difficulties, technical difficulties (if you’re overseas), or even if you start to feel unwell after you arrive in Wellington. 

Our number one goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy, so we will manage the health risks as best as we can this year, and we want to maximize ways that will  allow everyone to show off all the hard work that goes into presenting at NZGDC!

A comprehensive covid preparedness plan and policy will be put in place before and during the event.

© 2022 New Zealand Game Developers Association