City of Helsinki
Games Helsinki is a free one-day conference for console and PC game development. This year we're meeting in Helsinki's beautiful City Hall on September 1.


Doors open
Welcome to Games Helsinki
Staying in Control - Years following the acclaimed AAA game
Juha Vainio Remedy Entertainment, Executive Producer & Head of the Control Franchise

In his talk "Keeping CONTROL" at Games Helsinki 2019, Juha talked about the challenges of a full-scale high-profile AAA production. That was about 7 months before actually shipping Control. "Staying in Control" picks up right where the 2019 talk left off, kicking off with insights on the actual shipping of the game, followed by what has happened in the Control Franchise during the years after. Juha will also highlight some of the not so obvious production tools that have been useful during and after Control.

Speaker bio: Juha Vainio is an Executive Producer and the Head of the Control Franchise at Remedy Entertainment. He has over twenty years of management experience in software development and over ten years of production experience in the games industry. As the head of the Control Franchise he is currently e.g. overseeing the development of two Control projects. On the original Control he was the Lead Producer heading the production and shipping the game. At Rovio he worked on big mobile titles such as the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars, and as the CEO of Epic Owl he shipped the still-profitable free-to-play mobile game Space Arena: Build and Fight with virtually no budget.

Indie to the Core - The Unconventional Approaches To GameDev Success
Natasha Skult MiTale, Founder & CEO

In an industry dominated by giants backed by massive investments and powerful publishers, MiTale took a bold and unconventional path in reaching successes as an independent studio. Whether you're a developer, entrepreneur, or gaming enthusiast, this talk will give you insights to unusual strategies and creative methods we took to navigate the competitive landscape in the PC games market. I wish to share the story of our growth as a studio and the scale-up approaches, with all triumphs and setbacks, carving our own unique place in the hearts of the players.

Speaker bio: Natasha Skult is the CEO & Creative Director of MiTale, a game development company from Finland focusing on narrative-driven experiences and gamification. She is an active member of the Finnish and international games industry as a Chair-Emeritus of Besides industry work, she is active in academic research on interactive storytelling with quantum computing and teaches courses in game design and game (digital) art production at University of Turku.

Lunch, sponsored by Housemarque and Epic Games
IGDA Mentor Cafe
Signup needed, expand for more info.

We wish to welcome you to the IGDA Finland Mentor Café, organized by IGDA Finland as part of the Games Helsinki Conference 2023.

At IGDA Mentor Cafés, games industry leaders will share their knowledge and expertise in short, 15 minute mentoring sessions that are relaxed and casual.

Industry leaders share valuable knowledge, skills and advice in IGDA Mentor Cafés, “giving back” to anyone in the community who is seeking mentorship. Mentees will receive valuable advice and new connections to the industry! Topics can be related to anything in the games industry.

How does it work?
Once you fill in this form as a mentor or a mentee, our team will make the best possible matches and share with you the information about the mentoring sessions and schedule by email. In the same message you will receive the information and links for attending the virtual mentor café.

More info and sign ups here for both mentors and mentees.

Breaking the Cycle: The Making of 'Returnal'
Harry Krueger Housemarque, Game Director

Housemarque is the oldest game development studio in Finland, known mostly for their fast-paced arcade-inspired shooters. With Returnal, they had a unique opportunity to take their craft to the next level and create a world-class launch title for the PS5. This retrospective-style talk will cover Housemarque's full "indie to AAA" journey of developing Returnal, from the initial concept and aspirations to its eventual critically-acclaimed release.

The talk will delve deeper into some key creative decisions and challenges the team overcame as they shot for the stars with Returnal: from transitioning their trademark neon-fused arcade action to a 3rd person experience; to building roguelite/procedurally generated worlds; to integrating a layered and haunting narrative, all for the first time, and all done while adapting to a rapidly growing team, a new platform, a relatively unfamiliar engine (Unreal 4), and in the end even shipping amidst a global pandemic.

Speaker bio: Starting his career as a gameplay coder with an undying passion for game design, Harry's appreciation of arcade games and timeless gameplay values made him a perfect fit for Housemarque. Over the last 14 years, Harry has played a central part in defining the studio's explosive, bullet-hell inspired creative identity. During that time, he has acted as Lead Programmer for the award-winning PS4 launch title Resogun, and later went on to direct its two expansions: Heroes and Defenders. He made his debut as Game Director with the explosive shooter Nex Machina, which became the studio's most critically acclaimed title to date, and the development of which was immortalized in the documentary "The Name of the Game".

Recently, Harry acted as Game Director of Returnal - Housemarque's first foray into the big leagues, and the studio's largest and most ambitious project ever. Returnal went on to receive multiple awards and 4 BAFTAs (including that of Best Game) and received widespread critical acclaim from reviews and players alike. As a result, Housemarque ended up joining the Playstation Studios family in 2021, where Harry continues to lead the studio's creative direction to this day.

10 more years of Cities?
Mariina Hallikainen Colossal Order, CEO

Cities: Skylines (2015-2023) ruled the city building genre for 8 years.

Colossal Order's CEO Mariina Hallikainen shares what it means for a company to keep working on the same product for over a decade and how the company has evolved over time.

Can Cities: Skylines II carry the torch?

Speaker bio: Mariina Hallikainen is the CEO and co-founder of Colossal Order, the developer behind the critically acclaimed citybuilder Cities: Skylines.

Honest Postmortem: A Game Studio's Journey to Redemption
Miloš Jeřábek Redhill Games, Executive Producer and Co-Founder

In this talk, Miloš will share the story of how a game studio can navigate the treacherous waters of success and failure — from launching a game to falling short of expectations and ultimately emerging triumphant through a transformative shift from IP-building to co-development.

Listen to this talk and discover how to prepare contingency plans, deliver unwelcome news, and how to lead your team through the turmoil of uncertainty and adversity.

Speaker bio: Miloš has over 15 years of experience in game development working in both creative and production roles across Europe in multicultural teams and environments on major blockbusters such as Mafia 2, World of Tanks and Quantum Break. In 2018 Milos co-founded Redhill Games, a team of seasoned industry veterans based in the heart of Helsinki, Finland. Originally working on their own shooter game, Redhill Games is now set on becoming the partner of choice for AAA developers and publishers worldwide.

Coffee break, sponsored by Epic Games and Housemarque
From Binary to Branching - How Danganronpa's Linear Storytelling Inspired a Possibility-filled VN
Joni Lappalainen Dreamloop Games, CEO

This talk is about how the linear story structure of Danganronpa - an iconic title in the visual novel/ontological mystery genre - inspired the massive task of developing a compelling narrative game with multiple paths, multiple endings, and multiple ways to explore each character in Dreamloop's upcoming social thriller, Inescapable.

Speaker bio: Joni Lappalainen is the CEO of Dreamloop Games, and an instrumental contributor to Finland's gaming and startup scene. Joni serves as the Vice President of the Finnish Game Developers Association, Vice President of Tampere Game Hub, the Chairman of the Board at Platform6, the co-founder of Tampere Startup Hub, and as a regional coordinator for IGDA Finland.

Joni is the Creative Director of Inescapable and has served as a producer for more than 30 game projects.

In his spare time, Joni relentlessly builds Finland's gaming ecosystem by mentoring young game studios and plays video games under the judgmental eyes of his cats.

Epic Games and Unreal Engine in 2023
Ari Arnbjörnsson Epic Games, Evangelist

Join Unreal Engine Evangelist Ari Arnbjörnsson for an overview of all the biggest things Epic and Unreal in 2023.

Speaker bio: Ari Arnbjörnsson is an Unreal Engine Evangelist at Epic Games. He has 15 years of varied games industry experience ranging from social, web and mobile games to console games. His latest work before joining Epic Games was as a lead programmer on Housemarque’s BAFTA-winning Returnal for PlayStation 5.

End of presentations
Official Games Helsinki afterparty, sponsored by Game Makers of Finland
At Molly Malone's upper floor. Light snacks and 1 drink (alcohol/non-alcohol) included.


We're fully booked! Thank you everyone for the immense interest in Games Helsinki 2023 ❤️

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Helsinki City Hall
Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13
00170 Helsinki, Finland


Check out the parking halls and areas around City Hall.

Accessibility and inclusivity

The location is wheelchair accessible. Alcohol-free options are available at the afterparty. Because alcohol is available at the afterparty, it is limited to 18+ only.

The organizers strive to make the event accessible and inclusive. We might not be able to accommodate everything, but we'd love to hear from you so we can improve for potential future iterations. Please don't hesitate to contact the organizers.

Code of Conduct

We expect all participants to adhere to our Code of Conduct. Organizers reserve the right to remove anyone breaking the Code of Conduct from the event.


The Team

Ari Arnbjörnsson

Main Organizer

Eevi Korhonen

Master of Ceremony

Sam Jamsen

Logo -

Casimir Kuusela


Daria Bokovaya


Tanja Heikkinen


An Phan


Shadan Hekmat


Fatemeh Amereh


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