[This Press Release has been provided by Screen Australia and is presented by the GOA team for your information]
The Minister for the Arts, the Hon Tony Burke MP, together with Screen Australia is pleased to announce the 31 Australian games supported through the Games: Expansion Pack fund. Due to the incredible quality and depth of the applications, the $3 million fund announced in March this year was expanded to supply over $4 million to games spanning genres including action, adventure, puzzle, arcade, building, roleplaying and more.
The Minister for the Arts, the Hon Tony Burke MP said, “The Australian Government is committed to supporting the Australian digital games sector – to create, innovate and flourish and achieve its full potential.”
Screen Australia’s Head of Online, Lee Naimo said, “We were blown away by the number of outstanding applications which have demonstrated the wealth of talented creatives and original ideas that are coming out of the Australian games sector. We’re excited to be back in this space and supporting Australian developers to continue to create distinctive games that find traction here and around the world, and help strengthen the local workforce.”
“These games are artistic, educational, inspiring and fun projects, and we’re pleased to have been able to support even more projects than we anticipated. It’s fantastic to have such a wide mix from all around the country.”
Targeted at emerging or small to medium independent game studios, the Games: Expansion Pack initiative provides direct funding for original games with budgets below $500,000. The fund will reopen for applications in September 2022.
The projects receiving funding include:
- Bits & Bops (NSW): A collection of over 20 original rhythm mini-games filled with catchy music, snappy gameplay and hand-drawn animation. Bits & Bops is created by Tempo Lab Games, which includes Managing Director Evan Andrews, Art Director Rose Hammer and composer Julian Sanchez.
- Bosswords (VIC): A grandiloquent word game for logophiles from PlayReactive where players must quickly find a word that contains a given set of letters. This may seem easy, but try ‘Q R T K’ and it becomes decidedly tricky (answer: earthquake!).
- Earthlingo (WA): A language-learning role-playing game where players take on the role of an alien exploring Earth and learning local languages. Players use vocabulary skills to battle evil robots and save the humans of Earth. The Earthlingo creative team is helmed by Lead Developer Raymond Corrigan and Project Manager Zilin Su.
- Enchantress (VIC): A visual novel where players play as a young jeweller who has the ability to imbue her creations with her customer’s emotions. The player is invited to navigate a story that explores themes of grief and emotional regulation through a thought-provoking, fantasy lens. The creative team, Cactus Jam Games, includes Creative Director Nidula Geeganage, Art Director Julia Ye, Lead Programmer Audrey Castillo and Artist Friyana Madon.
- Fox and Shadow (SA): A deck-building game set in a retro-futuristic world where AI has taken over, forcing humanity underground. To survive, humans must pilot drones to salvage materials from the world above. The creative team, Paper Cactus Games, includes Producer Leo Cheung, Lead Programmer Jackson Michael and Lead Designer Sapphire Van Veen.
- Future Folklore (VIC): A building/crafting game with a uniquely Indigenous lens that invites players to restore the bush and care for Country, in a futuristic fantasy setting inspired by the Australian bush. The creative team, Guck, features Game Director Hayley Percy Joyce, Art Director Jarra Karalinar Steel, Lead Designer Phoebe Watson, Producer Ripley Kavara, Lead Developer Daniel Dang, Lead Artist Charlotte Allingham, Managing Director Kati Elizabeth, Composer Robert Champion and Community Manager Matthew Ngamurarri Heffernan. This project has also received support from VicScreen.
- Leonardo’s Moon Ship (TAS): A narrative adventure game set in Renaissance Florence, where famed inventor Leonardo da Vinci is the talk of the town. But when a mysterious message calls to Da Vinci, he finds himself torn between the love of his fans, the wrath of his enemies, and his boundless desire to learn more. Featuring hand animation, players will make friends and enemies, solve puzzles, and talk their way out of all sorts of scrapes. This game is a collaboration between Secret Lab, including Creative Director Jon Manning, Producer Paris Buttfield-Addison, and Writer and Animator Jim Capobianco.
- Moonlight In Garland (VIC): An open-ended life simulation game created by solo Developer Violet LeBeaux. Inspired by LeBeaux’s own experience of moving to Melbourne, this game is about finding your feet in the big city. Players can decorate their apartment, make new friends, grow lots of houseplants and enjoy their newfound city life. Moonlight in Garland has also received support from VicScreen.
- Servonauts (QLD): A casual, multiplayer puzzle game from Maxart where players take on the role of a goofy ‘Servonaut’ in an intergalactic petrol station, and need to manage chaotic pipes to provide fuel, air and snacks to customers. The team includes Creative Director Thomas MacNamara, Lead Artist Johan Becconsall, Producer Tom Smeltzer and Managing Director Peter Clowes.
- Totem Teller (VIC): A pensive and deeply philosophical game that charges the player to reflect on their own past and how history shapes us as humans. Classic, ‘source’ folktales are retold through exploration, poetry, dialogue and a highly distinctive glitch-art style. The team, Grinning Pickle, includes Creative Director Ben Kerslake, Lead Programmer Jerry Verhoeven and Writer and Narrative Designer Alexander Swords. This project has also received support from VicScreen.
For the full list of funded projects, please see the Games blocklines here.