Screen Australia Funds 11 Local Video Games with over $1.5M
Screen Australia, the Australian Government’s funding body for the screen production industry, has just announced that they will be giving over $1.5 million in funding to 11 different video games. The games selected for funding cover a diverse range of genres, including VR, adventure, puzzle, platformer, horror, and rhythm.
This exciting news comes after the launch of the Federal Government’s new National Cultural Policy, Revive. This policy includes a Digital Games Tax Offset and an additional $12 million over four years from 2023-24 to support digital games developers and small and medium independent games studios through Screen Australia.
CEO of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason, expressed his enthusiasm about the announcement: “There are huge opportunities for growth in the local games sector. The Government’s $12 million investment to support digital games developers and small and medium independent games studios will enable Screen Australia to support more Australian developers to create original games, build sustainable businesses and attract local and global audiences.”
Lee Naimo, Screen Australia’s Head of Online, was also excited about the range of games selected for funding: “It’s fantastic to see the ambition and skill of our local game creators, including driven first-time and solo developers, as they advance their careers.”
First Round of Funding by Screen Australia
The Games: Expansion Pack fund is targeted at emerging or small to medium independent game studios and provides direct funding for original Australian games with budgets below $500,000. The fund is open for applications on an ongoing basis until May 4th, 2023.
This announcement is great news for the Australian games industry and highlights the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of this creative and innovative sector. Screen Australia’s first round of funding distributed over $4 million to 30 Australian games and we look forward to seeing the exciting projects that will come out of this latest round of funding.
Bilkins’ Folly is a puzzle adventure game developed by Lead Developer Luke Webster of Webbysoft, where players take on the role of Percival Bilkins, a treasure hunter accompanied by his loyal canine, Drayton. Together, they embark on a quest to uncover hidden treasures and solve mysteries to unravel a family enigma. The game is supported by Armor Game Studios, and you can wishlist it on Steam here.
Call of the Golden Valley
Call of the Golden Valley is a first-person narrative adventure game developed by Creative Director Madeleine Clute of O’Saurus Studios. Players must explore Victoria’s High Country to locate a missing childhood friend, who has vanished into the bush without a trace. As they navigate the enigmatic countryside and unravel the mysteries that surround the area, they will also explore the blurred lines between fact and fiction. You can check the game out on steam here.
CONSCRIPT is an adventure survival game from Catchweight Studio and Lead Developer Jordan Mochi. Set during World War I, players take on the role of a lone French soldier who must navigate twisted trenches, scavenge for limited supplies, and solve complex puzzles while searching for their missing-in-action brother. The game is created with the assistance of VicScreen. You can check the game out on steam here.
Copycat is a narrative-driven game from Spoonful of Wonder that explores the themes of rejection, belonging, and the true meaning of home. Players take on the role of a newly adopted shelter cat who becomes the victim of an elaborate plan by a jealous, stray copycat to steal her place in the household. The game’s colourful visuals and emotive narrative take players on a journey of self-discovery. You can check the game out on steam here.
Diets and Deities
Diets and Deities is a rhythm cooking game from Larrikin Interactive where players help Deities remember their culture by cooking dishes to music. The game is set in a universe drained of its diversity, and players must prepare dishes from recipes found within the game to bring back cultural variety.
The game is created by Founder Dylan Bennett, Creative Director Miles McLoughlin, Lead Programmer Declan Smyth, Bininj Chef, language and culture consultant Ben Tyler, Composer James Mangohig, and 2D Artist Skye Lavelle. Diets and Deities doesn’t currently have a Steam page, but you can see more information on their website.
GHOST CAM is an exploratory game from creative studio ARCH REBELS, where players search for ghosts in an abandoned bedroom that unfolds into a labyrinth. As they test their ghost-finding skills, navigate eerie environments, and uncover clues, the dreamscape can twist into a nightmare.
The game is created by Lead Developer Amy Louise Doherty, Lead Programmer Miles Hansen, Sound Designer Chris Head, and Systems Designer Camille Woodthorpe. You can check the game out on steam here.
Janet DeMornay Is A Slumlord (and a witch)
Janet DeMornay Is A Slumlord (and a witch) definitely has the most unique and interesting name of the selection. It is a horror-comedy game from Fuzzy Ghost that explores the anxieties of renting in a world run by landlords.
Players must solve puzzles to try and escape their crumbling inner-city terrace house, all while avoiding the increasingly menacing behaviour of their landlord Janet, who is a witch. The game is created by founders Pete Foley and Scott Ford. You can wishlist the game on steam here.
Misc. A Tiny Tale
Misc. A Tiny Tale is a 3D platforming adventure game from Tinyware Games and Lead Developer Michael Pearce. Players join Buddy and Bag Boy, two adorable robots made of miscellaneous items, as they lend a hand to other robots, make a difference by cleaning up mess and embark on an exciting journey.
At The Game Crater, we are huge fans of this upcoming platformer. Back in June of 2021, we gave it a glowing preview, stating: “Misc. A Tiny Tale is by far one of the greatest smile-inducing titles I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing”. On top of this, we have also been fortunate to have a lovely chat with Michael Pearce on our podcast, Crater Corner.
Pasture: The Livestock Simulator is a farming simulator game from Salty Games where players experience the highs and lows of being a pastoralist in the Australian Outback. They must do battle with the weather, the markets, and Mother Nature as they build their Cattle Empire.
The game is created by Managing Director Chas Cole, Lead Programmer Luke H, and Creative Director Nathan Groves. Pasture: The Livestock Simulator doesn’t currently have a Steam page, but you can find more information here.
The Sacred Acorn
The Sacred Acorn is an adventure game from A Few Dragons. Players take on the role of Ima, a brave squirrel, as they explore the enigmatic world of Tansira. Along the way, they must solve puzzles, uncover secrets, fight off corrupt enemies, and make endearing new friends who will guide them on their journey.
The game’s creative team includes Keirron Stach as Developer, Lauren Nicholls as Art Director, and Vivian Vandal as Producer. You can check the game out on steam here.
Trash is a co-op survival craft adventure game set in E-Corp Island, a post-human world filled with unique and marvellous life forms that have evolved from trash. Players must venture through the various open-world biomes of the island, gathering materials and crafting different character forms that grant them distinct abilities to overcome environmental hazards and obstacles.
Bin Chicken Studios created the game, with Nick Margerison as Technical Director and Charlie Kenihan as Creative Director. VicScreen also provided developmental assistance. You can wishlist the game on Steam here.
The announcement by Screen Australia of over $1.5 million in funding for 11 games is exciting news for the Australian games industry, especially for emerging or small to medium independent game studios. With the Games: Expansion Pack fund open for applications until May 4th, 2023, we can expect to see even more original and innovative games coming out of Australia in the coming years. The future of the Australian games industry looks bright, and we can’t wait to see what new stories and experiences these talented developers will bring to life.