Screen Australia supports 27 Aussie games with over $1.6 million

Posted on March 21, 2024

Screen Australia has revealed that they are supporting 12 games through the Games Production Fund and 15 games through the Emerging Gamemakers Fund, to the total of over $1.6 million. On top of that, five recipients were also selected to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC) through Screen Australia’s Future Leaders Delegation, which is taking place this week.

The Games Production Fund, Emerging Gamemakers Fund and the Future Leaders Delegation was announced in October, designed to provide “Australian independent gamemakers with direct funding for original games with budgets below $500,000, support new projects from emerging gamemakers and offer additional opportunities for professional development.” This is part of an ongoing commitment of $12 million over 4 years of dedicated games funding through Screen Australia.

“Australia has a proud history of game development going right back to The Hobbit,” said Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke. “What this does is support the future of Australian game development, making sure we don’t miss out on the next Unpacking or Untitled Goose Game. Many of these games might not be set in Australia – or even on this planet – but they do show the best of Australian creativity and storytelling.”

“Australia is home to some of the world’s most talented, independent gamemakers and we’re thrilled to support this dynamic community,” said CEO of Screen Australia, Deirdre Brennan said, We’re seeing unprecedented demand for these programs, and as Screen Australia’s focus on games expands, it will allow our domestic industry to demand attention at an international level. This innovative funding support, as part of the National Cultural Policy, enables bold local-storytelling that will engage gamers around the world.”

Screen Australia - Which Way Up

Screen Australia reopened in March 2022, and its games funding has provided over $10 million in support of the local games industry, including Gubbins, Earthlingo and The Master’s Pupil.

Check out the list of supported games in the Games Production Fund below, and check out the list of games in the Emerging Gamemakers Fund here.

Ascending Inferno (ACT): A 2.5D precision platformer that blends voxel and pixel art together to reimagine Dante’s Inferno. Players follow the journey of the recently deceased Dani, and her sibling Vincent who is oddly shaped like a soccer ball. Dani must kick, header and juggle Vincent to ascend out of Inferno. The team includes the four co-founders Isaac Iozzi, Rebecca Haller-Trost, Ben Anderson and Bas Anderson, 3D artists Martin Daniel Widdowson, Ricky-Lee Huddson-Stephens and Lachlan Smith, 2D artists Chris Ottey and Fauzi Raisyuli, community manager Div Randev and composer Dan Poole.

Anvilheart (SA): In this story-driven shop management game, a vagrant’s dream of a better life is suddenly realised when they find themselves stumbling into a blacksmithing apprenticeship. As if from nowhere, they suddenly have everything they were missing – a warm home, friends and a mentor. But they soon discover this miracle is founded on a monstrous secret: the house fire which triggered it all was masterminded by a madman, who made this life for the vagrant after peering into their dreams. Anvilheart is from co-founder and creative director Sean Dee, co-founder and programmer Emma Waters, programmer Elle Valentine, character artist James Hobbs, environment artist Harry Mickan and composer John Oestmann.

Finch and Archie (WA): A co-op murder mystery where players become one half of a crime-fighting duo: Jack Finch the detective or Archie the police dog – using skills to find evidence, interrogate suspects, and catch the culprit in a gritty, noir 1930s setting. Attached are producer Dickson Dic Shen Hee, developer Aubrey Vigus, level designer Tom Lorenti, composer Harry May, writer Liz Glass and designer Rhys Veale-Chan. It is financed with support from Screenwest.

Kādomon: Hyper Auto Battlers (SA): In this auto-battle deckbuilder roguelike game, players can collect and battle over 180 unique creatures called Kādomon. They can level-up, evolve and assemble their Kādomon into the ultimate team, creating synergies to beat big bosses and discover secrets. Kādomon: Hyper Auto Battlers is from CEO/MD/founder Patrick Sigley and producer Rhiannon James.

Screen Australia, Kadamon

Lighthaze World (TAS): A story-driven puzzle game where players adopt the role of anxious Nym. Nym is on a mission to retrieve food for his pet dog Chewie at their local shopping centre, Lighthaze World. Overwhelmed by the crowd, Nym passes out and, after regaining consciousness, finds himself in a new mental realm crafted by his own mind to cope with the overwhelming reality – requiring players to complete puzzles and navigate this surreal mall to obtain the dog food. Lighthaze World is created by CEO/MD/founder Anthony Hilkmann, composer Lynden Woodiwiss and 3D artist Liam Gibbs.

Momento (QLD): A room decorator game that invites players to decorate their space and choose meaningful objects that influence the life they experience. With branching narratives, Momento will be a warm ode to the challenge of following dreams down the winding road of life. Attached are lead artist Jasmine Phillips, lead narrative Jessica Lyon and lead developer Julian Beiboer. Momento is financed with support from Screen Queensland.

Mystiques Haunted Antiques (NSW): A haunted, exploration game about four horrible women, Gem, Aspen, Winnie and Barb, who save a failing antique store by adopting a new business strategy: developing psychic powers. Financed with support from an Epic MegaGrant, it is being created by game director/writer Ally McLean, technical director Adam Matthews, art director Inge Berman, composer Sarah Wolfe, 3D artists Benjamin Retter and Robbie Archer, designer Shaun Bright and producer Nicole Archer.

My Arms Are Longer Now (VIC): A comedic stealth/narrative game where players play as a long-armed criminal mastermind. They’ll avoid security systems, decipher blueprints and seduce lonely guards — whatever it takes to pull off the perfect heist. This is Toot Games’ debut title, with lead developers Matthew Jackson (design and technical lead) and Millie Holten (art and narrative lead). Developed with the assistance of VicScreen.

Screen Australia - Winnie's Hole

Rat Trap (VIC): From lead developer Beau Whitehead, Rat Trap is a 2D hand-drawn Metroidvania adventure platformer where players adopt the character of a lab rat trying to escape captivity. On the route to escape, players fuse together a mobile mech, explore a sprawling map, complete dastardly puzzles and obtain the necessary powerups to take on the captors – in hope to escape the Rat Trap.

Squidge (QLD): A story-driven exploration game following Squidge, a captured alien who crash-landed on earth, and whose ultimate goal is to return home – rescuing his friends, finding the missing pieces of his ship and destroying the secret government laboratory along the way. Squidge is from designers Jeff van Dyck and Shaun Trainer and is financed with support from Screen Queensland.

Which Way Up: Galaxy Games (NSW): The ultimate gravity-defying party game in space – where up to four players compete in unique bite-sized events. Players can eject friends into space as they race across gravity fields, collect comets by guiding and shooting them into their home base, leap across planets to escape a black hole, and capture and hold zodiacal constellations. Which Way Up is from founder, creative director and lead programmer Nicholas Cellini, lead artist Sydney Liao, 3D artist Adam Canto Galiana and composer and sound designer Kobe Anthony (MEMODEMO).

Winnie’s Hole (VIC): In this dark comedy roguelite strategy game, players join Winnie the Pooh on a new adventure, from within – playing as a virus within his body to specialise the host, grow mutations and refine Winnie’s form to adapt for survival. Winnie’s Hole is from creative director Simon Boxer and programmer Mesut Latifoglu.