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Five new Dunedin game development studios receive funding

(Dunedin, 15 September 2021) The New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) based in Dunedin, today announced five successful grant recipients as part of its second round of funding.

All five came under the KickStart funding stream, which welcomed applications from developers with existing skills to create functional prototype games, with the aim of raising further funding in 2022 for production and release.

The recipients are:

  • Hyporeal Ltd, led by Josiah Hunt, received $40,000 for the development of Blackheart, a 2D action-role playing game set in a dark fantasy world where the player is thrust into a world of a feuding royal family;
  • Weathership Ltd, led by Michael Lascarides, received $39,260 for the development of Robocricket 3000, a light-hearted antidote to more serious cricket games;
  • Cosmink, led by Francis Binnie, received $39,634 for the development of Solace, a time-loop narrative adventure game in which rising waters change a small world;
  • Mune Studio, led by Erekose Watson, received $39,637 for the development of Under the Tavern, a humorous ‘dungeon crawler’ game where players explore the dark, dank and barrel-filled corridors under the Tavern in a single or multiplayer co-operative experience;
  • Shoggoth Games, led by Camille Cowley, received $40,000 for the development of Zeus Faber, where players take control of a fleet of fishing vessels exploring the southern seas while skirting the shoals of financial ruin and keeping the diverse ecosystem alive.

Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins, says, “This latest round means CODE has now funded a dozen Dunedin game development studios. It’s another tangible step towards building a thriving, and nationally significant industry, based right here in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

“The breadth and ingenuity of ideas coming from our local game developer community has been nothing short of inspiring.”

In total 24 Expressions of Interest were received in the second round, resulting in 15 full applications. There has also been strong interest in the Scale Up funding category which targets larger existing studios, and further announcements are expected to be made soon.

Tim Ponting, Establishment Director of CODE, says, “We’re excited that CODE has been able to fund a new generation of studios here in Ōtepoti Dunedin. It’s a testament to the work that the CODE team has put into its capability programmes in the last eight months that several of the recipients who were unsuccessful at the first funding stage have been successful in this second round of funding.”

Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Hon Dr David Clark, says, “I’d like offer my congratulations to the latest CODE grants recipients. Innovation and New Zealand have long been synonymous with each other – it’s one of the things our little country is best known for around the world.

“Our footprint on the global digital stage is growing, and CODE is a major contributor to that.

“I look forward to following the successes of the latest recipients.”

The third KickStart and Start Up funding rounds are now under way, alongside the ongoing Scale Up and Service Start funding categories.

Application details for the CODE funding round can be found at:

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