Screen Australia announces recipients of new $1.6 million games fund

Screen Australia is supporting more than two dozen Australian video game projects in its latest round of funding.
mystiques key art screen australia funding

Screen Australia has today announced the recipients of AUD $1.6 million worth of video game funding, with the amount shared between 12 successful Games Production Fund applicants, and 15 successful Emerging Gamemakers Fund applicants. The projects funded chart a range of topics and genres, all of which reflect the creativity and talent of Australia’s local game development scene.

The Games Production Fund, Emerging Gamemakers Fund, and the GDC-oriented Future Leaders Delegation were established in October 2023, with support from the Federal Government’s new National Cultural Policy. As part of this policy, Screen Australia has access to a total of AUD $12 million for games funding, provided over four years.

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“Australia has a proud history of game development going right back to The Hobbit. What this [funding] does is support the future of Australian game development, making sure we don’t miss out on the next Unpacking or Untitled Goose Game,” Tony Burke, Minister for the Arts said in a press release.

“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.”

Here’s the full list of games funded as part of Screen Australia’s Games Production Fund, which provides grants of up to AUD $100,000 to support development of new, original Australian independent games with budgets below AUD $500,000:

  • Ascending Inferno (ACT) – A 2.5D precision platformer that blends voxel and pixel art together to reimagine Dante’s Inferno.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kādomon: Hyper Auto Battlers (SA) – In this auto-battle deckbuilder roguelike game, players can collect and battle over 180 unique creatures called Kādomon.
  • 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.
  • Momento (QLD) – A room decorator game that invites players to decorate their space and choose meaningful objects that influence the life they experience.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

And here’s all the games funded by the Emerging Gamemakers Fund, which provides grants of up to AUD $30,000 to support new projects from emerging, independent Australian game makers:

  • Apothecary of City X (QLD) – A cosy strategy simulation game where players own an apothecary in a dark, dystopian city – adopting the role of a single mother trying to make ends meet.
  • Bones (WA) – In this 2.5D adventure puzzle game, players follow the story of Bones, a small skeleton in a big city, who is separated from his coffin by a crane relocating graves to make way for new apartments.
  • Catto’s Post Office (QLD) – In a friendly town filled with adorable kitty inhabitants, players take on the role of ‘postcat’ Catto, in this casual, story-driven game – navigating around the town to find the correct location to deliver the mail to, before completing a task for a resident.
  • Clownbaby! (VIC) – In this comedic dating horror deckbuilder, Clownbaby is a clown desperate for love.
  • Crimson Cutlass (SA) – In this two-player roguelite co-operative multiplayer game, players roleplay as Priscilla, the fearless warrior who seeks the fun of the fight, along with her loveable gentle giant childhood friend Gym(maine).
  • Deficit – The ADHD RPG (VIC) – Players experience the life of someone with ADHD and make choices that shape the story as they navigate an ADHD diagnosis and therapy, alongside the stigmas often associated with both.
  • Gale from the Mantle (WA) – From solo developer Cody Lehman, Gale from the Mantle is an action-adventure story-driven exploration platformer.
  • Key Fairy (QLD) – A stylised 2D action RPG that makes use of mixed mediums and a limited colour palette to create a world filled with ancient forests and hungry monsters – where players take on the role of a character who can slide, dance and grapple around monsters at high speed.
  • King Tidal (VIC) – In this post-apocalyptic dress-up game, accompany Mount Isa’s last drag queen on her journey across a sunken regional Australia.
  • Planet B (VIC) – A dystopian narrative branching mobile game which explores the inevitable destruction of the Earth, where players are catapulted into 2054 and must take on the responsibility of a space mission to confirm if a planet in a neighbouring solar system could hold hopes of a second chance.
  • River Scene Zine (VIC) – From developers Max Myers and Tim Snowdon, River Scene Zine is an exploration point and click, queer game about co-presence, attention and gayness.
  • Roots (ACT) – In this point and click puzzle game, players step into the shoes of a young adult grappling with the recent loss of their mother, which prompts an investigation into their family history.
  • SPÜTWEISER (VIC) – A narrative-focused rogue-lite point and click survival game where the player takes control of a moving settlement while navigating a post-apocalyptic map.
  • Tea, Please! (NSW) – A point and click, story-driven game from solo developer Siobhan Willoughby that explores the contrast between the drudgery and noise of office life and the surprising happiness and peace gained through remote work during lockdown.
  • Tomorrow’s Pasts (VIC) – A narrative role-playing adventure game where the player experiences and navigates a world in which generations of activism have altered the course of history to create a better, future Australia.

You can read more about these games and their creative teams on the Screen Australia website.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.