From a Goose on loose to cosmonauts in space: Victoria’s digital games industry is flying

Victoria is capitalising on the exponential growth of the digital games industry with Film Victoria investing over $760,000 in a suite of local projects, while Melbourne-made Untitled Goose Game takes the world by storm and a major new games studio is opening in Melbourne.

On the eve of Melbourne International Game Week 2019, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced support for 13 Victorian studios to develop new digital games, which will generate an estimated $1.8 million for the state and hundreds of jobs in the local games sector.

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “This new investment in local projects, coupled with the opening of a studio by an exciting new team, cements Melbourne as Australia’s undisputed games capital.”

“The digital games market is booming and thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s continued investment in games, Victoria is in prime position to capitalise on this growth, providing more employment opportunities for Victorians.”

Melbourne indie games company 2pt Interactive received support for Heavenly Bodies, an adventure game that explores the comical delights in cosmonauts performing zero gravity manoeuvers in space. Last month Heavenly Bodies won the Rising Star Award at Gamescom Indie Arena in Cologne, an annual event which is attended by over 350,000 games enthusiasts from around the world.

To move Heavenly Bodies from prototype into production, 2pt Interactive co-founders Alex Perrin and Josh Tatangelo will make the transition into full-time development. Since graduating from Melbourne’s RMIT University with a Bachelor of Design in Games and Programming, Perrin and Tatangelo have been producing games experiences primarily for the corporate sector, including gamified installations, augmented reality (AR) apps and alternate reality game (ARG) campaigns.

2pt Interactive co-founders Alex Perrin and Josh Tatangelo said: “Our dream has always been to produce video games. However with the huge amount of time and resources required to make a game, we’ve needed to support this dream with external work. This balance has always been challenging but now with help from Film Victoria we can finally take solid steps towards full-time games development. This is a very exciting time for us and we’re overjoyed to have this opportunity.”

This new investment comes at a time when the attention of the international games industry is set firmly on Melbourne, with local release Untitled Goose Game arguably the most talked about game in the world right now. The Film Victoria-supported game by Melbourne development studio House House raced to No. 1 on the Australian Nintendo eShop chart soon after its release on September 20 and currently sits at No. 1 on the US Switch chart and No. 2 on the British chart.

Melbourne is home to more than half of all Australian studios and this number continues to grow. Earlier this month, games industry legend David Gaider and Victorian Liam Esler announced they will open Summerfall Studios in Melbourne, citing the city’s tight-knit and supportive games community as one of the key reasons they chose Victoria.

The local games industry is excited that Canadian-born Gaider, lead writer of the hugely popular Dragon Age series, has teamed up with Esler, an award-winning Australian writer and producer, and former manager of Game Connect Asia Pacific. They will reveal their first project, which also recently received investment from Film Victoria, at PAX Aus 2019.

Liam Esler said: “When David and I first started talking about starting a studio together, we immediately knew we wanted to base it in Melbourne. Although we could easily have set down roots anywhere, Melbourne has a long history of indie excellence, an incredible community and also happens to be one of the best places to live in the world. Paired with the crucial support Film Victoria and Creative Victoria provide to local developers, it was an easy decision to make.”

David Gaider said: “When I first came to Melbourne, I found the game development community was so supportive and enthusiastic. It was immediately apparent that this is a place where not only did I want to base a company, but where the industry had a lot of room to grow. Although I’ll still be based in Canada for now, Melbourne is the perfect place for Summerfall, and is somewhere I could absolutely see myself living in the future.”

In 2018, the digital games market was estimated to be worth almost A$200 billion globally, with predictions that the market could become an A$400 billion industry by 2025.

Melbourne International Games Week, which runs from 5-13 October, is Asia Pacific’s largest digital games celebration. PAX Aus runs from 11-13 October.

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