Draknek announces winners of the first New Voices Puzzle Grant

The grant aims to increase diversity in the puzzle gaming industry

Draknek and Friends, the team behind games such as A Monster’s Expedition, Bonfire Peaks and A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, has announced which teams will receive funding from the first Draknek New Voices Puzzle Grant.

The grant, which aims to increase diversity in the puzzle gaming industry, has been awarded to 12 studios across the globe who are creating a variety of games. The grant was created in partnership with Astra and Games for Change and was open to women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and anyone under-represented in the puzzle gaming sector. A number of grants of £16,300 ($20,000) and £4,075 ($5,000) were available from a pool of £97,800 ($120,000).

The recipients include Spicy Rice Cake Studio, which is a one-man team comprised of Jiheh Ritterling, who is working on a puzzle adventure about a game designer making a tropical island in the form of Island_Name_Here.

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Playdew is a team of Pakistani developers working on Lost Twins 2, which is a puzzle-platformer. Plant-themed puzzle game Castle of Glas is a project at Queensguard Games which is part of the Cartomancy Anthology, and the studio plans to use the grant to help fund a sequel.

Icetoad Studio consists of three developers creating AiliA, which is described as an “emotional” narrative puzzler exploring themes of grief. Bunstack is developing Paquerette Down the Bunburrows which is a pathfinding game with the aim of capturing rabbits.

The US-based team at Flip Alive Games is behind visual novel DokiToki: Time Slows Down When You’re In Love, which also features puzzle elements. Meanwhile, Irish studio Blindbug Interactive is creating plant-based puzzle adventurer Catacomb Creeper: Re-Vined Edition.

Solo developer Rowan Wood has previously worked on abstract puzzler Yarne, and is currently working on Timeclone. Based in Japan, the Notan team is working on a puzzler about digging holes with a working title of Cutting Edge.

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Glen Henry is the one-man studio Spritewrench based in Jamaica, making a narrative puzzle experience in the form of On the Perils of Parrots. Samarth Hattangady is also a solo developer, working from India on Konkan Coast Pirate Solutions – a game about helping pirates achieve their goals under his developer name Chapliboy.

Finally, Mohammed Al Najjar is also a one-man studio at RD Interactive based in the Middle East. His project, Hackshot, is a puzzling take on artillery games.

Draknek founder Alan Hazelden commented on the grant by stating that its formation was largely due to the fact that “the people making the most successful puzzle games are receiving funding are noticeably less diverse.”

“The New Voices Puzzle Grant is our opportunity to give back to the next generation of underrepresented and under-invested-in creators,” added Hazelden.

In other gaming news, the latest Valheim patch has added “full cross-play support” to the game, meaning players can link together no matter which platform they play on.

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