Draknek launches New Voices Puzzle Grant to tackle under-representation

A grant pool of £97,800 is available to puzzle game developers

Draknek & Friends has announced a grant for developers from underrepresented groups who are currently working on puzzle games.

A number of grants of £16,300 ($20000) and £4075 ($5000) are available from a pool of £97800 ($120000). Draknek & Friends is providing half the sum from its profits, with the rest coming from Astra Fund, a philanthropic organisation that supports the development and promotion of thinking games.

The grant is open to women, LGBTQIA people and people of colour, and anyone else from a background they consider under-represented in game development. While the larger grants are intended for those already working on a specific puzzle game project, there are no further restrictions on how the money is to be spent.

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Draknek & Friends has made it clear that neither the company, nor any of its partners, claim any stake in games developed with the help of the grant. It also emphasised that the grants are not intended to be game budgets in and of themselves, no matter how large the sums may seem to solo indie developers.

Puzzle games are a tricky genre to nail down, though for the purposes of the grant Draknek & Friends defined them as “any game which is primarily about thinking/logical reasoning — and not primarily challenging due to execution/timing elements”. It’s a broad, yet concise, description that should open the fund up to plenty of applicants.

Applications are open now until July 3, with decisions expected to be made by August 12. The grant programme will be one of a number of topics covered in a Draknek Direct mini-conference to be broadcast on YouTube on May 19.

Draknek is the alias of developer Alan Hazelden who, along with his friends, is responsible for titles such as Sokobond, A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build and A Monster’s Expedition. Draknek & Friends’ latest release, Bonfire Peaks, is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PS5.

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In other news, Fall Guys is going free-to-play next month – and will launch on Nintendo Switch and Xbox consoles.

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