NI game firm Brain and Nerd earns €150,000 from competitive EU programme

  • NI-based game development studio Brain and Nerd has been selected for the Creative Europe MEDIA programme with its upcoming game Hortalius.

    Acceptance onto the competitive programme has earned the Belfast-based firm €150,000 toward the development of its upcoming narrative game, Hortalius.

    Creative Europe is the European Union’s support programme for the cultural and creative sectors.

    Its annual Support for Development of European Video Games call provides grants toward the development of ambitious and original video game projects that are innovative, creative, and culturally diverse.

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    A total of 125 applications were submitted for the scheme this year from across the EU, with Brain and Nerd being one of the top 32 selected for funding.

    Three of the 11 UK applications sent in this year were successful, with two of them being from companies in Northern Ireland. Brain and Nerd Ltd’s project Hortalius was joined by NI studio Italic Pig’s Quest Quest: The Quest for Quests.

    Hortalius is an entertaining twist on recent exploration survival games such as Subnautica or No Man’s Sky. The game will transport players into the microscopic world of a typical suburban back garden, with players solving mysteries and uncovering secrets from the perspective of a half-centimetre protagonist.

    This year was particularly important for the UK games industry as it was the last time that companies from the UK could enter the scheme due to Brexit.

    The Creative Europe programme awarded €89.5m to 376 UK-based cultural and creative organisations between 2014 and 2018, but UK companies will not be able to participate in the scheme from 2021 onward.

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    Brain and Nerd director Tina Lauro Pollock commented: “This opportunity from Creative Europe opens up so many doors for Brain and Nerd. We’ve already been talking to publishers about Hortalius and having the funding to develop a highly polished prototype will be invaluable in our ongoing conversations and the future success of the studio.

    “Early support for the project from Northern Ireland Screen and Future Screens NI was instrumental in helping Brain and Nerd succeed in winning this highly competitive award.”

    Brain and Nerd will also be joining four other local studios in Northern Ireland Screen’s Boost Video Game Business Bootcamp, a three-month business development programme to develop the studio’s capabilities in marketing, commercial strategy, and pitch development.

    The scheme is designed for established studios aiming to raise £250,000 in investment or funding and will feature one-on-one workshops with industry expert Jason Della Rocca.

    Established in 2012, Brain and Nerd was the first Irish studio to successfully crowdfund a game on Kickstarter with sci-fi 4X PC game Predestination, which released through Steam’s Early Access platform and launched in February 2019.

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    Find out more about Brain and Nerd here.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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