Kinda Brave partners with 3 independent studios in sustainable publishing effort

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Kinda Brave is a new Swedish sustainable games publisher and it has committed to working with three new independent game studios.

Kinda Brave, based in Uppsala, Sweden, will work with Ember Trail studios, Dinomite Games and Tic Tek Toe. The studios are all working on two titles, and Dinomite Games plans to release Hack n’ Slash Go Fight Fantastic! in 2023, Kinda Brave CEO Björn Rudolfsson said in an interview with GamesBeat.

The Dinomite Games title is a hand-drawn cooperative game, and the other studios will be announcing their new titles in the coming months. The content is indie-related, but the titles don’t necessarily have an environmental theme. Instead, the publisher focuses on sustainability in terms of game design.

“We don’t have a standing order on creativity,” Rudolfsson said. “We are not looking to create a special type of game. We’re still making the exact same games you’d expect from an independent developer. We’re trying to elevate these games in terms of how they’re made.

The Kinda Brave team and its developers.

The company has raised approximately $6 million and is using it to fund its growth and development.

Rudolfsson said the studios share core publisher goals and ideals, prioritizing “people, players and planet.” Rudolfsson launched the company in December 2020 and Karim Walldén joined the Marketing Department in February 2021. The company takes a sustainable approach to the environment and also believes in treating developers well, so they can maintain the will to finish. their games.

“We are thrilled to work with the talented teams at Ember Trail, Dinomite Games and Tic Tek Toe. We want all of our studios to feel part of the group, sharing our goals, philosophy and culture as we do everything our best to provide them with the resources they need to get the results they want,” Rudolfsson said. daily growth of the studios and the people who work there, allowing each studio to devote all their time and energy to the development of quality independent titles.

Kinda Brave will equip its studios with tools to focus on the people within the company, championing a happy and healthy workplace based on equality and inclusiveness. It will provide resources and time to Integrate player accessibility features into their games, including training and certifications.

“We specialize in the indie scene, working with small teams with big ideas,” Rudolfsson said. “We want to see how we can build indie games with teams that normally operate on their own with fairly limited resources.”

And it will provide opportunities and ways to work sustainably through thoughtful choices of suppliers and manufacturers, recycling and reusing equipment, and limiting travel to achieve climate neutrality. The production of titles will also be done with environmentally friendly game settings to reduce the energy consumption of players.

Walldén said the company’s first employee was a sustainability manager. But the company also wants to make the companies themselves sustainable so that teams can think about what they want to achieve over five or ten years.

“What kind of studio do you want to be? What kind of games would you like to progress towards creating? How can you push the boundaries of what a freelancer can be? Rodolphsson said. “That’s the kind of general philosophy or angle that we adopt. And as part of that, we’ve taken a different approach to traditional publishing. We do not enter into traditional publishing agreements. But instead, we’re looking to add studios permanently to our group, which of course has to be a happy marriage from both perspectives.

Rudolfsson said that in addition to financial support, sales and marketing services, Kinda Brave offers all studios support from shared resources, ranging from human resources, recruitment and legal services to a chief of full-time durability – priorities that only a much larger outfit could justify. By pooling resources, each studio can remain small and united, exchanging know-how and inspiration for the benefit of all.

Björn Rudolfsson, CEO of Kinda Brave, and Karim Walldén, marketing manager.

The studios will also be able to make full use of Kinda Brave’s offices in Uppsala, where the publisher uses renewable energy to power and heat its offices. Kinda Brave has about 10 internal people at the publisher, and the largest group of developers is around 35 people now, with a number of people from other game companies such as Mojang, Electronic Arts, Raw Fury, Zordix and PlayStation. . Kinda Brave Chairman of the Board, Kristofer Westergren.

At a time when Embracer Group has 124 game studios with 14,000 employees, you have to wonder where a new small game publisher like Kinda Brave will fit in.

“You have to look at the different options available,” Rudolfsson said. “I think that’s the most important part. If you are a developer today, there are many different offers and many different ways to go about it. You could get a traditional publishing deal. And you can, you can go that route with established professional options. We are somewhere in between. We don’t really do what everyone else does. We do something different. We contact the studios quite early in their start-up phases. And that’s a part of the market where the big ones that are already established aren’t really concentrated.

The first three developers of Kinda Brave.

Ember Trail has a mix of developers from indie and triple-A backgrounds, and it has begun to put player creativity first. The co-founders’ goal was to create a healthy work culture, centered on employee health and happiness.

Formerly known as Bad Yolk, the team developed and released Main Assembly in January 2021, providing players with an inventive sandbox experience filled with plenty of challenges. The game was nominated for Best Debut and Best Technology at the Nordic Game Awards 2021. The studio is hard at work on its next title.

“Being part of Kinda Brave is a natural fit for our shared values ​​around sustainable gaming, while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of shared resources and developing a strong bond with an internal publisher,” said David Penelle, studio CEO at Ember. Trail, in a statement. “Making games is fun, yet challenging, so having the pragmatic mindset of in-house publishing delivering best-in-class strategy and operations gives us as developers the freedom to focus on the creative of creating a great game. We are on the journey together and look forward to sharing more information about our next game soon.”

Dinomite Games was founded in 2016 as a two-person studio and has since grown into a seven-person team in Uppsala. Under the watchful eye of Captain Bowie, the little pet dog with a big personality, the studio is currently developing Go Fight Fantastic!, a dynamic cooperative hack n’ slash for 1 to 3 players in a hand-drawn universe. Made up of a team of gamers and a work ethic built on creativity, the studio is always striving to create the kinds of games they would play themselves.

“Partnering with Kinda Brave has allowed us to focus on what we love – the creative process of making games,” Dinomite Games CEO Lina Andersson said in a statement. “They helped us grow our team and made sure we didn’t have to worry about funding, marketing and more.”

Tic Tek Toe is a small game development studio focused on systemic gameplay and technical experimentation. Comprised of a team of industry veterans, they draw all the lessons from their many years of game development and focus on creating games that are fun, engaging and highly replayable. They want to push the limits of what a small studio can achieve.

“Kinda Brave has given us the opportunity to focus on making the games we want to do the way we want to do them,” Tic Tek Toe CEO Martin Annander said in a statement. “Creative freedom, not only in our choice of project, but also in how we deliver our work, who we hire, and what kinds of processes we use. You get quite a few opinions after over a decade of making games. With Kinda Brave, we can put them to the test.

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