If you've wondered why the logo of the European Commission shows up during the start-up of some games, it's because it makes contributions to various independent studios to help them get their projects off the ground. This is part of their Creative Europe program, which saw games like Elex 2 get announced last year. A recently released document details upcoming plans for more than a couple dozen new investments, including several unannounced projects.
The document reveals that Finnish studio FrozenBytes are working on Trine 4. FrozenBytes have done a couple of games since Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, including Shadwen and Has-Been Heroes, so it wasn't a guarantee that they'd return to the action-puzzler that put them on the map. Trine 3 took the series in a new 3D direction, so it'll interesting to see if Trine 4 continues this trend.
Meanwhile, Swedish developer Zoink Games is working on something called Roll Them Bones. Zoink is best known for the mysterious Fe and Stick It To The Man. Elsewhere, the Spanish studio behind RiME is making something called LumberJack, while there appears to be a sequel to throwback 90s RPG Earthlock in production at SnowCastle Games.
For the full list of games, see here.
Digging into the details, we can see that TequilaWorks' Lumberjack is receiving the smallest percentage of its overall budget, at 4%. The maximum grant offered is €150,000, meaning that Lumberjack's budget is an estimated 3.75 million euros. Meanwhile, Trine 4 is the second lowest, receiving 15% of its overall budget. This puts its budget at a cool million euros. The grants offered range from €10,000 to €150,000, with some games receiving 50% of their overall budget, the maximum Creative Europe supports.
The projects must be just starting production, according to the documents. They define production as "the phase starting from the testing and debugging of the first playable prototype or trial version until the end the production of the Gold Master or equivalent."
The document also details that "the production phase of the submitted project must not be scheduled to start before 8 months after the date of submission of the application." The submissions ended March 8, so we probably won't be seeing these games for a while.
Oddly enough, there are two British titles on the document despite the fact that the UK is famously leaving the EU. The British games on this list have special rules attached which dictate that they will stop the funding if the UK leaves the EU without the agreement being eligible. There are games from Norwegian developers, too, and they aren't in the EU but can still get access to this funding. This is based on the list of non-EU participants that can apply to this scheme.
Quick TakeI think it's cool that the EU funds independent developers. More governments should do that kind of thing, I know Canada does a lot of that sort of thing. As for the games announced, I hadn't heard of Earthlock before but that seems like it would be up my street. I was a big fan of Trine 2 but was immediately turned off by Trine 3's rough Early Access period. Here's hoping Trine 4 turns out well!
What do you think? Excited by the prospect of Trine 4? Anything else on the list catch your eye? Let us know below!