I spent the better half of 2012 getting to know the Norwegian game development community. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening and I thought I’d take some time off this Sunday afternoon and write a few observations, while the local game developers are slaving away at Bergen Game Jam (over 30 participants and a good handful of women – not bad – very proud girl geek heart!).
There’s over 70 companies registered in Norway that are game developers and I’m willing to wager that there’s at least as many individuals dabbling with game development in their spare time but not taken the steps towards professionalisation yet.
Norway may be a very small country but we are also spread far and wide with massive mountains inbetween. Usually what comes out of our capital, Oslo, has the main focus, but I’m wondering if those of us who are a part of one of the “districts” of Norway are also coming into our “own”. We can debate on why later.
First off let me introduce my home town:
There’s so much excitement in the air here in Bergen. We’ve got a unique community here that is all about sharing and boosting each other’s projects. We meet once a month for beer and informal chats and it’s quickly turning into one of the highlights of my month.
At present I count 9 game developing companies in Bergen and nearby districts. I’m sure there are more, so please let me know if I’m missing something.
Rain is very currently adding the finishing touches to their game, Teslagrad and it looks beautiful, or as Nathan Grayson from Rock Paper Shotgun puts it:
“Titled Teslagrad, the outwardly Braid-esque (read: hand-drawn and utterly gorgeous) sidescroller deals not in time-bending, lionsheep-smacking hijinx, but instead traverses terrain by magnetizing objects and characters.”
They’re a very passionate group of game developers and artists with a very clear vision of the worlds they are creating. They’re very dedicated to their craft and the results are obviously gorgeous. Here’s a clip of gameplay:
It should be finished and ready for release March/April 2013 – so look out for it!
Other media mentions of Teslagrad:
For the fans, of which there are many, it seems that D-Pad has been working forever on their beautiful game Owlboy. I have no idea when they’re thinking of releasing but we’re all looking forward to it and judging from all the wonderful press they’ve been getting it will surely be a huge success. And it truly is gorgeous:
I’m also in complete awe of the adorable Vikings on Trampolines which is also a D-Pad title. Definitely a group of developers that have come far and I imagine will rocket towards some gaming paradise as soon as their games are released. They’re incredibly talented and genuinely nice guys always looking to give back to indie game community in Norway, which I find admirable.
Recent (because there’s so much) media:
Every now and again I’m lucky to catch a glimpse of what Henchman & Goon are working on and it literally always takes my breathe away. They were born as a company August 2012 but have worked together for a while through studies and other projects. Their team consists of 9 (or more) talented people with amazing attention to detail.
They’re managed by the brilliant concept artist, Yngvill Hopen, who also blogs about at least one of her many projects. I have very high hopes for this young group and I can’t wait to see what their creative juices will be contributing to game development from Bergen.
This merry group of gentlemen and lady are the most established and successful game developers in Bergen. I’ve already blogged about the release of their game Naval War, here. Since then they’ve hired Marie Møller (whom I had the priviledge of meeting for the Press Play art exhibit) as a project manager – which I’m certain will prove to be their smartest move yet!
Naval War is proving to be a success and Turbo Tape are working on several new and exciting projects. Among them is the cycling game, Velocipede. It seems to me that Turbo Tape have found the right company balance on projects and cooperations with local media companies, such as TV2. They have a maturing business savvy which we’re all thankful to learn from. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where they are in 5 years!
And there’s more to come! I’m not even finished with Bergen yet! Exciting stuff!