Kinda Brave partners with 3 indie studios for sustainable publishing

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Kinda Brave is a new Swedish publisher of sustainable games and has signed up to partner with three new indie game studios.

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

The title of Dinomite Games is a hand-drawn co-op game and the other studios will be announcing their new titles in the coming months. The content is indie-related, but the titles aren’t necessarily environmentally themed. Instead, the publisher focuses on sustainability in terms of how the games are made.

“We don’t have standing orders for creativity,” Rudolfsson said. “We don’t plan to make a special kind of game. We’re still making the exact same games you’d expect from an indie developer. We’re trying to take those games to the next level by the way they’re made.”

The Kinda Brave team and its developers.

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

Rudolfsson said the studios share the publisher’s core goals and ideals, prioritizing “People, Players and Planet”. Rudolfsson started the company in December 2020 and Karim Walldén joined as head of marketing in February 2021. The company is sustainable with the environment and also believes in treating the developers well so that they can maintain the willpower to complete their games. .

“We are excited to partner with the talented teams at Ember Trail, Dinomite Games and Tic Tek Toe. We want all our studios to feel part of the group and share our goals, ethos and culture, while doing everything we can to give them the tools they need to achieve the results they want,” said Rudolfsson . “The Hybrid Indie model of a publisher focuses not only on commercial aspects, but on the day-to-day support and growth of studios and the people within them, allowing each studio to devote all their time and energy to developing high-quality indie titles.”

Kinda Brave will empower its studios with tools to focus on the people within the company, advocating for a happy and healthy workplace, built on foundations of equality and inclusivity. It provides resources and time to incorporate accessibility features for players into their games, including training and certifications.

“We specialize in the indie scene and work with small teams with big ideas,” said Rudolfsson. “We want to see how we can make independent games with teams that normally only operate with fairly limited resources.”

And it offers opportunities and means to work sustainably through conscious choices of suppliers and manufacturers, recycling and reuse of equipment and to minimize travel to achieve climate neutrality. Title production will also be made with eco-friendly game settings to lower players’ power consumption.

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

“What kind of studio do you want to be? What kind of games would you like to develop towards making? How can you push the boundaries of what an indie can be?” said Rudolfsson. “That’s the kind of general philosophy or angle we take. And as part of that, we’ve taken a different approach to traditional publishing. We don’t make traditional publisher deals. But instead we want to permanently add studios to our group, which of course should be a happy marriage from both perspectives.”

Rudolfsson said that in addition to financial support, sales and marketing services, Kinda Brave provides support to all studios with shared resources ranging from human resources, recruiting and legal services to a full-time sustainability manager — priorities that usually only a much larger outfit could account for. By pooling resources, each studio can stay small and close, sharing knowledge and inspiration for the benefit of all.

Kinda Brave CEO Björn Rudolfsson and head of marketing Karim Walldén.

The studios will also make full use of Kinda Brave’s office space in Uppsala, where the publisher uses renewable energy to power and heat its offices. Kinda Brave has about 10 in-house people at the publisher and the larger developer group now has about 35 people, with some people from other game companies such as Mojang, Electronic Arts, Raw Fury, Zordix and PlayStation. Kinda Brave’s board chairman Kristofer Westergren.

At a time when Embracer Group owns 124 game studios with 14,000 employees, you have to wonder what the place will be for a new and small game publisher like Kinda Brave.

“You have to look at the different options out there,” Rudolfsson said. “I think that’s the most important. If you are a developer these days, there are many different offerings and many different ways to go about it. You could shut down a traditional publishing house. And you can, you can go that route with established professional options. We’re somewhere in between. We don’t really do what everyone else does. We’re doing something different. We get in touch with studios quite early in their startup phase. And that’s a part of the market where the big ones that are already established aren’t really focused.”

Kinda Brave’s first three developers.

Ember Trail has a mix of developers from indie and triple-A backgrounds, and it’s started to bring the creativity of players to the forefront. The co-founders’ goal was to create a healthy work culture, centered on the health and happiness of employees.

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

“Being part of Kinda Brave fits well with our shared values ​​around sustainable gaming, while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of shared resources and developing a strong relationship with an in-house publisher,” said David Penelle, studio CEO at Ember Trail, in a statement. statement. “Creating games is fun, but challenging, so with the pragmatic mindset of in-house Publishing offering the best strategy and operations, we as a developer have the freedom to focus on the creative aspect of making a great game. We are on a journey together and we look forward to sharing more about our next game soon.”

Dinomite Games was founded in 2016 as a two-person studio and has since grown into a team of seven in Uppsala. Under the watchful eye of Captain Bowie, the small business dog with a big personality, the studio is currently developing Go Fight Fantastic, a vibrant 1-3 player co-op hack n’ slash set in a hand-drawn universe. The studio, made up of a team of gamers and a work ethic based on creativity, is always looking for the kind of games they would play themselves.

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

Tic Tek Toe is a small game development studio that focuses on systemic gameplay and technical experimentation. Made up of a team of industry veterans, they take all the lessons from their years of game development and focus on making games that are fun, engaging, highly replayable. They want to push the boundaries of what a small studio can achieve.

“Kinda Brave has given us the opportunity to focus on making the games we want to make the way we want to make them,” said Martin Annander, CEO of Tic Tek Toe, 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 kind of processes we use. You pick up quite a few opinions after more than ten years of making games. With Kinda Brave, we can put them to the test.”

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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