The sixth year of the Ubisoft Indies Series will be hosted in Ontario by Ubisoft Toronto which will be presented by National Bank and this year will be offering interested studios $75,000 in cash prizes and mentorships.
The competition is open to independent studios with 50 employees or fewer in Ontario. The deadline is Sunday, February 20, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET. The top 10 finalists will be invited to pitch and demo their submissions in May 2022. Submissions will be evaluated by a jury made up of Ubisoft and National Bank experts. Ontario studios will be judged on overall concept, marketing and business plan, plus other elements.
The grand prize winner of the competition will receive $50,000 and mentorship, while the National Bank’s Special Prize winner will receive $25,000 and mentorship. Ubisoft Indies Series 2022 will also offer creative, marketing and financial tools to help local studios and their games reach new heights. Additionally, consideration will be given to studios that are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in their games and/or teams.
“We understand just how difficult it can be to break into the video game industry as an independent studio. Having access to vital funding and guidance from those working in the industry are critical in achieving success,” Ubisoft Corporate Affairs vice president, Francis Baillet said in a statement.
“Through the Ubisoft Indie Series, we’re thrilled to connect with our colleagues, share knowledge and expertise, and ensure Canada’s video industry continues to grow and become a worldwide leader.”
The Ubisoft Indie Series is an annual competition for independent game development studios that the game publisher kicked off in 2017. Since then, the competition has supported 22 Canadian studios and is part of the Ubisoft Entrepreneurs program. The program supports the growth of local entrepreneurs in the technology and entertainment industries with mentorship, expertise, grants and funding.
Past Ubisoft Indies Series winners include Mermaid Heavy Industries, Killjoy Games, Falling Squirrel and more. Notably in that list of past winners is Niagara Falls-based studio, Falling Squirrel, which last year launched its audio-based game, The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, which was nominated at the Game Awards in the innovation in accessibility category. The Ontario studio specializes in story-driven experiences with the specific goal of pioneering advances in narrative design and blind-accessible audio game mechanics.
“Our Ubisoft Indie Series Special Prize win was where things really took off for us. The prize money gave our very small company some essential breathing room for making a quality budget game and, perhaps most importantly, our team received much appreciated mentorship that influenced the narrative, gameplay and sound design of the game in overwhelmingly positive ways,” Falling Squirrel founder, Dave Evans said in a statement.
Interested independent game development studios in Ontario can apply before applications close on Sunday, February 20, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET. Independent studios based in Quebec can register for the Quebec version of the competition.