Weird Ghosts, a Canadian impact fund focusing on offering financial boosts to Canadian studios consisting of underrepresented makers, is announcing its first round of grants and investments.
The recipients of this first round of funding span the entire country and focus primarily on LGBTQ and BIPOC representation.
According to Weird Ghosts, “Each of the four studios represents a new model for developing sustainable, worker-centric companies and moves Weird Ghosts closer to its ultimate goal of making studio funding more accessible to marginalized founders in indie games.”
The Studios are:
Toronto-based team Rocket Adrift is founded by Lindsay Rollins, Rowan Smith, and Titus McNally and is Weird Ghosts’ first official early-stage investment. They are a narrative-driven game studio interested in highlighting the perspectives of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC experiences. Their previous games include Raptor Boyfriend and Order a Pizza, and they are currently working on Psychroma, a side-scrolling psychological horror game about facing your trauma and finding hope for the future. Rocket Adrift also runs a cyberpunk roleplaying podcast called “Dark Future Dice” and has a dev blog where they write about game development, funding, and more.
Something We Love is a Winnipeg-based company founded by Ibrahim Shahin and Brendan Campbell and is the first-ever recipient of the Baby Ghost grant for new studios. They are a cooperative studio that focuses on making non-violent narrative and whimsical games. Something We Love is creating games about spending time with loved ones and building community, and prioritizing BIPOC, immigrants, people with disabilities, and people of marginalized genders and sexual orientations through their storytelling and hiring practices.
Vividblue is a Black-owned Toronto studio founded by Nate Tannis with the studio currently working on Duskwitch: Heroic Soul, a fun, stylish character action game where you play as Rutie, a Witch forced to confront her mistakes and save the world from an apocalypse of her own making. Vividblue is interested in producing games that feature POC and LGBTQIA+ characters in the leading roles.
Something Magic is a Montreal-based studio led by Jesse Stong, Burcu Emeç, and Amir Såm Nakhjavani. They are an interdisciplinary team interested in the potential of VR, AR, and mixed reality in games and theatre. Their studio aims to make space for underrepresented artists to explore storytelling in collaborative environments.
“We’re interested in meeting studios where they are at and offering them the support they need to thrive on their own with as few barriers as possible,” say Weird Ghosts co-founder and general partner Eileen Mary Holowka. “Improving the Canadian indie game community involves figuring out how to build sustainability, accessibility, and impact into every aspect of our studios. The sooner studios can start thinking about these questions, the better, and that’s why Weird Ghosts is invested in the studio–not just project–funding.”
The fund’s initiative was started in 2020 by Holowka and Jennie Robinson Faber, known throughout the Toronto game makers scene for her work with Dames Making Games and Gama Space — two organizations offering game makers, especially those from underrepresented groups, a space to create and rub shoulders with those who can help them along the way.