Nearly 40 developers from around the country will work in ten teams to create a bit of couch-play fun
The Google Stadia “Play Anywhere” Game Jam, a week-long jam focused on a group of diverse and inclusive developers creating playful local Stadia experiences, kicks off this weekend, Playcrafting announced today.
About 40 Unity developers from around the United States will work together in 10 teams of mostly four to craft engaging couch co-op and competitive games geared toward local multiplayer on Stadia.
“This jam is a solid first step in companies meeting developers where we are,” said Chris Kindred, design lead and game jam lead of Team Geofront. “Our team hopes this will be the start of a larger movement toward the work of achieving true equity through direct modes of uplifting marginalized developers in our industry.”
Cara “Cheratomo” Hillstock, freelance narrative designer and variety streamer on Twitch, and leader of Team Hillstock added:
“The Google Stadia ‘Play Anywhere’ Game Jam has allowed me to gather a brilliant team together who are focused on experimenting and innovation. We can dedicate our full creative energies towards it because we won’t be forced to work other jobs to help ends meet. Jams allow for a kind of genre-pushing that you can’t always focus on when making your own games, which are often restricted by what publishers/investors consider marketable. The rest of the team and I are really excited because we’re going to be working with an idea we haven’t touched on before. We’re excited to push ourselves and experiment.”
The developers are each being compensated for their work on the prototypes and the games may be picked up through the Stadia Makers program for the developers to fully develop the title for Google Stadia. If a game is not selected, the developers will retain ownership of their game and are free to pitch them elsewhere.
The participating developers — who are working on the games from cities around the country including Seattle, Boston, Chicago, New York, Austin, and Los Angeles — will be introducing themselves during a streaming event leading up to the Sunday night start of the game jam at 7 p.m. ET on March, 14 on YouTube.
The day after the jam wraps-up, the developers will each have a chance to show off their creations in a second Livestream which will be hosted by Playcrafting and Stadia Makers.
“It’s been a thrill to work with the Stadia Makers team since 2020 to bring this jam to life and unite this incredible lineup of independent game developers, said Dan Butchko, founder and CEO of Playcrafting. “Now the real fun begins. Independent creators are always on the cutting edge of what’s possible through the power of video games. Through game jams like this, we’re here to give the support to let their skills shine brightest while celebrating the diverse voices that drive this industry and this medium forward. I can’t wait to play what these talented folks from across the country come up with.”
Google Stadia Play Anywhere Developers
Petricore, led by Ryan Canuel, is based in Worcester, MA. The small but mighty team has been making games since 2015 and specializes in creating high-quality mobile games and applications. Previous creations by the studio include extreme first-person shopper Shopping Spree.
Games Without Words
Games Without Words, led by John Smith, is a team made up of a musician, a designer, and a programmer. The Seattle, WA-based team focuses on projects that feature novel mechanics, strong aesthetics, and deep meaning. They’re currently working with Way Down Deep, Gigo Games, and Short for a Knight on projects. Previous creations include a number of crowd-controlled, music-based video games.
Team Geofront, led by Chris Kindred, is based in New York, NY. The team is made up of other graduates from New York University with a strong focus on game design and programming.
Team Warner, led by Calbert Warner, is based in the Bronx, NY. The team includes four talented independent game developers and artists who are skilled in creating fun and immersive game experiences. They like to focus on melodic storytelling that helps bring game environments and fictional characters to life.
A Novel Idea
Team Hillstock is led by Cara “Cheratomo” Hillstock. The team consists of four members from diverse disciplines in game development located across the U.S. Cheratomo was the narrative designer for Asagao Academy: Normal Boots Club, To Be With You, and Onsen Master.
Waking Oni Games
Waking Oni Games is led by Derrick Fields and is based in Chicago, IL. Along with Fields, the team is made up of three-game developers who currently work at TwoDots, Contigo Games, and Fullbright. The BIPOC led studio is focused on creating experiences to uplift under-represented voices while exploring cultural intersections, media, and nostalgia. They’re currently working on Onsen Master.
Angry Array, led by Kevin Harper, is a team hailing from New York City. The team includes Sam Eng and Rustin Wollin who have strong backgrounds in creating VR experiences. Angry Array and Blitzen Games recently released the VR action game Paulo’s Wing. One of the team is also creating a highly-anticipated game about skateboarding into the underworld.
Gumboot, led by Brieyh’leai Simmons and Nic Luper, is based in Austin, TX. The team has extensive game jam experience and has released a slew of highly innovative titles on itch.io including Soulward, Maypole Royale, and Allez.
Mismatched Games is led by Samantha Ortiz based in Austin, TX. The team consists of graduates from Code Coven’s online boot camp that provides game development learning opportunities for people of marginalized backgrounds.
The Day Jammers
The Day Jammers is led by Brian Handy based in Los Angeles, CA. The team of four shares a strong interest in experimental and innovative game development. They have created interactive games across genres and mediums. Brian’s most recent release includes Wild Honesty – a party game for deeper conversations.