tentaclezone incubator

4 month virtual games incubator programme for early stage developers from underrepresented groups (zero cost to participants).

Programme dates: April 2021 – July 2021

Application Window: Closed

tentaclezone incubator

4 month virtual games incubator programme for early stage developers from underrepresented groups (zero cost to participants).

Programme dates: April 2021 – July 2021

Application Window: Closed

Featuring ten titles from early stage development to upcoming launches, the incubator showcase has just a selection of presentations from the founders as they introduce their games.

The line-up includes:

Wholesome – Out and About | Nature life sim, 

Yaldi Games

Schrodinger’s Catgirl | Mystery adventure game

Spider Lily Studios

Maive | Narrative adventure game

Flightful Pear

Days Lost | Mystery adventure game

Wordplay Games

Growbot | 2D robot adventure

Wabisabi Play

Sea of Leaves | Contemplative PC and console game

The Sea and the Forest

As yet untitled | 2D narrative puzzle game

Clockwork Raven Studios

Tap Tricks | One button skateboard game

BBBlaster | rogue-lite space shooter with dogs

Gesinimo Games

Squishy Sports | 2D party game

MADE BY TITANS

Hosted by award-winning presenter and journalist, Elle Osili-Wood

Our mission to drive positive change

In April 2019, Payload Studios launched it’s diversity and inclusion initiative, Game On. Making workplaces and the industry more inclusive is not an overnight task. But the more we learn about diversity and inclusion, the more we realise that we should, and can, be taking action to challenge the inequity in the games industry. 

We are proud to also have been a launch partner for Ukie’s #RaiseTheGame pledge. The Ukie Games Industry Census 2020 highlighted some key underrepresented groups int he industry. We are particularly interested in applications from underrepresented groups including, but not limited to,

POC, lower socioeconomic backgrounds, LGBTQ+, underrepresented genders (cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary and and other non-cisgender identities), disabilities and neurodiversities.

By partnering with likeminded industry partners, we hope that this games incubator programme will be an opportunity to leverage our Tentacle Zone initiative to enact positive change within our studio and the wider industry.

We know that we don’t always get it right and the journey to achieve a more inclusive industry is a long one, but it’s one that we believe in and are committed to.

Thanks to our partners, we are offering up to 8 places on the incubator programme completely free of charge to indies. We welcome applications from early stage founders who are from one or more underrepresented groups including:

POC (people of colour)

Lower socioeconomic backgrounds

Underrepresented genders (cis women, non-binary, trans women, trans men and other non-cisgender identities)

Individuals with disabilities

Individuals with neurodiversities

LGBTQ+ 

Open to founders across the UK and within the GMT +-2 timezone.

What we offer

The programme will include five tracks and be co-curated with participants, industry and our academic partner.

Business & Finance

Team Building

Design, Development & Production

Marketing & PR

Pitching & Public Speaking Support

Business & Finance

Team Building

Design, Development & Production

Marketing & PR

Pitching & Public Speaking Support

What you’ll get out of it

We want to strap a rocket to your business and help you with technical know-how, mentoring and connections throughout the programme. As places are sponsored, there will be no cost to you for joining the programme.

Weekly engagement with industry experts across 5 tracks

CPD certification awarded via University of Greenwich

Access to publishers and investors

Access to mentors

Peer-to-peer learning with cohort and existing Tentacle Zone residents

Virtual community, recorded sessions and supporting materials

The application process

The deadline to apply for this first cohort is 24th February 2021 by 5.00pm. If you have any accessibility issues with the application, please contact us at incubator@tentacle.zone

Fill in application form

Shortlisting & panel review

All applicants notified of decision

Successful applicants join incubator

Fill in application form

Shortlisting & panel review

All applicants notified of decision

Successful applicants join incubator

Mentors & Industry Facilitators

We are really pleased to announce some key games industry professionals who have signed up as mentors and/or facilitators for the programme. Some are masters of their craft on a technical level or entrepreneurship and others are experts on soft skills, helping build confidence. We’ll be announcing our full tutors and mentors list closer to the programme start date.

Kat Welsford

Digital Analytics, Square Enix

Shintaro Kanaoya

CEO of Chorus Worldwide

Pam Williams

HR Professional and Wellbeing coach

Mark Morris

Senior Partner, Talent and Leadership,  SuperNova Capital

Kat Welsford

Digital Analytics, Square Enix

Shintaro Kanaoya

CEO of Chorus Worldwide

Pam Williams

HR Professional and Wellbeing coach

Mark Morris

Senior Partner, Talent and Leadership,  SuperNova Capital

Khally Saarman-Jones

HR and Operations Manager, Payload Studios

Russell Clarke

CEO, Payload Studios 

Luke Gibson

Director of Business Operations, Tonic Games

Anisa Sanusi

UI/UX Designer and Founder of LimitBreak

Khally Saarman-Jones

HR and Operations Manager, Payload Studios

Russell Clarke

CEO, Payload Studios 

Luke Gibson

Director of Business Operations, Tonic Games

Anisa Sanusi

UI/UX Designer and Founder of LimitBreak

Marc Melton

Managing Director, Marvelous Europe

Sarah Burns

Head of Production and Operations, Marvelous Europe

Jason Howard

Art Director, Payload Studios

Lucy Dove

Co-Director and Designer, The Dangerous Kitchen

Marc Melton

Managing Director, Marvelous Europe

Sarah Burns

Head of Production and Operations, Marvelous Europe

Jason Howard

Art Director, Payload Studios

Lucy Dove

Co-Director and Designer, The Dangerous Kitchen

Simon Hobbs

Tech Director, Payload Studios

Nisha Valand

Tentacle Zone Workspace Programme Director, Payload Studios

Des Gayle

Founder, Altered Gene, Board Member of Ukie and founding member of POC in Play

Leon Killin

Founder, Balance Patch

Simon Hobbs

Tech Director, Payload Studios

Nisha Valand

Tentacle Zone Workspace Programme Director, Payload Studios

Des Gayle

Founder, Altered Gene, Board Member of Ukie and founding member of POC in Play

Leon Killin

Founder, Balance Patch

Ian Masters

Founder and CEO of Flick Games & Co-founder of Out Making Games (OMG)

Helen Churchill

SVP Publishing, Green Man Gaming

Andrew Smith

CEO, Spilt Milk Studios

Callum Brighting

CEO, Netspeak Games

Ian Masters

Founder and CEO of Flick Games & Co-founder of Out Making Games (OMG)

Helen Churchill

SVP Publishing, Green Man Gaming

Andrew Smith

CEO, Spilt Milk Studios

Callum Brighting

CEO, Netspeak Games

Emma Obanye

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, OneTech/Capital Enterprise

Darrenlloyd Gent

Programme Leader and Principal Lecturer, Games and Digital Media at University of Greenwich

Mark Backler

Founder, Sketchbook Games

Jeff Sparks

Senior Game Designer, Epic Games Publishing

Darrenlloyd Gent

Programme Leader and Principal Lecturer, Games and Digital Media at University of Greenwich

Emma Obanye

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, OneTech/Capital Enterprise

Mark Backler

Founder, Sketchbook Games

Jeff Sparks

Senior Game Designer, Epic Games Publishing

Kenny Temowo

Improbable | Head of  Leadership Development and Learning

Kenny is on a self-proclaimed mission to create and facilitate experiences; experiences that both individuals, teams and leaders remember, and that perhaps even change them. Kenny has fourteen years experience spanning culture change and learning. He uses his expertise in design thinking, organisational development and psychology, to enable and guide the businesses and individuals he supports.

Shintaro Kanaoya

Chorus Worldwide | CEO

Shin is the founder and CEO of Chorus Worldwide, a games publisher focused on showcasing indie games to the world with a speciality in taking games to the Japanese market. Shin joined the games industry in 1996 as a work experience tester at Bullfrog in Guildford, which was the start of a 12 year run at EA. At Bullfrog/EA, Shin worked in both development and marketing in the UK and Japan, on games such as Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2, The Sims, Harry Potter, and Battlefield. After EA, Shin spent 6 years at Xbox where he was Head of Business for Rare and later, Head of Business for the Sports Entertainment Group in Vancouver.

We want to strap a rocket to your business and help you with technical know-how, mentoring and connections throughout the programme.

Mark Morris

SuperNova Capital | Senior Partner, Talent and Leadership

Mark Morris has worked in entertainment for the last 25+ years. With a career that straddled both publishing and development, Mark has led many titles to commercial success. These include multiple games based on popular IPs from Disney, Warner Bros and Nickelodeon to the critical cult favourite Bulletstorm to the F2P juggernaut Sims Social. Most recently he served as President and Chief Revenue Officer at the award-winning studio Splash Damage, overseeing work on Gears 4, Gears 5 and Gears Tactics.

Pam Williams

HR professional & wellbeing coach

Pam Williams is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. Pam also has a Masters in Coaching & Mentoring Practice (Oxford Brookes) and an MBA (Open University). She is also a certified Wellbeing Coach and wants to share her skills to promote diversity. Pam has had a lifelong passion to help people to grow beyond their own personal career expectations and to achieve their full potential. She has a great willingness to share her skills and experiences to promote diversity, to help mentees and their businesses be successful.

FAQs

No, it is completely free, there is no cost for participants on the programme. Thanks to the support of our partners, Payload Studios, Tonic Games, Green Man Gaming and Creative England’s Creative Enterprise, we are pleased to announce that there are 8 sponsored places available. 

Our first iteration of this incubator is focused on early stage founders from underrepresented groups – those that are working on their first game and need focused support and networks to help take their business/game to the next stage. You must be based in the UK or within the GMT +-2 timezone.

The Ukie Games Industry Census 2020 highlighted key underrepresented groups within the UK games industry. We are interested in applications from founders who identify with one or more underrepresented groups such as POC, lower socioeconomic backgrounds, underrepresented genders (cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary and other non-cisgender identities), LGBTQ+, disabilities and neurodiversities. 

This list is not exhaustive and we will not always get it right, if there is a group missing, please contact us at nisha@tentacle.zone

Absolutely! We already have an existing community of Tentacle Zone residents who benefit from a weekly programme of support and who will also have access to the incubator when it is launched. We believe that the peer-to-peer learning within the cohort and regular contact with more established companies will enable more knowledge sharing to benefit participants. Please contact us on hello@tentacle.zone.

You can find out more in the mentors and tutors section, but we are lucky enough to have likeminded industry partners who will contribute to elements of the programme. These include our partners: Tonic Games (creators of Fall Guys) and Green Man Gaming. Individuals from Payload Studios (Creators of TerraTech), as well as contribution from our existing Tentacle Zone residents (Marvelous Europe, Spilt Milk Studios and Netspeak Games). We also have a number of industry professionals who are passionate about diversity and inclusion and who have, themselves, faced challenges (being part of underrepresented groups) either running businesses or working in the games industry.

Applications are open from Wednesday 13th January, 2021 and will close on 24th February at 5.00pm.

We will inform all applicants of the outcome in the first week of March (the decision is final and will be conducted by a panel).

The programme itself will run from March 2021 – June 2021 and will be delivered 100% virtually.

With the support of our industry partners, we are able to ensure there is no cost for participants in the programme. However, we aren’t able to offer any further financial support and we do not take equity in any of the businesses. We are not a publisher or an investor, we are just trying to help you on your indie journey.

We expect founders to be available, and participate in 2 hour live sessions (delivered virtually) each week with an additional 2 hours for time with 1-2-1 experts/follow-up work or time with mentors.

If you have to miss a session, we will be recording as much of the content as possible, and will make these available to all participants.

Please see ‘what you’ll get out of the programme’ for more information. Aside from a practical toolkit and  industry connections, we want to strap a rocket to your business and help you make progress with your game and business growth. You will also receive CPD certification via the University of Greenwich.

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals & students engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive.

Engaging in Continuing Professional Development ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.

You can find the application form here! For any accessibility issues with the application, please contact nisha@tentacle.zone.

We have up to 8 places available for eligible participants, thanks to the support of our partners.

If you have any further questions, please contact incubator@tentacle.zone for more information.

Apply here!

The deadline to apply for this first cohort is 24th February 2021 by 5.00pm. If you have any accessibility issues with the application, please contact us at incubator@tentacle.zone

Partners

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