Incubator Alumni update – yaldi games

Elena Höge 
Tentacle Zone Incubator Alumni 2021

Elena Höge 

Elena is the founder and managing director of Yaldi Games. She is passionate about learning and endlessly curious, which gave her the idea to make games that ignite curiosity and enable real life activities.  She has won over 11 grants and awards for Yaldi Games, grown a team and produced a demo of their debut title: Wholesome – Out and About

One of the great joys of running an incubator programme is keeping in touch with alumni and receiving their updates. And we’ve been thrilled to watch Elena Höge – Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Yaldi Games – as she’s progressed since her time with us in 2021.

Back then, the Yaldi Games team was in the early stages of developing their debut title, Wholesome – Out and About. The game’s name perfectly captures its essence. It’s a cosy, relaxing life sim that aims to connect players with nature in a tangible way. Players forage plants and mushrooms in-game, learning real-world skills and finding recipes for use in everyday life. 

Development of Out and About progressed well throughout 2022, but things kicked up a notch this year. In January, the team received an Epic MegaGrant, and further funding arrived later in the form of a £60,000 grant from Scottish EDGE – Yaldi becoming the first-ever games company to receive money from Scotland’s biggest funding competition.

This autumn, the team received further good news: Yaldi would be joining Arsht-Rock’s Climate Games Launchpad. The accelerator programme includes mentorship and a grant to implement more sustainability and climate resilience themes into the game.

Plant identification and foraging experience in Out & About

Arguably, Yaldi’s most impressive achievement came in September this year when the team launched Out and About’s Kickstarter campaign. The gaming community promptly demolished Elena’s initial goal of £36,000 within the first 24 hours, and the campaign continued to go from strength to strength in the following weeks. 

The Kickstarter ended at £137,904, exceeding the initial target by over £100,000 and reaching multiple stretch goals. This incredible result demonstrates that Out and About will hit the mark with its audience in a big way when it releases.

Finally, we were delighted to learn that the mentee has become a mentor. Elena has signed up to guide the next generation of developers and will act as a mentor on Unreal’s Women Creators Program 2023. Top work, Elena!

What a brilliant journey Elena and the Yaldi team have been on over the last two years. If you’d like to continue following their progress, we highly recommend following them on X and TikTok. You can learn more about Wholesome – Out and About on the game’s website and Steam page.

If you’re an early-stage developer looking for advice and guidance on your indie journey, why not sign up for the Tentacle Zone incubator? You can find the application form here.