Channel 4 to fund UK Independent Companies

By: Xander

On: September 9th, 2009


Admittedly somewhat of a wry smile, but then I imagine that’s just how you would smile when you’ve just allocated half of your £4.5 million budget on british indie games. Alice Taylor is the Education Commissioner for Channel 4 as that linked interview reports, Channel 4 being a UK TV network already responsible for funding the BAFTA winning web-game Bow Steet Runner, which is a stunning FMV-Adventure style georgian crime drama. And really quite good.

Currently there are a number of companies already signed on, including Littleloud who are producing a web-game penned by PC Gamer and Rock Paper Shotgun Ãœberwriter Kieron Gillen and Zombie Cow Studios of Time Gentleman, Please! fame.

A somewhat worrying figure in the interview is that the scheme will be supporting projects which currently have a budget of up to £800,000. Braid is one of the more recent examples I can think of where a large price-tag was admitted by the author, somewhere around $200,000 dollars, so the idea of helping out £800,000 productions is kind of confusing. The people I think it could help out most are the ones working for a hundreth of that sum, if not less. Still, if there is that much money around and brit-indies are confident in asking far less than that amount in terms of support then I’d be cautiously optimistic for them. Maybe I’m just intimidated by anyone with that much money.

What’re peoples immediate reactions? Are they any british developers who’ll be looking into this as a source of funding?

(Speaking of sources: Rock Paper Shotgun)

  • Davioware

    Interesting, but what is meant by up to 8oo£? Does that mean they are helping people whose budget is less than that amount?

  • Xander

    Yes, so they would not be offering funding to projects that already have more than an £800,000 budget.. because you really shouldn’t need more than that.

  • Ivy

    Can my consitutional monarchy get in on this action?

  • Davioware

    wow, that seems like some strangely serious cash.

  • Cymon

    Really? I’ll bet I can move to England and make a game and still be under that amount.

  • Eclipse

    even with £500,000 you can do a fucking amazing game and maybe even two.. they should help real indie developers

  • bateleur

    The trouble with this initiative is that it’s mostly likely to benefit teams with successful projects under their belt already. If you’re a developer with no business premises and no track record you’ll be very lucky to get funding.

    Might apply for some for my next project, though. If only because it would be interesting to read the rejection letter.

  • zawarudo

    Admittedly somewhat of a WWWWRRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYY smile

  • Beejnopdeyfume!?wha??

    They expect “Indie” developers to have a budget of up to $800,000 (Pounds)??? Okay, I guess the ~Magic~ words are “UP TO”, but seriously, aside from ex-EA employees (ahem, 2dBoy, yes you!), who-the-heck-in-the-fuck has a budget of $800,000 pounds, let alone Dollars!!! Are they expecting a skinny little pale tripe from Brisbane to be packing a savings account of near $800,000 buckaroos when the only other available work to afford such funding is shoveling manure at a farm on the outskirts!?!?

    Fuck-ing Whoa!

    Lets ask Yahtzee what he thinks…


    “Yes well all you indie developers are a bunch of ass eating cunts”

    Ummm… that wasn’t the question Yahtzee… Anyway, $800,000??? That’s nearly One Billion!!!


  • Paul

    “If you’re a developer with no business premises and no track record you’ll be very lucky to get funding.”

    That’s pretty much what Zombie Cow are, keeping in mind this stuff started before TGP even made it to Steam. And Beatnik Games haven’t even released anything yet.

    And helping ‘real’ Indie developers? Please. It’s for Independant Developers, meaning anyone who isn’t owned by a publisher. The guys getting the money are just about making a living as it is.

  • AClarkFS

    Immediate reaction? people vomit money at anything that looks shiny.

  • Alex May

    what does the FS stand for, “fuck stick”?

  • Sophie Houlden

    my immediate reaction?

    I’m a british indie and I owe my landlady a crapload more than I can pay. and from what I understand C4 has helped out alot of indie films get off the ground.

    I’m definately going to look into it. carefully though of course.

  • AxelTheAs

    Excuse me I’ll be out subject, but I would like to how have my home made game on your site ? I’d sent it 5 times to the database and It have never been released O_o (Sorry again ^^’ and I’m French so sorry for my english -______-‘)
    I’ve let my email if some one want to answer me ^^
    PS : This is my game :

  • judgespear

    AxelTheAs, congratulations, you just spammed a website.

    Maybe next time you could join the forums, get to know some people and maybe ask them to play your game and give you feedback. But judging from your post, you’d probably just end up making a blatent advertisement/spam post there too.

  • AxelTheAs

    Sorry but I’ve join the forum my game post have about 1200 view ^^’ Sorry for the spamming but I don’t see any contact page who work (no answer from the tig databese mail after 1 month so…).

    So if my post is really annoying you can delete it :)

  • hodgepodge


    relax, he (AxelTheAs) was trying to get in touch with someone (a staff member) of TIGSource. I think the people who post comments here can forgive a simple mistake as long as the forums and comments section aren’t overly abused. Besides, he tried stating that he doesn’t speak english very well so perhaps he just needs some guidance.

    Lets not all be pricks to newcomers. Give people one or two chances before jumping the gun, like a moron.

  • Sausagefest

    Extra funding would be a huge funding to my indie project but first I have to kick this crack-cocaine habit.

  • joe

    To bring it down to earth, for that kind of dough we’re talking something like five people working on a game for three years.

    Obviously not a tiny project, but it’s not exactly ludicrous to consider it an indie project either.

  • Meharhar


    If indies are working on a game for 3 years and plan on eating AFTER the funding has been spent, the game better be Teh Fukking B3zT Gamzors of De Cen1ury!

    Or they might as well kiss their own asses and credibility good-bye!

  • Gutter

    £800,000 of government subsidy usually mean that £80,000 will reach the coders.

    That seems like the first step to have video games recognized as art though.

  • Alex

    bow street runner isnt an indie game, not to mention its a piece of shit

    videogames arent art faggots

  • Anthony Flack

    Freeware only? Oh well.

    Guys, indie isn’t all about bedroom coding and three week projects. I can think of at least one (ahem) indie project with a six-figure budget and a half-dozen team members, whose director (ahem) is right now seriously worried about where next week’s rent is going to come from.

  • joe


    It doesn’t have to be the best, but it needs to sell at least 100,000 copies at $10 a pop. If it manages to sell twice that, then the investors are doing pretty fine.

    Anyway, since Braid was used as a comparison, it should be noted that it also took three years to develop. Also the $200G number is low, because it only counts the salary of the artist, since the programmer was the one funding it. Really that number would be doubled to include the other guy if an outside source was funding it.

  • Impossible

    I can think of a lot of projects £800,000 would be great for. Broke indies think that’s an insane amount of money that only AAA titles need, but really you can’t fund a AAA title with that at all. That type of money is a good amount to comfortably fund a small team.

  • Dubblybubble

    @Anthony Flack,

    Teh Introversion Team perchance? Meh, easy come easy go. Every Indie has to worry about that.


    What IS a AAA title? You mean a title that’s funded by a BIG Publisher, I have to assume. Obviously, you don’t mean a game that is good (or seen as good by the masses), nor do you mean a game that has necessarily sold well. AAA titles are a dime a dozen. Indies have an opportunity to shine a little more brightly for what they are and where they come from – with very little to no marketing (when in comparison).

    @All Developers,

    If getting rich is your game, then stay out. If making a living out of your own creativity, intelligence, and thoughtfulness is your thing then by all means be tenacious, persistent, and ambitious. Set goals, be realistic, and try to enjoy what you do. The next dollar you make could be your last, so remember, money isn’t everything.

  • Impossible

    @Dubblybubble: I was specifically referring to high budget games. In most cases that does mean funded by a large publisher, but not always.

    Indie titles are also a dime a dozen. Good games are rare period. I was not talking about quality and wasn’t trying to make this an indie vs. mainstream argument. Just saying that in the grand scheme of things £800,000 is not a ridiculous unrealistic amount of money.

  • Simon G

    ugh not Kieron Gillen, the guy is such a bellend

  • juice

    This is an interesting development – Channel 4 were funding a project over at Introversion for a while: I wonder if this is related to that in any way.

    However, it’s worth the funding is being specifically targetted to “reach 14-19 year olds”:
    “All of the games are new IPs that touch on themes and issues teenagers encounter – areas the industry otherwise holds at arms’ length. “They are Broad themes that turn up during your teenage years”

    It remains to be seen how this theme is interpreted (both in terms of gameplay and viewpoint), but it’s a very distinct constraint.

  • RobF

    It has to be a constraint as the funding helps Channel 4 fulfill part of its public service remit. It’s not a case of “hey guys, we’re going to fund you making any old guff – have some cash” it’s absolutely explicit in its intentions.

    I’m honestly totally at a loss to see how this has caused even the slightest kerfuffle or why it can be seen by -anyone- as something to get all emo about.

    Personally, I’m chuffed for all those involved who are getting to make a great little game (and this is Channel 4 we’re talking here not Radio 4 so you know it’s going to have a subversive element, right?), hopefully do some good things for teenagers and give indies a financial leg up to do so.

    From a blog post on the topic a while back on Wonderlandblog (not linking to avoid tigspamtrap of death) explaining the concept:

    “Our mission: to get educational stuff to UK teens aged 14-19, stuff that’ll help them get from puberty to adulthood, and to get on in life”

    So yeah, where’s the problem in that? This is games doing good things and folks getting paid to make games that do good things.

  • juice

    I don’t have an issue at all – funding indie development has to be a good thing. Just pointing out that there isn’t a cookie jar for anyone to dip into: the developer has to have a concept which fits with what C4 is trying to achieve…

  • RobF

    Sorry Juice, was just using your point to bounce off.

    Apologies :)


    I WOULD TAKE THAT £800,000

  • Bennett

    £800,000 would fund about 8 people for two years. You could imagine that one of those is business/sales and one is marketing. That leaves one musician, two programmers, two artists and one designer. Hardly a big commercial 2009 production at that rate. Not exactly 1970s Atari but not far closer to 1980s Broderbund.

  • Flamebait

    Channel 4 always tries way too hard to appear indie, only now their pompous attitude has spilled over into a worthier medium.