WINNIPEG - ZenFri Inc. a Winnipeg start-up, has been awarded $710,000 by the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) to help bring its groundbreaking game for mobile devices, Clandestine Anomaly, to market.
ZenFri was the only company outside of Quebec or BC to receive CMF production funding this round. With the addition of a projected $280,000 in Manitoba tax credits, the $248,100 award last year from CMF for development and further investments expected from interested international game publishers, the project will be the largest original game property ever created in Manitoba.
In the past year, ZenFri created innovative technology, design and story for the game, which merges a technology called Augmented Reality (AR) with GPS allowing players to experience a compelling science fiction adventure at real world location, in their own community. At the June 2013 GameLab conference in Barcelona, Spain, Clandestine Anomaly was called “the most ambitious AR game ever attempted.”
King says that the tremendous work and commitment by newcomers and industry veterans, many of which worked as volunteers or for “sweat equity” in the early days, helped get the project off the ground. As the project matured, King and his team was able to attract financial and networking support in order to drive the project forward:
- The Canadian Media Fund, which makes repayable investments into innovative, creative projects owned by Canadian companies;
- The Government of Manitoba’s Interactive Digital Media Tax Credits;
- New Media Manitoba, which provided advice and travel support;
- the Canada Youth Business Foundation, which provided business mentorship and startup loan support;
- MITACS, an organization that connects businesses with university researchers.
“It speaks to the commitment of the people on the project, as well as the depth of talent in Manitoba as well as across Canada, that a small start-up in Winnipeg can create a project that can compete with big players across Canada and get attention around the world,” said King. “We had a lot of people who believed in our mission to create a whole new way to share and experience stories. Since then, the project has grown considerably. With this latest funding we will now be able bring this new kind of game experience to a worldwide market.”
Key project partners include:
- Talking Dog Studios, who created music, sound and augmented reality for the game;
- Evodant, a Winnipeg company that helped design and engineer the game;
- Jetpack Media, which offered marketing support;
- As well as 30+ other employees and contractors from Winnipeg and across Canada.
To date, the game’s prototype has already landed the company’s founder, 28-year-old Corey King, speaking engagements in Barcelona, in Germany, and at the Augmented World Expo in Silicon Valley, where Clandestine: Anomaly was a finalist for best augmented reality app, despite its early stage of development. King is slated to deliver a Keynote talk at StoryDrive in Frankfurt Germany in October.
ZenFri Inc. was founded by Corey King and his wife Danielle to tell innovative stories across a range of different media -- from games, to books, films, and paintings.
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