In February, Sunless Sea and Fallen London developer Failbetter Games launched ‘Fundbetter.’ An indie game fund, Failbetter would offer teams between £2,000 and £20,000 for narrative games and interaction fiction. The developer described it as a “project-based investment” meaning that even if the project didn’t make the money back, the creator could just move on.
Fundbetter encourages game designers and writers “from all kinds of backgrounds” to get involved, specifically mentioning women, LGBT+ and black/minority ethnic creators. In a new interview, Failbetter Games explains why it’s so important to get pitches from a diverse bunch of creators and the developer also updates Fallen London’s gender options.
Failbetter On Representation; Updates Fallen London Genders
Asked what’s the “impetus” behind asking for LGBT stories, in an interview with Autostraddle, Failbetter Games’ communications director Hannah Flynn says:
“More LGBT creators, telling whatever stories they want to tell. But yeah, representation is everything, and we benefit so much from bouncing off our incubees and other devs, so we are looking for all kinds of perspectives. It makes all of our work richer.”
On whether or not Failbetter Games is inviting newcomers to pitch (or just experienced creators), Flynn also says:
“[Fundbetter is open to] all comers, really. They do need to do their homework, but we’re interested in all credible applicants. Also people who are changing careers or returning to work after having a family! I love the idea of people with different experiences bringing their perspective to games, it’s the most exciting thing about Fundbetter for me.”
The current application period for Fundbetter ends on July 4, and you can find out more information abut the program here.
Failbetter Games has also updated the gender options for its own narrative game, Fallen London. In March, Failbetter rolled out an initial update to Fallen London’s gender and pronoun options, which notably included the removal of the “‘Si-, er, Mad-, er, yes’” pronoun option as it made some players uncomfortable.
But in a blog post, Failbetter reveals that the changes were met with “mixed feelings and opinions” (both for and against the changes) and so the developer has decided to bring back Si-, er, Mad-, er, yes’, with characters able to choose it “regardless of gender.” The dev adds that “if players wish to choose this (or a different title), they will find the option on ‘The Roof-Tops: Urchins’ Opportunity Card.”
Moreover, “players can choose any avatar cameo during character creation, regardless of gender.” Failbetter Games explains that this is to allow “greater self-expression.”