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Italic Pig Paints Mona Lisa all over Global Game Conference

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Mona Lisa, the mischievous art heist and forgery game in development by Northern Irish game developer Italic Pig, has been selected as the 2017 Branding Sponsor of Casual Connect USA.   

Casual Connect USA is a world class event with a focus on matching the creativity of the games industry with new media innovation and investment to find the next big thing. At each of Casual Connect’s four yearly events, an independent games company with a unique product and art style is chosen to fully brand the event. This year, they’ve chosen Mona Lisa.

The opportunity means that attendees to Casual Connect will be getting a taste of Mona Lisa’s unique art style on the event programme, badges, signage, social media and more.  Italic Pig’s quirky characters, peculiar scenery and slapdash forgery artwork will emblazon the event, and introduce tens of thousands of people to both the game and the indie studio for the first time.  

In addition to this prestigious honour, Mona Lisa has also been selected as an Indie Prize nominee, representing all of the UK as the only game to be nominated. 

“It’s amazing to see how much Mona Lisa’s ‘Arcade Art’ has drawn acclaim during its development,” says Kevin Beimers, Italic Pig’s Director and creator of the Mona Lisa property. “I imagine it’s similar to what the creators of Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution must have felt in their early days.”

Mona Lisa is an artistic new heist and forgery adventure for mobiles and tablets. The player takes on the role of the mysterious Mona Lisa, Renaissance Italy’s greatest art thief. Mona sneaks into the studios of the other great masters of the 16th century using Leonardo’s arsenal of gadgetry, locating precious works of art, and swapping them out with slapdash forgeries created by the player during the robbery in under two minutes.

Mona Lisa’s hook is its speed-painting engine, which, in Kevin’s words: “offers the player the satisfaction of creating something beautiful in minutes, without silly things like lack of talent getting in the way.”

This isn’t the first time that Mona Lisa has punched above her weight and taken home the title.  Recently, Italic Pig Director Kevin Beimers “made history” at PocketGamer Connects London by unanimously winning the Very Big Indie Pitch; never in the seven years the VBIP has been running have all 15 judges agreed on a single clear winner.

In 2015, Mona Lisa was one of only four UK companies to be awarded a sizeable grant from the Creative Europe Media Subprogramme for the development of narrative-led video games. The award was soon after matched by an equally sizeable investment from Northern Ireland Screen.

Italic Pig specialises in character-driven adventures of the irreverently epic variety. Their debut game – Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark – is a quantum physics action-adventure game for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam that has been nominated for several writing and industry awards, including Best Game Script from the Writers’ Guilds of both Great Britain and Ireland. Mona Lisa recently won Best Casual Game at Game Connection Europe, and has since been marked as “one to look out for”.

For more information:

Kevin Beimers

kevin@italicpig.com

www.italicpig.com

@italicpig

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Industry News

Pitch-Perfect Painting Game Scores Big in London

Mona Lisa, the mischievous art heist and forgery game in development by Northern Irish game developers Italic Pig, delivered a grand slam to win the Very Big Indie Pitch in London last week.

Thirty-seven indie game companies participated in this year’s Very Big Indie Pitch (VBIP), arguably the highlight of the PocketGamer Connects conference last week in London. Each participant has no more than three minutes to showcase his or her game to a staggered panel of 15 judges, composed of industry veterans, journalists, enthusiasts and evangelists.

Italic Pig served up a game and pitch so grand, that it “made history”, said Dean Noakes, Indie Evangelist and one of the judges. It was the first time in the seven years the VBIP has been running that all judges agreed unanimously that a single game, Mona Lisa, was the clear winner.

“I couldn’t believe it when they announced Mona as the winner,” says Kevin Beimers, Founder of Italic Pig and Creator/Director of Mona Lisa. “Actually, yeah, I could totally believe it; it’s a fantastic game if I may say so myself. I’ve been working on it for a year and I’m still not tired of it.”

Mona Lisa is an artistic new adventure in development that combines stealth-platforming with speed-painting. Mona Lisa steals masterpieces from 16th century strongholds using the gadgets of Da Vinci to get in and out. When Mona locates her target painting, she quickly speed-paints a slapdash forgery of the masterpiece mid-heist to leave behind in the frame to fool the guards. The better the forgery, the easier the escape.

“In reality it’s much more complex and creative than the words ‘speed painting’ gives credit for,“ reported Emily Sowden from Steel Media (PocketGamer) after the event. One of the other Steel Media judges, Sam Simmons, thought that Mona Lisa delivered “an ingenious combination of platforming and speed painting with a solid narrative to drive us forward”.

Upon winning the event, Italic Pig was awarded an Amazon Kindle Fire HD10 for game development, a certificate worth $4000 of Steel Media’s promotional services, and an engraved VBIP Baseball Bat (which proved very inconvenient at airport security).

Next up for Italic Pig is the opportunity to hone their pitching skills further as they participate in Games London’s Pitch Bootcamp and Games Finance where they will be seeking additional finance to bring Mona Lisa to release.

In 2015, Mona Lisa was awarded a sizeable grant from the Creative Europe Media Subprogramme for the development of narrative-led video games, which was matched by an equally sizeable investment from Northern Ireland Screen.

Italic Pig specialises in character-driven adventures of the irreverently epic variety. Their debut game – Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark – is a quantum physics action-adventure game for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam that has been nominated for several writing and industry awards, including Best Game Script from the Writers’ Guilds of both Great Britain and Ireland. Mona Lisa recently won Best Casual Game at Game Connection Europe, and has since been marked as “one to look out for”.

For more information:
Kevin Beimers
kevin@italicpig.com
07979726519
www.italicpig.com
@italicpig

Categories
Developer News Industry News

Italic Pig Nominated for 5 Games Connection Development Awards

Northern Ireland game development studio Italic Pig have been nominated for five awards at Game Connection’s 2016 Development Awards for its latest project Mona Lisa. The award ceremony will take place during this year’s conference in in Paris from October 26th – 28th.

Mona Lisa, created by Italic Pig’s Kevin Beimers, is a stealth & forgery adventure that sees Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous creation brought to life as Renaissance Italy’s greatest art thief. The project received funding from Northern Ireland Screen via Invest NI.

Having picked up a number of awards and nominations for his last production Schrödinger’s Cat And The Raiders Of The Lost Quark, including Best Game Script nominations from both Writers’ Guilds of Great Britain and Ireland, Kevin continues to push the company’s impressive storytelling record by securing Mona Lisa nominations for Best Casual Game, Best Story/Storytelling, Most Creative/Original Game, Best Quality of Art and Best Indie Game. Italic Pig is the only member of the UK games industry to receive nominations at the event.

“The Game Connection Development Awards program is designed to shed light on the most innovative and creative projects that we can find and offers additional exposure to those developers who are constantly pushing the industry forward,” said Pierre Carde, CEO of Game Connection. “We are very excited for the Game Connection Development Awards to spotlight and award more projects than ever and we look forward to seeing what the newest crop of nominees will bring.”

Mona Lisa’s game concept pitch was a recipient of a prestigious development award from Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme, which, along with support from Northern Ireland Screen, has been used to fund the development process over the last year, utilising local homegrown talent to create a game with huge international appeal, whilst also helping to bolster the burgeoning games industry in the country.

The ambitious game sees you playing as Mona Lisa, a Renaissance robot of Da Vinci’s own design and a graceful and gadget-filled marvel of engineering perfection. When Mona is not busy breaking into 15th century strongholds and forging some of the greatest works of art that mankind has ever created, she is exploring the streets of Italy trying to solve a mystery that even Robert Langdon would struggle to make sense of.

“It’s an over the top mash-up of Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett and ‘springpunk’” describes Kevin Beimers, Mona Lisa creator, “Mona herself is a charming mix of Lara Croft and Inspector Gadget, clad in a modest floor-length dress. Leonardo, on the other hand, falls somewhere between Doc Brown and Peter Capaldi – amazed not so much by his own genius as by other’s stupidity. They make a great team to write for.”

The writer, director, programmer, artist and animator will attend the awards and the conference at the end of October hoping to not only secure more kudos for his company but also with a view to attracting further interest in Mona Lisa and exploring potential opportunities with publishers and distributors. Whilst the game will not be officially launched until 2017, Kevin will be showcasing exclusive first-look content from the game at the conference. For those familiar with the high-quality, narrative-driven games that he has been involved with in the past, Mona Lisa is sure to thrill.

For a full list of nominations visit the Game Connection website.

View the trailer for Mona Lisa below. 

Categories
Developer News

Italic Pig receive funding from Creative Europe

Northern Ireland based game studio Italic Pig have been awarded a grant by Creative Europe. 

Italic pig specialise in character-driven adventures and have received a grant of €122,500 to develop their adventure game entitled Mona Lisa. 

Kevin Beimers from Italic Pig “We are so excited to be diving into our next wild adventure game so hot on the heels of our last one. As a company that believes that the story is the key element to a great game, it’s wonderful to know that Creative Europe is providing funding specifically for great stories and great ideas in games and other media. In a world where match-3s, endless-runners and open-world shmups are saturating the market, it’s so great to know that there’s an organisation out there that still believes in the importance of a good story.” 

“We were delighted to give Italic Pig advice and support with their application, and are very pleased that their application to Creative Europe was successful, making them the first video games company in Northern Ireland to receive funding from Creative Europe. Funding for the development of video games is a new addition to Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme, which supports the European audio-visual sector,” from Agnieszka Moody, Director, Creative Europe Desk UK.

Northern Ireland Screen is also on board with Mona Lisa. With a long and illustrious reputation for helping Northern Irish entertainment studios get their big ideas off the ground, Northern Ireland Screen has approved match funding toward the Mona Lisa project.

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “We are delighted to be working with Italic Pig on such an exciting, engaging and unique concept. Italic Pig is a prominent member of an emerging group of interactive content creator developers based in Northern Ireland. Expectations for this project to succeed in the market place are extremely high and we are keen to support Kevin and his team at Italic Pig throughout the development process. We are also greatly appreciative of the funds that the Creative Europe MEDIA Award provides and extremely proud that key Northern Ireland talent can access this strand of funding.”

With the funds promised from Creative Europe and Northern Ireland Screen, Italic Pig aims to spend all of next year in development on Mona Lisa with a release in early 2017, using as much local talent as possible.

The competition for the Creative Europe grants, intended to support the early development stages of a game (up to the first playable version), was substantial. Altogether 182 applications were received from 24 countries. 

The full list of results can be viewed on the European Commission’s website