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Regina company grant to help grow video game industry in Saskatchewan

Samantha Ramsay of Regina is the recipient of the first-ever Massive Sacks of Cash grant.
Samantha Ramsay of Regina is the recipient of the first-ever Massive Sacks of Cash grant. Connor O'Donovan / Global News

A Regina company is investing its money into game developers to help grow the video game industry in Saskatchewan.

“One of the problems we’re facing in Saskatchewan with growing this industry is that we don’t have any history with it,” said Kai Hutchence, CEO of Massive Corporation Game Studios.

“What we thought was needed was some level of support where we can help people who are pursuing it as a hobby and try to take it up to that next level.”

So the company created a grant to do just that.

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Samantha Ramsay of Regina was awarded Massive Corporation Game Studios’ first-ever Massive Sacks of Cash grant. She will be receiving $500 per month to use as she sees fit.

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“A lot of people are stuck in treadmill jobs, paying their bills, paying their debt obligations and unfortunately that means they don’t have the time and energy to really pursue their dream career,” Hutchence said.

Ramsay, who co-founded Cheekynauts, will use the money to pay down student debt so she can focus more on developing her game Moonshell Island.

“In this type of work, you’re doing it on the side. You’re not expecting it to pay off any time soon because it takes so long to have a group of concepts,” Ramsay said. “Whenever something does go your way, where you have some support that will push you that much more forward — it’s incredible.”

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Ramsay has been working on Moonshell Island for a year. She expects to have a demo ready and presented in time for the Sask Expo in May.

“[The video game] is largely about exploring the island, saving it from monsters and unveiling the mysteries in the story and building a community,” Ramsay said.

“It’s somewhat of a social simulation game because you get to know characters on the island and helping them with their individual goals.”

A screengrab of Moonshell Island, a game being developed by Regina resident Samantha Ramsay
A screengrab of Moonshell Island, a game being developed by Regina resident Samantha Ramsay. Photo courtesy of Cheekynauts

She believes her game has huge potential and is grateful she’s been given a chance by Massive Corporation Game Studios.

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“It feels hard to get ahead in this industry because you have to do it on the side and there’s not a whole lot of support for it yet. This grant is a great place to start to inspire that growth,” Ramsay said.

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“It gives us hope there are people out there who want to support us and that believe in our projects. Maybe we can start up [an industry] here. I think it could be big if we’re inspired and there’s a chance for us.
“I think this [grant] is going to spark a lot of change.”
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