Kai Hutchence’s love letter to his hometown is turning it virtual.
“The video game is a retro, 8-bit adventure brawler set here in Regina,” said Hutchence.
The local game developer has created Queen City Chaos, a video game based entirely in Regina.
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While the game is still in its early stages of development, the demo features mutant battles, popular folklore, and iconic city landmarks.
“The bandstand in Wascana Park is one of the landmarks featured in the game,” Hutchence said.
The demo also shows scenes of the Albert Street Bridge and the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.
After working in Ontario for more than a decade, Hutchence recently returned to Regina to open his own company called Massive Corporation Game Studios.
Part of the reason he returned is to help grow and develop the industry he loves, in Regina.
“I wanted to come back and build the industry here so the next generation doesn’t have to leave Regina,” Hutchence said.
Saskatchewan has struggled to break into the video game industry, which is worth more than $100-billion in sales globally.
Hutchence is part of a group of local video game developers who are advocating for more support for their industry in the province.
In 2017, Taylor Eichhorst and Michael Berger quit their tech jobs to open an independent game development company based in Regina.
BitCutter Studios has developed two games.
The first game called Balloonatics, available on Steam is a multi-player game that involves player pilots suspended in balloons while chasing after objects, and allows players to complete different levels.
The other game called Groove Gunner, which is still in development, is a targeted shooting game set to music submitted by independent artists.
“It’s tough to convince someone to stay here unless they’ve already got a job working in the industry,” said Eichhorst.
Eichhorst says what’s missing is funding to get starter ventures off the ground.
Other provinces offer tax-incentives to developers and those working in the sector.
While there are grants available in Saskatchewan, the developers say they’re few and far between.
“One reason you’re not going to see people wanting to move into Saskatchewan to start-up this type of business is that you’re taking a chance,” said Berger. “There’s a lot more support in other provinces.”
However, some companies have managed to level-up with their games.
CupHead, created by two brothers in Regina, recently turned triple platinum with more than 3-million copies sold worldwide.
Others are hoping for that kind of success both locally and globally as the industry continues to grow.
“There’s something for everyone,” Hutchence said. “It’s going to be a solid video game no matter whether you know what Regina is or not.”
Queen City Chaos is expected to be available for purchase this fall.
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