WINNIPEG – ZenFri Inc., a start-up creative company in Winnipeg has been selected for a $250,000 investment by the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) to develop their ground-breaking new videogame for smartphones, “Clandestine Anomaly.”

27-year-old Corey King, ZenFri’s “Chief Executive Artist” King assembled a Canada-wide team of 40 writers, modellers, artists, programmers, game designers and computer scientists. Some of the team have been working on art 3D models and scripts for the game for more than a year.

“Some of this funding is about taking technology straight from the lab in Canadian universities and using it to build a better game, and that’s pretty cool,” says King, “But out ultimate goal with Clandestine Anomaly is to create an epic adventure science fiction game that you can play on your smartphone.”

King credited the work of his team to date, as well as support from New Media Manitoba for its role in securing the CMF investment. Louie Ghiz of New Media Manitoba said that it was a sign that the game development community in Manitoba is starting to gain momentum with the creation of original, compelling intellectual property.

“In the Interactive Digital Media Industry we’ve got a wealth of creative and technological skills here in Manitoba,” said Ghiz. “It’s really exciting to see ZenFri building a game using a very strong team of local talent and cutting-edge technology to create a groundbreaking product in mobile game development”.

The team includes a range of partners, and includes industry veterans, young hotshots and researchers academe:

  • Winnipeg team members include Zenfri Inc., Jei Kohlenberg of Dark Spark Studios, Dwayne Rudy of Evodant Interactive, and Dougald Lamont of Jetpack Media.
  • Saskatchewan team members include Gemini-award-winning Talking Dog Studios (who worked on sound for Corner Gas), and Prince Albert-based animation lead, Adam Ferguson.
  • In Montreal, Miralupa is an indie game studio whose designers have worked on titles including Indiana Jones and Rango.
  • ZenFri is also working with researchers at the University of Manitoba and the University of Alberta to take their cutting-edge research and find ways of applying it to gaming.

The game itself is a science-fiction adventure game that will combine “augmented reality” character – computer generated 3D models that are integrated with the environment when viewed through a smartphone’s camera – as well as using GPS to place characters in real-world locations, including the player’s own neighbourhood. The goal will be to create a game that can be played anywhere in the world.

“We’re taking a whole bunch of elements that have never been put together in quite this combination, and that makes it an exciting project, both as a game as an exercise in storytelling,” said King.

King said that ZenFri will also be pursuing funding through “Kickstarter,” a U.S. based “crowdfunding” website that has raised millions of dollars for independent creative projects, from books and films to games.

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