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Dream come true for students after SAGA win

When the students in the group Skamvrån won the SAGA award in 2020 for their game Die, Recompile, some of them decided to follow their dream of starting a game company. With Science Park Skövde's startup program behind them, they founded Ember Paw Games, which is now working on the game Odinfall.

Skövde Academic Game Award (SAGA) is an award for new computer game talents at the University of Skövde. Skövde municipality is behind the prize, which is awarded during the annual conference. Sweden Game Conference in Skövde. The winners will share SEK 20 000. In 2020, the group Skamvrån won the prize with the game Die, Recompile. One of the students behind the game is Oscar Axelsson, now a designer and graphic artist at Ember Paw Games.

- The SAGA win gave me enough confidence to follow my dream of starting and running an indie game company," says Oscar Axelsson.

Profit became start-up capital

Already in his third academic year at the University, he applied to the Science Park Skövde's startup program together with five others, both members of Skamvrån and other familiar students. Four of them remained, and thanks to the prize money from SAGA they had a small start-up capital.

- We were 15 members of Skamvrån and charged 1000 SEK each. Those of us who took the project forward used the rest of the money to pay fees and rent.

The formation of Ember Paw Games happened quickly and it wasn't just because they were eager to fulfill their dream, there was also a more urgent reason. UK-based Fireshine Games, a game publisher, had taken an interest in the young game developers and wanted to fund them.

Science Park's startup program leads the way

- It means a lot to us that we are part of Science Park Skövde's startup program. We receive continuous guidance from selected coaches and regularly attend lectures on everything from how a company works to how to market your game. There are also events where you can pitch your product to publishers around the world. This is how we found Fireshine Games in London.

Working on the new game Odinfall

Thanks to the funding, Ember Paw has been able to finish the development of the student project Die, Recompile and is now working on its new game - Die, Recompile's spiritual and more ambitious sequel Odinfall.

- Now we are working hard on Odinfall! It is a top-down roguelite shooter set in a post-apocalyptic Sweden. The player navigates through randomly generated levels in search of weapons and upgrades to defeat Odin.

The hope is that Odinfall will sell well enough for Ember Paw Games to continue creating games.

- Making my own indie game is the coolest thing I know and I'm lucky to work with three other people who feel the same way.

What are your tips for students who can submit their entries to SAGA now?

- It may sound like a cliché, but the most important thing about SAGA is not winning, it's the friends and colleagues you find during the game project. I could never have started a business on my own, and the game project course that led to SAGA was a trial by fire to find out who had the same drive as me.

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