Norwegian developers Rock Pocket Games have received royal funds. The indy studio announced that the Norwegian Film Institute, a government body under the auspices of Norway’s Ministry of Culture, had provided funding to the tune of 1.6 million krone (~$187,000). The investment will be used to continue the development of their game, Moons of Madness

Moons of Madness is a Lovecraft-inspired, first person psychological horror game. Players will be placed in the role of Shane Newehart as he struggles through the supernatural events that occur on research station Trailblazer Alpha, one of the first scientific outposts on Mars. Players will explore a hard science interpretation of the red planet as they uncover the mystery surrounding Shane’s past and learn the secrets behind the titular moons of madness. The game is currently being developed for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and is targeted for release during Q1 2018.

Moons of Madness is a very ambitious project and since we moved from Unity to Unreal for the project there is a certain trial and error aspect of how to streamline our workflow within the team. Thanks to the additional funding it bridges the gap between development and production,” said Natascha Röösli, Producer at Rocket Pocket Games.

So far as funding goes, Rock Pocket Games is unique in that has not sought out venture capital. Its funding to date has come from more official bodies, including the NFI, the Creative Europe Media Fund, and Innovasjon Norge, a branch of the Norwegian Government distinct from the NFI. The studio has managed to raise close to half a million dollars from these sources.

“We are incredibly grateful to NFI for another round of funding. This will get us over some hurdles that we are facing regarding our experience,” added Röösli. “As developers, we are new to narrative driven games and additional funding means we can focus on getting help in the areas we need support. In this case it means having a consultant for movie related work for cut-scenes or also in regards to stronger dialogue writing. We can finally start focusing on the larger scope of the game and take the experiences we have from the vertical slice with us on the road.”