Leveling The Playing Field Launched

Leveling The Playing Field Launched

Leave it up to the goat folks to do good…

On Tuesday, Coffee Stain Studios, the developer and publisher of the infamous Goat Simulator, announced a new initiative meant to focus on “promoting gender equality within game development studios”. This initiative, being called ‘Leveling the Playing Field’ is aimed at smaller development teams with at least half their team being made up of women.

“The current level of employment equality between women and men in the games industry is poor. In the Swedish games industry only 18% of its employees are women. This number is increasing every year, however at Coffee Stain we are way too impatient to idly sit by and wait for true equality in the industry to come about. It is with this in mind that we are creating a new funding opportunity aimed at smaller development teams where at least half of the staff whose staff is made up of women” – Anton Westbergh, CEO and Founder of Coffee Stain

To qualify for this initiative, you need only meet the following three requirements:

  • At least half of your team is made up of women employees. (They later confirmed on Twitter that if a team has 50% women and/or non-binary people they can apply)
  • Your team should be a “small team”. (This seems to be the most nebulous part of the initiative: what qualifies as “small”?)
  • You need less than 1,000,000 SEK (Around  $130,000 US Dollars, 102,000 Euros, 89,000 GB Pounds, or 12 Bitcoin)

Application is done via email (levelingtheplayingfield@coffeestain.se) and applicants are encouraged to “present [their] game with whatever means you find appropriate: playable demo, video trailer, design document, etc”.  Applicants are also encouraged to go into detail on their  team, who they are, where they are from, all that good personal story stuff (More info = better chance of funding).

Coffee Stain isn’t waiting around and they have already given funding to Danish/Swedish studio, Other Tales Interactive. Other Tales Interactive is run by developers Tanja Tankred and Mira Dorthé, and is focused on a common love for narrative-driven games. Other Tales Interactive was also part of the Stugan Swedish incubator, which we’ve heard about before.


They are now working on Tick Tock: A Tale for Two, a two-player adventure game where players have to communicate and collaborate in order to solve puzzles and piece together a story. Coffee Stain has offered assistance to Other Tales through funding and guidance. Tick Tock: A Tale for Two has already been nominated for several awards, can be wish listed on Steam now, and is due out this year.

“We are super excited about collaborating with Coffee Stain and to be a part of their initiative Leveling the Playing Field. It’s great that Coffee Stain are actively working towards diversifying the game industry and we are looking forward to seeing more awesome companies getting the same opportunities. On a personal level, it is great to be working with a company of skilled people that can offer advice and guidance on all aspects of game development.” –Tanja Tankred, Co-Founder of Other Tales Interactive 

Coffee Stain Studio have made it clear that this not a charity; it is about helping to further increase gender equality within the games industry. While they are not looking for huge returns on investment, they have stated that they are  “only going to invest in teams we think can make it”. This would take the form of a minority stake in an accepted company, with any eventual profits being used to make “Leveling The Playing Field” self-sustaining.

Check out the Leveling The Playing Field site directly if you want to learn more.


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Editor-in-Chief of IndieHangover.com. With a soft spot for epics, sagas and tales of all types, Jacob approaches games as ways to tell stories. He's particularly interested in indie games because of the freedom they have to tell different stories, often in more interesting and innovative ways than Triple A titles.