Edmonton’s explosion in indie game developers fuelled by culture of curiosity, support

Edmonton game developer Andrew Czarnietzki and his wife, Jen LaFace, created the video game Curved Space together. They say the city's culture of creativity and support for the gaming industry helps indie game studios like the one they started out of their home. (Submitted by Andrew Czarnietzki - image credit)

Curved Space – Announcement Trailer | PS4, PS5

Andrew Czarnietzki is only too happy to show off physical copies of Curved Space, a 3D twin-stick shooter featuring “transtemporal spiders.”

It’s the realization of a childhood dream to one day develop his own video game.

“It was just crazy to unbox this and see this thing made manifest — and real.”

Czarnietzki is one half of Only by Midnight Ltd., an independent game studio he started with his wife, Jen Laface. Over the past few years the couple have worked jobs, raised their young child, and somehow found time to develop a video game, all from their Edmonton home.

“I find that with Edmonton, you get this atmosphere of support, which has been great,” said Laface.

Alberta’s capital is famously home to game giant Bioware, which planted roots there in 1995 and grew to prominence after a slew of highly-regarded video game blockbusters like the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series.

In more recent years, Bioware has been joined by other well-known studios like Improbable and Beamdog.

But a scene of smaller, independent game developers has grown in Edmonton’s fertile gaming soil, leveraging a ready talent pool and supportive community to create a space for hobbyists, full-time professionals and everything in between.

The Edmonton Screen Industries Office estimates there are now around 75 indie game developers in the city.