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Alumni’s game goes to next level after funds boost


A still from a computer game of the inside of a tent at a country show

A new video game made by former University of Bradford students is set to be released after receiving a £30,000 funding boost.

It’s Grim Up North has been handed the grant from the UK Games Fund after a successful application. The grant has been used to expand the game’s development and for its artwork.

The grant was awarded to the game’s makers in two different rounds earlier this year, the first application for £12,000 and the second saw them receive £18,000 to use towards the adventure game.

An image from a computer game featuring a number of terraced houses and shops

It’s Grim Up North’s story, pictured above, aimed at anyone aged 12 or over, is based on Bradford and Yorkshire and sees alien shape-shifters invade Earth and it is up to an elderly detective to find them. He does this by testing aliens’ knowledge on a range of Yorkshire icons including the Yorkshire Rose and Bradford-born artist David Hockney. 

The game will be split into four separate chapters and it is hoped the first will be released in early 2024. 

Alumni student stands in front of shelves filled with video games

The game’s eight-strong team includes alumni Ahseem Yousuf, 26, its writer who also works as a freelance videographer, graduated with a BA (Hons) Film and Television Production from the University of Bradford in 2021, while his brother Harun Ali, 30, pictured above, the game’s founder, creative director and designer, graduated in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Graphics for Games and works as associate producer for No Brakes Games in Tenerife, Spain. They have worked alongside games artist Faisal Hussain, pictured below, who also studied at the University of Bradford.

Alumni student stands in foreground on basketball court

Ahseem, pictured below, said: “It’s a very good thing for students at the University to see, to get inspiration from this. Hopefully it will inspire more people to try it. 

“It’s quite exciting. It’s very nice to see it get made and finished. A lot of work has gone into it. I’ve written about 80,000 words for the game. It’s an episodic game. In the first level of the game you have to make a Yorkshire rose. 

Alumni student sits down on red sofa in TV studio

“It’s kind of cool to see that an indie game is getting the funding. It’s hard to get funding. It will open up doors for us. They must have seen some sort of potential in the game to fund it.

“The levels were quite small initially. We have added more themes and parts of the puzzle. We’ve expanded the story. It’s getting bigger and better.”

The UK Games Fund is run by UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit company which aims to develop the UK games development sector and boost the UK’s games industry.