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The So-Fu program aims to empower Japanese indie developers by providing comprehensive support in product management, game development education, and honing their skills in pitching projects to stakeholders. Through this initiative, participants will gain invaluable insights into effectively managing their products, delve deeper into the intricacies of game development, and master the art of compelling project presentations to industry stakeholders.

The So-Fu program offers a fast-track guide to navigating Japan’s game development realm, courtesy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Tailored specifically for the nation’s independent gaming community, So-Fu, meaning “create a new wind,” extends mentorship and financial backing to indie developers. Unlike initiatives such as Screen Australia, which primarily focus on financial aid, So-Fu places emphasis on hands-on development essentials.

This initiative, as highlighted by developer Takaaki Ichijo, marks a significant milestone as the first direct governmental support for indie developers in Japan. Ichijo, who is actively engaged with the program, sees it as a crucial step in fostering the growth of Japanese indie game developers.

Eligibility for the program requires applicants to hold Japanese nationality or have permanent residency in Japan. Additionally, they must have completed high school by April 1, 2024, and be under the age of 35 for unspecified reasons.

Participants will benefit from a comprehensive curriculum, including lectures on industry trends, guidance on project management and production planning, and interactions with industry veterans like Koichi Takeshita, producer of Kuukiyomi, and Tomoko Miya, creator of Neon Noroshi.

The program’s timeline involves an “intermediate achievement presentation” in October, followed by a final meeting in February 2025, where participants will present their projects to industry stakeholders.

Concurrently, a similar program for film is underway, following a comparable schedule.

Applications for both programs are currently open until April 26. An explanatory seminar will be held on April 4, with sign-ups available until March 28.

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