Womenize – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition in cooperation with the Film und Medien Stiftung NRW, we talked to Sonja Hawranke and Katharina Glowka, the Co-Founders of Golden Orb. Read more about them in this interview:
Hi Sonja and Katharina! Three years ago, you decided to take the huge step to found your own game development studio, Golden Orb. Could you tell us a bit more about each of your roles at the company, as well as how you found your ways into the games industry?

Sonja: We both started as interns within a year from each other at the game studio Bright Future in Cologne and were both offered full-time contracts after the internship. That was about 13 years ago, so we gathered a decent amount of work experience in the gaming industry before founding our own studio. Katharina is our graphics artist, I’m our software engineer and we share game design tasks as well as administrative work.

Founding and maintaining a company can be a difficult process. Since you’ve successfully founded Golden Orb, do you have any advice for people who also want to found their own games company, for example regarding the financial means?

Katharina: Take all the help you can get! Here in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, there are some very helpful initiatives for games startups such as the Mediengründerzentrum NRW, the accelerator program from SpielFabrique, the Ubisoft BlueByte Entrepreneurs and more, which can provide expertise and sometimes even financial support. Of course, there are also general startup programs, which might help through the founding bustle.

Patience is a very handy skill when founding a company in Germany. Everything takes time… and a whole lot of paper! It surely is advisable to talk to a tax consultant and maybe a lawyer before even thinking about what kind of company you would like to found. Listen to speakers at conferences or events. There is so much knowledge about founding, financials and best (or worst) practices which is given away generously to all it may appeal.

Tell us more about your new game, Siebenstreich’s Nerdventure, which has just been released a couple of days ago. What makes it special?

Sonja: “Siebenstreich’s Nerdventure” is a 2D pop culture fairytale adventure where contemporary topics like sustainability, diversity and others are transported into a fantasy world. Its story is wrapped into a pen & paper RPG setting with quite a few allusions to game classics, movies and (nerd) lore. We also added a generous helping of humor and fairy dust for good measure. So, all in all it should make for a very entertaining gaming experience which hopefully also provides some food for thought. On the technical side, what might be interesting is that it features two independent interaction designs: One for mouse (pretty much the classic point & click you’d expect in an adventure) and one for gamepads (a real design, not just a cursor emulation).

Thanks for your time and advice!

Links: Golden Orb WebsiteGolden Orb @ TwitterGolden Orb @ InstagramSiebenstreich @ Facebook Siebenstreich on Steam

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Jessica Hackenbroch