Procedurally-generated survival horror Phantasmal taken out the top prize in the New Zealand Game Developer Association’s KiwiGameStarter competition.

The other finalists from a field of 18 were FrogShark's local multiplayer brawler Swordy and sci-fi racer Vector 36 by Red River Studio.

The competition was put together to give a boost to a team who are already developing a product and business plan, said NZGDA chairperson Ben Kenobi at its launch in August.

Phantasmal creator Joe Chang will receive NZ$10,000, Autodesk Maya LT and Unity 3D software, legal advice from Hudson Gavin Martin, and marketing consulting from Pursuit Public Relations.

He will also be introduced to other successful entertainment software businesses for mentoring.

First-person survival horror Phantasmal wins NZ$25K KiwiGameStarter comp
Phantasmal creator Joe Chang.

“I wasn't too sure over all, as the other teams had really strong games technically,” said Chang.

“I think I felt my chances were pretty good from the business perspective, as I have experience from running a business as well as the fact that planning has been a big part of my corporate career.”

“I felt surprised, elated, and overwhelmed! I've won competitions before, but this is in something that I've dreamed of my whole life,” he added.

“Getting somewhere, receiving the attention in an industry that I've wanted to be in for so long puts me in a place beyond happiness!”

The competition was judged by Diablo creator Dave Brevik of Gazillion Games (Marvel Heroes), Autodesk's David Zwierzchaczewski, PikPok's Mario Wynands, and the NZ Game Developer Association's Stephen Knightly.

"The quality was really strong and you could easily imagine any of the three finalists being at home on Steam," said Knightly.

"Ultimately Phantasmal won as Joe not only had a demo of his concept, but a solid team, a business plan and some evidence it was a game that people wanted to play.

“The KiwiGameStarter is not just about who has a great idea for a game, but who can execute it best and make a business out of it."

First-person survival horror Phantasmal wins NZ$25K KiwiGameStarter comp

Knightly said that the NZ Game Developers Association plans to run the KiwiGameStarter again next year, "so start planning and making games now".

Phantasmal has had a lot of attention as of late. We covered its genesis two weeks ago, and shortly thereafter it was played by YouTube’s most-subscribed Let’s Play personality, PewDiePie. That video has since been played more than 2.7 million times.

“In the short term, having PewDiePie play our game has been one of the immediate wins alongside meeting David Brevik and winning the KiwiGameStarter,” said Chang.

The game is in the final third of its Kickstarter campaign, and has raised NZ$8,576 of its NZ$15,000 goal with nine days of fundraising remaining.