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$500,000 year-long development competition launches next month

Developing Beyond is a collaboration between Epic Games and Wellcome Trusts, comedian Susan Calman and industry legend John Romero among the judges

Epic Games and Wellcome Trust have joined forces to create a year-long competition with a prize pot of $500,000 for developers.

Entitled Developing Beyond, the contest is open to all European developers and aims to support studios as they try to create a minimum viable product over the course of one year. The deadline for applications is February 10th, with devs required to submit fresh game ideas based on the competition's theme: Transformations.

However, there's more to the theme than you might think. Submissions are also expected to "explore the human condition - whether across moments or generations, microscopic or global, historical, geographic, or indeed contemporary", according to the announcement.

The organisers continue: "Human bodies and populations across the world are constantly changing, and with this comes new opportunities, unforeseen journeys and incredible challenges; from the consequences of a global shift towards urban living, to technological innovations revolutionising lives and even bacteria outwitting the best antibiotics."

Six semi-finalists will be announced on February 20th, each of which receiving $15,000 and the support of a scientist to help take their concept further. The progress of these projects will be judged at Develop:Brighton in July, where three finalists will be selected and awarded a further $60,000.

The winner will be chosen in January 2018 and will receive $150,000. $50,000 will be given to the studio in second place, with $30,000 for third place.

The games will be judged by a full jury of experts, which will be revealed on February 20th, and will be chaired by comedian, broadcaster and games fan Susan Calman. Industry legend John Romero has also been confirmed as a judge.

"Games have always been a passion of mine," said Calman. "They entertain and consume you like nothing else. Getting to look inside developers' heads for year is an absolute dream; I can't wait to get started."

Studios can apply for a place in Developing Beyond via the official website.

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