Epic Games has joined forces with charity foundation Wellcome Trust to launch Developing Beyond, a year-long game dev competition worth $500,000.
The Gears of War creator wants aspiring creatives to submit "compelling, immersive, and highly entertaining" game ideas based on the theme of "Transformations," with a view to funding the development of all-new IPs.
The contest is only open to developers based in Europe, and all submissions must be developed for PC using Epic's own Unreal Engine 4 technology. A panel of judges will sift through each entry and choose six semi-finalists by February 20, 2017.
Each semi-finalist will then receive $15,000 to take their idea further. By July they'll need to present their work at Develop: Brighton, at which point three teams will be selected to enter the last leg of the competition.
The final three will each net an additional $60,000 to continue their work and create a Minimum Viable Product, before a winner is picked and awarded $150,000 in January, 2018. Cash prizes of $50,000 and $30,000 will also be handed to the second and third-placed teams, respectively.
"This is a significant commitment and a great opportunity for studios. Taking a leap into the unknown on new IP takes courage but can be both creatively and commercially highly rewarding," said Epic's European territory manager, Mike Gamble.
"With Developing Beyond we want to share some of that risk, helping participants to create the best possible minimum viable project and giving them a chance to win the competition."
The deadline for applications is February 10. Those interested in taking part can find out more, and read through the full terms and conditions, over on the Developing Beyond website.