Video game cultural test guidelines revealed

Video game cultural test guidelines revealed
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

April 1st 2014 at 12:40PM

New documentation shows eligibility requirements to apply for tax breaks

The British Film Institute has revealed draft guidelines for the UK's video games cultural test, which developers must pass in order to be eligible for tax relief.

Studios must obtain 16 points out of 31 to be approved for tax breaks. Areas cover the game's location setting, cultural contribution, how much of the game's development has taken place in the UK and the number of staff from Europe.

As the recently announced tax breaks come into effect from today, April 1st, the BFI has begun accepting draft applications for games. Applicants can submit a draft pre-approval application online for the cultural test here.

It should be noted that tax relief is not backdateable to April 1st, 2013.

You can view the cultural test below.

Section A – Cultural content
A1 - Set in the UK or an EEA state or (Up to 3 points will be awarded for set in an undetermined location) (Up to 4 Points)
A2 - Lead characters British or EEA citizens or residents (or characters from an undetermined location) (Up to 4 Points)
A3 - Video game based on British subject matter or relates to an EEA state or underlying material (4 points)
A4 - Original dialogue recorded mainly in English language or one of six UK indigenous languages (Up to 4 Points)

Section B – Cultural contribution
B - Video game represents/reflects British creativity, British heritage or diversity (Up to 4 Points)

Section C – Cultural hubs
C1 - At least 50% of the conceptual development or storyboarding or programming or design takes place in the UK (2 points)
C2 - At least 50% of the music recording or audio production or voice recording takes place in the UK (1 point)

Section D – Personnel
D1 - 1 of the 3 lead project leaders is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D2 - 1 of the 3 lead scriptwriters is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D3 - 1 of the 3 lead composers is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D4 - 1 of the 3 lead artists is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D5 - 1 of the 3 lead programmers is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D6 - 1 of the 3 lead designers is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D7 - At least 1 of the 7 key HoDs is an EEA citizen or resident (1 point)
D8 - At least 50% of the development team are EEA citizens or residents (1 point)

There is also an undetermined location rule to take into consideration. Games set in or characters from an undetermined location will be eligible for points in Section A1 and A2, but only if points are scored in sections A3, A4 or B.

This covers whether the subject matter is British or relates to an EEA state, if the dialogue was recorded mainly in English or a UK indigenous language, or if the game reflects British creative, heritage or diversity.

There is also a Golden Points Rule that applies if a game scores all 15 points in sections C, D and A4. In this event, points must also be obtained in specific areas to pass the cultural test. You can view the flow chart below for further details.

 

Supporting documents are also required by the BFI to complete its assessment of each application. Documents requested are:

  • Video game scripts.
  • Complete synopsis or treatment of the video game screenplay.
  • Game schedules/production schedule.
  • Production budget/final cost report – the most up-to-date copy of the total long-form budget.
  • A copy of the chain of title – the most up-to-date [if applying for points under section A3(b)].

For all the documentation needed for the cultural test, visit the BFI's official website. You can view the full draft guidelines for the cultural test here.