Four video game developers are getting up to $250,000 to develop prototypesafter they made it into the final round of Telefilm Canada's Great Canadian Video Game Competition.

Hothead Games Inc. of Vancouver, Mindhabits Inc. of Montreal and Ontario developers Big Blue Bubble of London and Cerebral Vortex Games of St. Catharines survived Round 2 of the contest, Telefilm Canada executive director Wayne Clarkson announced at a reception Wednesday night in Toronto.

The companies will now receive up to $250,000 each from the Crown corporationto build a playable prototype of their games andcreate a business and marketing plan to draw further financing and private investment.

"The level of talent and entrepreneurship shown by Canadian independent game developers has been nothing short of amazing," Clarkson said in a news release.

"We believe these four Round 2 winners best meet the criteria of the competition, and we are excited to see how their prospects will progress over the next several months."

The companies were selected from a group of 10 quarter-finalists named in January by an jury of industry executives, including Yannis Mallat, chief executive officer of Ubisoft Montreal; Ron Moravek, vice-president and chief operating officer of Electronic Arts Canada, and Kelly Zmak, president of Vivendi Universal-owned Radical Entertainment.

The Round 2 winning pitches were made at the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco earlier this month.

In September, one of the four companies will be declared the winner and receive up to $500,000 in matching funds from Telefilm to publish and sell their game.

The competition,to foster growth of ahome-grown games industry, has three rounds that echo traditional industry financing: Innovation (Round 1), product development (Round 2) and commercialization (Round 3).

The original group of 10 competitors also included: HB Studios & TPB Productions of Lunenburg, N.S.; Humagade Ltd. of Quebec City; LiveWires Designs Ltd., Vancouver and Dark Matter Entertainment, Hop To It Productions Inc.and 33 Magnetic Inc. of Toronto.