Especially in recent years, the German video expo Gamescom has developed into an important meeting point for game developers from all over the world to present their works to a larger audience. Southeast Asia was also strongly represented last year. Now, the trade fair had to switch to a purely digital concept due to the pandemic. Unlike in the past, the developers were now able to at least save the high travel costs – but does that mean in return that more games from Southeast Asia could be seen and played? We must admit: Compared to last year, there were fewer surprises this time, but a lot of new things from games which were already announced. In this article we will discuss these games and the possible reasons for the cautious participation in general.
Let’s talk about the games first, which we have categorized according to their country of origin as usual:
Malaysia’s flagship project GigaBash was extremely present at the fair. Not only with a virtual booth in the Indie Arena, but also with many live streams that gave insights into the gameplay. GigaBash is a multiplayer brawler in which up to 4 players fight each other in the form of huge monsters and don’t mind any casualties. Sounds trashy and it definitely is! The production values, however, reveal that an ambitious project is emerging here: online and offline modes, pretty 3D worlds with destructible environments, numerous special abilities, and events that transform the playing field (erupting volcano). As part of Gamescom, the makers Passion Republic Games announced another playable character named Skorak: a snail that lives in a skull and can throw it at opponents. Gigabash is due to appear for PC and PlayStation 4 in 2021.
Game veteran and solo developer Nerdook (Monster Slayers) uses the presence of his publisher Digerati to present the world a trailer and the demo for his latest project The Magister. If you compare it with his previous works, this could be his most ambitious project, because it mixes murder mystery mixes with turn-based fights, RPG elements and card-based deck building. The idiosyncratic but nicely animated drawing style catches the eye. Up until now, Nerdook was mainly known for games with sophisticated game mechanics, but whether he can also tell good stories will be revealed with the release of The Magister towards the end of the year.
Development studio Aeonsparx Interactive had brought four games with them: Zombie Soup, Zombie Remix, Hexlords: Quantum Warfare and Food Brawl: Survival Shooter. The last three are mobile games while Zombie Soup will be released for the PC. Contrary to what the title might suggest, Zombie Soup is not a cooking game but a motley top down shooter with an 80s aesthetic in which we will give the undead a lot of heat. Zombie Soup will be released 2021 on Steam.
With the monster-raising simulation Re: Legend and the coop multiplayer brawler Bake ‘n Switch (Review), there were also two games from Malaysia that have already been released and wanted to use the big stage to attract further customers.
The biggest announcement from Indonesia was certainly made by Agate Games. The successful studio presented their latest title Tirta at the devcom developer conference. The game, announced as a flagship project, relies on a third person perspective and will be Zelda-like with strong influences from Balinese culture. If you want to learn more about Tirta, we recommend you check out our extensive preview.
Kucingku Mana & Billy Makin Kid
We had the chance to chat with Hermanto Kurniawan from SLAB Games about their latest games. First, there is Kucingku Mana?, a light-hearted puzzle game for Android in which we’ll have to find our lost cat. The game is already available in the Play Store, but SLAB Games is already working on new content such as DLC, in-app purchases and a game room for the cat. Then we got a glimpse into the remake of Billy Makin Kid, which is based on a successful flash game from 2011. Billy Makin Kid will be a mixture of tower defense and RTS with light puzzle elements. The developers are planning to completely redesign the game for large screens and add new content to it. Billy Makin Kid will be released for mobile devices as well as on Steam.
When The Past Was Around
What a huge success for the small indie studio Mojiken, Toge Productions and the entire Indonesian game scene! The beautifully drawn point & click adventure When The Past Was Around actually won the award for the best game at the Indie Arena Booth. Rightly so, because the game combines the unique style of Brigitta Rena (She & The Light Bearer) with an emotional story about love and separation. If you want, you can already play the prologue on Steam!
A Space for the Unbound
And here is another game from Mojiken and Toge Productions! The point & click adventure A Space for the Unbound has been in development for a long time and tells the story of two children who encounter supernatural events in the Indonesia of the 90s. The wonderful 2D pixel graphics are particularly appealing. Just in time for Gamescom it was announced that with PQube a suitable publisher had been found. A Space for the Unbound is scheduled to be released in the third quarter of 2021 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Steam. Here, too, there is already a playable prologue on Steam.
My Lovely Wife
With My Lovely Wife, GameChanger and Toge Productions presented us with the successor to the controversial management game My Lovely Daughter. In this latest work, we again create magical beings that we send to work in a village. The gameplay demo shows that My Lovely Wife relies on well-known gameplay with detailed improvements – let’s hope that this time the moral dilemma can be better implemented! A release date has not yet been announced for the game.
Crashing action awaits us in Rising Hell. Also from Toge Productions and this time with Tahoe Games, this game is a vertical platformer rogue-lite in 2D pixel style. The name of the game already gives it away, the player ends up in hell, whose hordes have to be defeated. Rising Hell has already appeared in Early Access on Steam and there is also a playable demo here.
The makers of the multiplayer twin stick brawler Retrograde Arena presented their latest game at devcom. Hotline Miami meets Max Payne – this is how Freemergency describes their project, and that’s probably the best way to describe it. From a bird’s eye view, we mainly fight and shoot our way through a series of rooms. However, the developers added a rewind function to the whole thing, with the help of which errors can be eliminated and the “perfect” run can be created. Action Time can already be tried out on itch.io.
Another first work is Samudra by Khayalan Arts. The game is a narrative 2D platformer in which we accompany a little boy on his adventurous journey through the littered ocean. The game sees itself as a commentary on increasing environmental pollution, especially in the oceans. An exciting task and if gameplay and story work well together, Samudra might become one of the most interesting games of the coming years!
Knight vs Giant
A remake of a former flash game is Knight vs Giant by Gambir Studio. At the same time, it is the first PC game by the successful mobile games developer. Knight vs Giant will be an open-world hack ‘n slash game that relies on a hand-drawn 2D look and is due to appear on Steam in 2021.
At devcom, we saw a very short teaser trailer for the third person shooter Project Darma, the latest game from Anoman Studios (Orbiz). But unfortunately the developers couldn’t or didn’t want to give us any further information, so you’ll just have to watch it yourself. Looks pretty exciting though!
Furthermore, the two successful titles Coffee Talk and Necronator: Dead Wrong from Toge Productions were playable at the Indie Arena Booth. We have already reviewed both games on Virtual SEA where you can discover more about those games.
Project Xandata is possibly the most ambitious project that is currently being developed in the Philippines. Exactly for this reason, the developers of Secret 6 were looking for investors and publishers, because developing a good multiplayer shooter is not an easy task. The gameplay of Project Xandata is reminiscent of a mixture of classic 3D arena shooters like Quake and the modern hero shooters surrounding Blizzard’s Overwatch. Project Xandata relies on team play (3 vs 3), classes and skills. It is still unclear when the game will be released. Interested players can already put Project Xandata on their Steam wishlist.
BAYANI – Fighting Game
This fighting game with characters inspired by well-known Filipino personalities is already available in Early Access on Steam, but was still exhibited at the Indie Arena Booth. A good decision, because a large player base is essential for the success of a fighting game. At the same time, developer Ranida Games took the chance to unveil their eighth playable character: Lolang Tsora, which is based on the Filipina revolutionary Melchora Aquino de Ramos. Bayani is already a good fighting game with an exciting premise that ensures more diversity in the genre. Hopefully the game will reach its final release soon!
gamescom asia 2021
The most important information from Singapore, which was otherwise stingy with exciting games announcements, was probably the fact that the game fair gamescom asia will now take place in 2021. This year the event was unfortunately canceled due to Covid 19. The Singaporean offshoot of the big Gamescom is – as far as the pandemic allows it – planned from 14th to 17th 2021 in Singapore.
Where was Skull & Bones?
Otherwise, there is unfortunately not much to report from Singapore’s developer scene. Only CryoFall by AtomicTorch Studio was shown, and the sci-fi online survival game already appeared in Steam’s Early Access program in 2019. Ubisoft Singapore’s flagship project Skull & Bones, whose development process recently revealed some adversities, was once again absent. So, all that remains for us to show is an (old) trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, of which the Southeast Asian studios Ubisoft Singapore and Ubisoft Philippines are also involved in the development .
This time too, the Southeast Asian game scene is using the opportunity to present itself to a broader public at Gamescom. Countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, which were supported by their local associations, were well represented. Overall, however, you can see that the Covid 19 crisis has left its mark on game development. We saw few new announcements and many games that under normal circumstances might have already been released. The fact that many digital game shows had already been held in the previous months may have reduced interest in exhibiting at a “real” trade fair too. A fact that is also reflected in the lack of announcements by major global game producers. Nonetheless, the side events of Gamescom, devcom and the Indie Arena Booth Online were great opportunities for Southeast Asian developers to put themselves in the spotlight. We’ll see how the next year for games exhibitions will turn out!