September 10, 2023

Andreas Betsche

Gamescom 2023 Highlights: Exploring Southeast Asia’s Gaming Gems

September 10, 2023 | Andreas Betsche

Gamescom 2023, held from August 23rd to August 27th in Cologne, was an epic gathering for the gaming community, attracting 320,000 attendees from over 100 countries. With more than 1200 exhibitors representing 63 nations and 33 pavilions, including Indonesia and the Philippines, Gamescom showcased the global gaming industry’s diversity.

The Philippine game dev delegation posing at Gamescom 2023.

Virtual SEA was on the scene, bringing you exclusive insights into the exciting world of Southeast Asian gaming. We engaged with developers and publishers and even got our hands on some of the region’s most promising games. 

Join us as we explore the standout titles from Southeast Asia at Gamescom 2023

Kriegsfront Tactics: A Mecha Tactics Gem in the Making

Toge Productions’ Kriegsfront Tactics was undoubtedly one of the most hotly anticipated games at the event. This procedural turn-based mecha squad tactics game combines elements from classic tactical strategy games and boasts captivating low-poly retro-style visuals. Set in an alternate 1970s Southeast Asia during a conflict, players assume the role of a mecha squad commander sent on dangerous missions behind enemy lines. Our hands-on experience with the playable demo featured intense battles against enemy mechas, culminating in epic shootouts that seamlessly blended the game’s Southeast Asian setting with its retro-sci-fi aesthetics.

Cat Quest III: Setting Sail for New Cat-ventures

Publisher Kepler Interactive treated us to an exclusive preview of Cat Quest III. Building upon the beloved formula of its predecessors, the game introduces impressive enhancements. We couldn’t help but notice the upgraded graphics and the addition of an isometric camera that provides depth to the game world. A significant addition is the pirate-themed naval warfare, where players take control of a ship and engage in cannon fire against adversaries. Scheduled for a 2024 release on multiple platforms, including PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC via Steam, Cat Quest III promises to deliver even more exhilarating adventures for fans.

I Need Space: A Cosmic Exploration Adventure

At Khalayan Art’s Gamescom 2023 booth, we embarked on a journey through the cosmos with “I Need Space.” Developed by the creators of Samudra, this 2D open-space exploration game unfolds during a celestial pandemic. Players traverse the universe with their trusty companion, the Cosmicat, rewriting stars, revitalising planets, and uncovering the truth behind the apocalypse. The game offers a physics-based open-world playground with a richly crafted atmosphere. “I Need Space” is set to launch at the end of Q3 2024 on Steam, Switch, Playstation, and Xbox, promising a unique and meaningful exploration experience.

SINAG: Unleashing Philippine Mythology in a 1v1 Fighting Game

Ranida Games, a prominent player in the Philippine gaming scene, showcased “SINAG,” the first 1v1 fighting game that seamlessly blends Philippine mythology with deep and engaging gameplay mechanics. The game is a cultural immersion journey, paying tribute to the Philippines’ beauty and diversity. “SINAG” offers a wealth of depth and complexity, catering to casual and dedicated fighting game enthusiasts. Currently available on Google Play, the game will soon be accessible on the App Store and PC.

RunOut: A Whimsical Multiplayer Extravaganza

As the sole representative from Thailand, Waka Studio presented early gameplay from their upcoming game, RunOut. This adorable multiplayer game, supporting up to 8 players, offers a whimsical, automatically generated environment complemented by charming 3D models. Each round lasts approximately 3-4 minutes, providing a delightful experience for players of all genders and skill levels.

Waka Studio's booth at Gamescom 2023 showcasing their game RunOut.

NPCville: The Story of The Blacksmith – Crafting a Unique Game

Singaporean publisher The Iterative Collective showcased their latest signing, NPCville: The Story of The Blacksmith, developed by Indonesian studio GINVO. In this intriguing RPG, players assume the role of Aimee, the blacksmith NPC responsible for shaping the fate of an MMORPG’s almost abandoned world. Tasks include giving quests, crafting weapons, assisting in combat, and beautifying the town. NPCville is slated for release on Steam.

Balete City: Immersing in Philippine Culture and Mythology

Balete City offers a semi-open world third-person adventure set in the modern-day Philippines, specifically in a town named Balete City. This initiative aims to collaborate with local cultural groups to promote, educate, and preserve Philippine culture, beliefs, and mythology, incorporating some of these elements into the horror aspect of the game.

Mythic Protocol: Riftstorm – Diablo with Guns and no NFTs (for now)

Mythic Protocol: Riftstorm introduces a fast-paced top-down looter shooter experience. Players control elite secret agents of the Mythic Protocol, tasked with hunting supernatural creatures, facing cosmic threats, and exploring otherworldly realms. The project, developed by Indonesian game developers, expands to Singapore to attract international talent and is part of a larger blockchain-based universe. However, it’s essential to note that Riftstorm will not be an NFT game, according to Managing Director Dave Fabrian.

HypurrX: An Intense Space Shooter with a Feline Twist

HypurrX immerses players in an exhilarating space shooter featuring a high-octane battle between the invading Mischuhf Brigade and the brave defenders of the Klaudrian planet, the MEOW. The game offers intense bullet-hell gameplay and captivating space-themed visuals. Developed by Philippine Buko Studios, it’s not just a game—it’s a mission to promote the rescue and adoption of stray cats.

KISS: Crafting K-pop Stardom

KISS: Kpop Idol StorieS – Road to Debut is a life simulator that lets players step into the shoes of a manager scouting talent, managing schedules, budgets, social media, and more for aspiring K-pop idols. Developed by Wisageni Studios, this game offers an immersive peek into the world of K-pop and is set to debut on Steam.

Dadoo: Snakes, Ladders, and Multiplayer Mayhem

Indonesian game studio Algorocks is set to release DADOO: Twists, Turns, and Mischiefs next year. This online multiplayer game combines the Snakes and Ladders formula with power-packed skill cards, promising fun and a friendly rivalry among friends. In a gameplay session with CEO Adib Toriq, we tasted the casual gameplay that may infuriate your friends with special cards and skills!

High Times: Visual Novel with a Doughnut Twist

Yangyang Mobile, known for its visual novels, presents High Times. This visual novel (they just do it best) dating sim involves managing a café that serves special doughnuts capable of getting customers high. The game intertwines storytelling with light management gameplay, such as creating doughnuts.

Montabi: An RPG Monster-Raising Adventure

Mankibo introduced Montabi, an RPG monster-raising simulation game featuring monster duels and evolution discovery. Players train, raise, and evolve unique monsters in their garage, reminiscent of the beloved Pokémon series. We have high hopes for this one, as the lead behind this game is Boy Dozan, the maker of the addictive Rocky Rampage.

Let Me Out: A Creepy Indo Horror Thrill

In our gameplay session with Let Me Out, the upcoming horror game from Indonesian studio 4Happy Studio and publisher PID Games, we glimpsed a genuinely creepy Indo Horror experience. Although a demo crash cut our session short, the game’s eerie atmosphere and incorporation of local elements left us with spine-tingling anticipation for the next contender in this horror sub-genre!

Games from Southeast Asia are getting better and more professional at Gamescom 2023

Gamescom 2023 was an exhilarating extravaganza, offering a dizzying array of games that catered to every gaming taste. Southeast Asia shone brightly at the event, with its developers showcasing remarkable titles that impressed players and industry professionals.

The Indonesian pavilion at Gamescom 2023.

The growth and professionalisation of studios in the region were evident, and the inclusion of games from Toge Productions, the Iterative Collective, 4Happy Studio, and others accessible to private visitors highlighted the region’s rising influence in the global gaming scene.

As we eagerly await the next Gamescom and gamescom asia, the future of gaming in Southeast Asia looks incredibly promising, with a wide range of exciting titles on the horizon.

Andreas Betsche

Andreas Betsche founded Virtual SEA in early 2016 after researching Cambodian mobile games for his Master’s thesis. He has a background in Southeast Asia studies and has worked and lived in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since he has been actively playing games since the early 90s, combing both worlds in Virtual SEA brought together both of his passions.

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