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October 25, 2022

Andreas

Southeast Asia’s indie developers shine at gamescom asia 2022

October 25, 2022 | Andreas

The first truly post-pandemic gamescom asia was eagerly awaited, designed to bring together game makers and gamers from Southeast Asia and the world. It finally took place from October 10th to 23rd at the Suntec Convention Center in Singapore, and we were there for you.

Bringing together the games industry and the consumers didn’t quite work out that well because shortly before, the public part of the show was canceled (probably for cost reasons) and stamped together in an online segment. So gamescom asia 2022 again became more of a business event, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t exciting things to see and experience.

We want to give you an overview of the most thrilling games and trailers that gamescom asia 2022 had to offer.

New games spotlight on PRIMETIME Show kicking things off

Like last year, PRIMETIME was the inaugural show streamed online and consisted of announcement trailers for more or less well-known indie and AA games. In any case, it was pleasing that the organizers focused much more on Southeast Asia games this time.

Goi

A surprise was definitely the announcement of Goi, the new game from YYG GAMES from Thailand. The makers of the horror hit Home Sweet Home stay true to the genre, but Goi takes a much more lighthearted and colorful approach. Not much can be said about the gameplay based on a CG trailer in comic graphics, the chase with a zombie strongly suggests survival horror as the game’s genre.

Instead, there was plenty of gameplay to see for Cuisineer. The mixture of roguelite dungeon crawler and restaurant management was penned by the experienced Battlebrew Productions (Singapore) and promises chaotically colorful gameplay to make you feel good.

Cuisineer

The next title has finally returned from oblivion. Project Unseek by Indonesia’s Arsanesia has been in development for a while already but is now back in all its glory with a new gameplay trailer. It is an asymmetrical multiplayer game in which six students fight two monsters for survival.

Musically, the show really picked up speed when the rhythm game Sparkline was introduced. Developed for mobile devices, Sparkline comes from the hands of Wizdream Games (Indonesia) and is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2023.

And yet another returnee: Hexlords: Quantum Warfare, the futuristic PVP strategy game for mobile devices, catapulted itself back into players’ minds. Already on the market for a few years, Tantanmen Studios from Malaysia doesn’t seem to be giving up on the franchise yet and are back with a new trailer.

Spirit Mancer

That wasn’t all, however, we also saw trailers for The Company Man, Spirit Mancer, Sigil of the Magi, and Determinant, among others. Since the last three titles were playable on the event’s show floor, we will go into more detail in the next section.

Overall, the PRIMETIME show was a successful event that made a clear statement in the direction of the indie scene with many indie titles and a few larger productions. The mixture of international and regional titles and a good amount of “real” announcements was pleasing. Only the pacing left something to be desired here and then with somewhat too generic titles.

Let’s play games on the show floor

The core element that makes gamers’ hearts beat faster is, of course, the show floor at game fairs. Even if good ol’ business was in the foreground, a good variety of games could be tried out directly on-site in the halls of the Suntec Convention Center. 

Games from Singapore certainly had home advantage, and they set up a large pavilion for several local exhibitors with the support of their association, SGGA.

Peck’em (The Doodle People), in particular, caught our eye as a new announcement. The small multiplayer shooter/brawler from Indiestudio immediately convinced us with its colorful 3D graphics and the uncomplicated, if somewhat chaotic, battles. Peck’em comes with two unique selling points: first, we play different pigeons in the game, and second, the whole thing is set in Singapore itself, so for example in the demo, we fight each other on a replica of the Toa Payoh Dragon Playgrounds.

Peck’em

Publisher The Iterative Collective was also there and showed us two games: Sigil of the Magi and Knight Crawlers. Appropriately, the former started into EA on Steam during the event. Yongjustyong’s fantasy turn-based tactics game skilfully spices up its gameplay with roguelite elements. Still, we found the tactical depth, which is made up of the individual heroes, their skills, and the card deck, to be particularly outstanding. 

Knight Crawlers

For the first time, we got to play Knight Crawlers, which is being developed by the couple behind Good Morning Games. The dungeon crawler relies on a physics-based combat system and PVP in couch-coop, in which we compete against waves of monsters whose number and strength we can determine ourselves.

In the Indie Village, it’s going to be, well, really indie. Arguably no other game represents this concept as much as Determinant, which is being developed by the 1-man studio and publisher Khor Chin Heong. The Malaysian is an expert in extremely detailed VR simulations, and with Determinant, he is now venturing into the realms of 3D survival games such as Ark or The Forest. In an early demo version, which was already graphically stunning, we were able to marvel at the game’s detailed item and crafting system, which represents each item as a physical object in the game and, among other things, ensures that we have to light a campfire step by step where others games only show a simple loading bar.

Determinant

Also on show was an old acquaintance, the cinematic platformer Samudra from Indonesian studio Khalayan Arts. Although it has already been released, the environmental protection approach and the pretty graphic style impressed many visitors who gathered at the small booth.

An absolute newcomer ends our little tour through the show floor: Spirit Mancer. This game comes from Thailand and mixes hack & slash gameplay with deck-building mechanics. We got a good impression of the detailed pixel graphics and surprisingly complex game elements in the game demo. Still, it took quite a while until we had a clear view of the many game systems. If you like it, you can support Sunny Syrup Studio on Kickstarter to develop Spirit Mancer.

Of course, that was only a small glimpse of the games and booths that could be seen on the gamescom asia show floor. However, we are delighted that there were so many quality titles from Southeast Asia with actual hands-on experience.

Southeast Asia in the spotlight at gamescom asia STUDIO

The last day offered an exceptional treat for fans of the Southeast Asian games scene. In a second live stream called gamescom asia STUDIO, the first segment was a showcase of games from the region.

Over 15 trailers, developer interviews, and gameplay videos featured games from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar. 

The highlights were the insights that Saqina Latif (Persona Theory Games), Mohammad Reza Harbowoputra (Agate Games), and Kerin Kokkhour (Fairplay Studios) gave us from their everyday game development of Kabaret, Valthirian Arc Hero School Story 2, and At Your Service. This was backed by behind-the-scenes videos and trailers from Mojiken Studios, Toge Productions, Gamechanger Studio, and Cellar Vault Games, showing how intimate and familiar the indie scene in Southeast Asia is. 

Anyone who took a closer look could discover a premiere in the mix of titles that have already been released and titles that are yet to be released: Digital Happiness, developer of the DreadOut series, didn’t waste any time and presented exclusive gameplay including developer commentary on their upcoming horror roguelike Graveless.

Graveless

You can find an overview of the games shown here:

GameGame DeveloperPublisherRelease / Expected Release Date
My Lovely WifeGameChanger StudioNeon Doctrine08 June 2022
Krut: The Mythic WingsRSU Horizon, Good Job MultimediaBlowfish Studios12 July 2022
DreadHauntDigital HappinessDigital HappinessQ1 2023
GravelessDigital HappinessDigital HappinessQ1 2024
SIMULACRA 3Kaigan GamesNeon Doctrine25 October 2022
A Space for the UnboundMojiken StudioToge ProductionsQ1 2023
GhostloreAT-AT GamesAT-AT Games14 April 2022
Skull & BonesUbisoft SingaporeUbisoft 09 March 2023
MARGO – On the BrinkKodots GamesKodots GamesQ4 2023
GigaBashPassion Republic GamesPassion Republic Games4 August 2022
Valthirian Arc Hero School Story 2Agate InternationalPQubeQ1 2023
Paper Ghost Stories: Third Eye OpenCellar Vault GamesChorus Worldwide GamesYear 2023
Coffee Talk Episode 2 : Hibiscus & ButterflyToge ProductionsToge Productions, Chorus WorldwideQ2 2023
Re:LegendMagnus Games Studio505 GamesSeptember 6, 2022
At Your ServiceFairPlay Studios Co., Ltd.TBAYear 2023
KabaretPersona Theory GamesPersona Theory GamesQ3 2023
Sigil of the MagiYongjustyongThe Iterative Collective20 October 2022

The presentation of the Singapore Games Association was also worth recommending, where we gained a deeper insight into the game productions that were already shown on the show floor.

An exemplary gamescom asia 2022 – but there must be more next year

Overall, the first “real” gamescom asia after the pandemic can be considered a complete success. A visit was already worthwhile just for the SEA-centric perspective considered in this article because it gave an overall impression of the creativity and diversity of the local gaming scene. Of course, the inclined visitor could also take advantage of many other events, such as the many excellent talks, panel discussions, and various online and offline events.

However, one thing became clear from all discussions with participants: next year, the event must be open to the public. The closed season is over, and gamescom asia has to show that it can keep up with the great role model from Germany, whose undisputed unique selling point is its proximity to the players.

We hope that the organizers will be able to build on this successful dress rehearsal and that an even better and bigger gamescom asia awaits us next year!


Andreas

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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