The six Filipino indie developers at Taipei Game Show 2019
POSTED BY Ram Ronquillo ON February 7, 2019
Taipei Game Show 2019 featured a variety of games and it included indie developers in the Indie Festa. Among the indie developers were six Filipino developers; these were Chryse (Shots Fired), Squeaky Wheel Studio (Academia: School Simulator), Kooapps (Pets Race), ThinkBit Games (Brawl Quest), Ranida Games (Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi!?), and Keybol Games (Jack Axe).
While the Philippine contingent wasn’t the biggest, each game had their own flavor and unique in their own right.
Shots Fired is a game developed by Chryse. In a nutshell, it’s a point and click sniper game that gives you picture of your target and a time limit to eliminate the target. Despite its seemingly simple gameplay, it was unique not only among the Philippine developers in attendance but also in the Indie Festa area itself.
Chryse is one of the veteran TGS attendees among the six Filipino developers, having gone to TGS three years in a row. According to Chief Technology Officer at Chryse, William Dionio the experience has been nice.
“Our experience here is really nice. People warmly received our game. They actually enjoyed it. I also enjoyed that I got to meet with other developers and see their games which are all amazing.”
They attribute a lot of the interest in the game to their publisher, Another Indie. “Thanks to our publisher, Another Indie, there has been an increase in interest because they’re the ones doing most of the marketing and promotion for us,” says Dionio.
“There were actually players that already had an idea what the game was before coming up to me [during the convention] based on the promotional effort of our publisher alone,” he added.
The team plans to release Shots Fired ideally in Q1 or Q2 of 2019 for Steam and the Nintendo Switch.
Academia: School Simulator
Academia: School Simulator is a simulator developed by Squeaky Wheel Studio. The game allows players to live their dreams of running a school, from scheduling the classes to actually building and designing the school from the ground up. Unlike Chryse and Shots Fired, it was the first time Squeaky Wheel Studio and their game.
Marnielle Estrada, Chief Technology Officer at Squeaky Wheel Studio said, “Our game has a specific market when someone shows interest, we show them the game. If they like the game, they like the game.”
He also mentioned that they shine in conventions that specifically focus on indie games rather than one that shares the floor with bigger games.
Estrada says that they have quite a way to go with their development process. “There’s still quite a lot that we plan to the game and we’re looking at a full release in about 2 years or so,” he says.
When asked if they were still adding things to the game, he said, “In February we plan to add relationships wherein students will have crushes and relationships, and of course there’ll be break up.” Other things they’ll look to add is a dorm system among others.
Academia: School Simulator is live on Steam Early Access and has been available since 2017.
Pets Race is an online mobile racing game from Kooapps. The goal for Pets Race is simple, compete against other players online and try and finish first. The art was inspired by Disney but seemed to have ended up a little bit different.
Kooapps is another veteran attendee having gone for the second year in a row. While they did feature Pets Race in 2018 and 2019, Samsara Pagaduan, Marketing and Public Relations at Kooapps mention that it was different because this year they were able to localize the game. One of the eight or nine languages added to the game is, of course, Chinese.
“The response has been great so far. Even with the industry partners, they were able to appreciate the game. We’re seeing more interest this year,” Pagaduan mentions.
Because it’s a multiplayer game they’re in constant development and adjustment.
“We’re still polishing a lot of features. We’re listing out the comments that we’re getting. We’re still adjusting the game despite it being out for almost 2 years,” she said. “There’s a lot more to work on with a multiplayer. There’s also a lot more room for error. Seeing it work well is still fulfilling.”
Pets Race is available for download on the Google Play Store. They’re looking to release for iOS hopefully later this year.
Brawl Quest is a beat ‘em up mobile game from ThinkBit Games. It is described by Lord Christian Gosingtian, co-founder of ThinkBit Games as an ode to old beat ‘em up games such as Double Dragon.
Like many Filipino developers, it was ThinkBit Games’ first time at the convention but the graphics seemed to attract a lot of kids.
“It was apparently quite attractive to kids (i think around 8-12 y/o) as the graphics for the game is very cute,” mentioned Gosingtian.
He added that it was hard to compete with so many good indie developers around, especially those that were from Taiwan or spoke the language. Despite this, they were still able to get people to try out the game and watch their feedback on it.
“Overall, had positive feedback on the core gameplay mechanics as well as the general aesthetics of the game so we’re quite satisfied with it,” he added.
Brawl Quest is currently in Early Access on the Google Play Store and they’re hoping to release it on iOS in the next few months.
Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi!?
Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi!? (Or simply Bayani) is a fighting game from Ranida Games. The game is very Filipino with all the characters in the game being based from people in Philippine history and those that contributed to our history.
It was the first time for the Ranida Games team to attend TGS as well. As Ben Banta, Head of Games and Managing Partner at Ranida Games mentioned, “It’s really exciting.”
Like the other developers, the experience was positive. He said, “So far the experience has been very positive even if some of the people don’t know the characters. I don’t explain the characters on the onset and just let them play.”
“Although the game is very Filipino, the gameplay is global. It is one way that we want to showcase our culture to the world,” he added.
The build that they showcased at the convention had nine characters. Some of these included Joe, a book and sword-wielding character with a mustache, clearly based on Jose Rizal; Tonio based on Antonio Luna; and Leon based on Emilio Aguinaldo. They will be adding in players that are based on Tandang Sora, Apolinario Mabini, Gregoria de Jesus, Magellan, and Andres Bonifacio.
Other features that look to add in is a story mode, online multiplayer, and relic collection system, which will be unlocked the more you play the game and will give players a bit of Philippine history.
Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi!? is still in development but the team is planned to be released on Steam Early Access by around April 2019.
Last and definitely not the least is Jack Axe, a platform from Keybol Games. The game highlights the use of an axe which is utilized for attacking and a teleport destination. The game draws inspiration from old platformers, more specifically the Super Mario franchise. The axe, according to Bari Silvestre, Game Developer at Keybol Games, the function of the axe comes from Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey.
It is also a first timer at TGS and for Game Developer at Keybol Games, Bari Silvestre he mentions, “I think it’s a great showcase to get feedback regarding our game. It’s quite inspiring especially since the other developers are very supportive.”
“People [at TGS] said that the visuals itself have a big impact. It also helps, according to them, that the controls are pretty simple. You throw the axe, you jump, you time your jumps, and the like,” he adds. “People have also enjoyed the multiplayer a lot. With a maximum of 4 players, some mechanics in the game require a lot of coordination and sometimes it’s the lack of it that people find enjoyable.”
The game is still in development but Silvestre says that all it lacks is content. The mechanics and the engine are set. They’ll be looking to make more maps before it’s released.
Jack Axe is planned to be released by at least September 2019 for Steam and the Nintendo Switch.
Check out more of our Taipei Game Show 2019 content like our favorite indie games or five exciting booths. We also have some first impressions with some of the games we tried like Concrete Genie and No Straight Roads.