No video game genre assembles a cast of heroes quite like the fighting game. So when creating the very first Filipino fighting game, why not populate its roster with our own national heroes? After all, no one knows bravery, sacrifice, and honor quite like those who fought the good fight and lost everything in the process.
So rounding up some of the country’s greatest heroes and putting them all in a fighting game? It’s sheer genius.
Local game development studio Ranida Games is doing just that; their fighting game, “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?” stars Philippine heroes José Rizal, Andrés Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, and more as playable fighters. These characters move around on a 2D plane. They’ve got special moves and super attacks. Gameplay consists of 1 versus 1 duels that end when one of the combatants is lying broken on the ground. It is, indeed, a modern fighting game – one made by Filipinos, for Filipinos.
At the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit 2016, “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?” was one of the games that attendees could play at Ranida Games’ booth. As busy as they were, the studio’s president and CEO, Ben Joseph P. Banta, and artist Anthony Dacayo were kind enough to discuss their game with GMA News Online.
From artistic vision to fighting game
Taking the nation’s heroes and turning them into fighters was the brainchild of the artist, Anthony Dacayo.
“I’m the original creator of all the characters,” said Dacayo. “I developed the concept on Facebook. I was just doing these drawings as part of my hobby. Around that time, the ‘Heneral Luna’ movie was getting a lot of hype. So my illustration of Antonio Luna went viral, and got around 14,000 shares in one month.”
It was then that Ranida Games approached Dacayo on Facebook with an offer.
“Ranida Games private messaged me and asked if I was willing to collaborate with them on developing a game,” said Dacayo. “Of course I said ‘yes,’ and that was how our partnership started.”
In the span of a year, Ranida Games had turned Dacayo’s 2D drawings into 3D models ready for use in “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?”
The demo of the game available for play at ESGS 2016 had two working characters – Joe Rizal and Andre Bonifacio.
“We’re letting (the attendees) play the demo version of the game, so that we can get feedback from them on how to improve it,” said Banta.
Joe is José Rizal reimagined. From his design, the inspiration is obvious. Joe may be wearing armor, but his face and hairstyle resemble his real-life counterpart’s. In reference to our hero’s love of knowledge and education, Joe fights using books. And because Rizal was a fencing enthusiast, Joe’s primary weapon is a rapier-style sword.
“If we’re going to make a comparison to ‘Street Fighter,’ Joe would be Ryu,” stated Dacayo. “All his skills are easy to perform, so he’s easy to master.”
Andre is, of course, Andrés Bonifacio. He’s a dual-wielding blade master, and even carries a sidearm.
“Andre is a little tougher to master,” Dacayo said. “He can shift from dual-wielding his swords to using sword and gun. So he has two sets of skills.”
And what’s a fighting game without special moves?
“All the characters in this game have special moves,” said Dacayo. “For example, Joe has a finishing move which I call Mi Último Adiós. Basically he charges his book, then throws it like a very big fireball. Andre’s is called Himagsikan. Here he uses two types of skills. In one, he uses the two swords to do something like Wolverine’s Berserker Barrage in the ‘Marvel vs. Capcom’ games. When he switches to pistol, he performs a move similar to Dante’s in ‘Devil May Cry.’ So it’s a lot of gunshots, followed by one final sword slash.”
According to Dacayo, each fighter in “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?” will be unique.
“The gamer will have to adapt for each character,” he said. “It’s not like, ‘I already know how to play this character, so I can easily play this other one.’ You have to master the unique skill set of each fighter.”
The roster won’t be limited to Joe and Andre.
“Right now we’re discussing Emilio Aguinaldo and Antonio Luna,” said Dacayo. “Those are the big guys. They’re slower, but deal more damage.”
Dacayo’s concept art shows Leo as the Emilio Aguinaldo character. His main weapon is his gigantic, robotic right arm, because why not.
Anton Luna is massive, with a Mike Haggar moustache and an oversized hazing paddle as a main weapon.
Dacayo’s art depicts other characters such as Rio Mabini, Lolang Tsora, Oria de Jesus, Ela Silang, and even Padre Gomburza, Ferdz Magellan, and Uncle Sam. We don’t know who among these characters will make it to the final version of the game, but Ranida Games hopes to have a complete roster of 10 to 12 characters by its official launch next year.
“We are focusing on this game to make it really good,” said Banta. “This is going to be a first for all Filipinos: the first Filipino fighting game in the gaming industry, and one developed by an all-Filipino game developer.”
Ranida Games’ hopes for the title go beyond the country, however.
“We are actually going to push this to an international level, because we believe this is a really promising game not only for our studio, but for all Filipinos,” explained Banta. “It will help promote the Filipino gaming industry inside and outside the country.”
And if you’re not at all interested in the idea of Filipino heroes duking it out for supremacy, you can at least be assured that you’ll be getting a classic fighting game.
“All the characters are inspired by previous fighting games like ‘Street Fighter,’ so it’s really also a tribute to all oldschool arcade fighting games,” said Banta.
Ranida Games hopes to release “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?” in time for the next ESGS.
Visit Ranida Games’ official website for more information about the studio and its games. For more “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?” concept art and updates, visit the game’s Facebook page. — TJD, GMA News