The Philippine video game industry continues to grow, and nowhere was this more apparent than at the E-Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) 2017—one of the Philippines and Southeast Asia’s biggest gaming celebrations.
From October 27 to 29, Philippine game developers flocked to the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, to showcase their latest games, host activities and tournaments, and meet their legions of fans. Though the deluge of attendees at the event meant these developers had a lot on their plate, they were kind enough to share their stories with GMA News Online.
The following were just some of the local studios present at the event:
Ranida Games returned to ESGS to exhibit their catalogue of games, chief among them the first Filipino fighting game to star our national heroes, “Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?”
The game’s latest build features significant improvements over its ESGS 2016 version.
Now joining Joe (Jose Rizal) and Dre (Andres Bonifacio) in the roster are 5 new characters: Leon (Emilio Aguinaldo), Tonio (Antonio Luna), Lola Sora (Melchora Aquino de Ramos), Oria (Gregorya de Jesus), and Magellan.
According to “Bayani” lead game designer Robert Edward Cruz, these characters are in varying degrees of completion.
“Two characters are in the alpha stage; two are works in progress; three are in the prototype stage, so we’ve just finished their 3D models and their moves are still up in the air,” he said.
“For now, safe to say that we’re still 30% into balancing the characters. None of them are too overpowered but they don’t feel complete right now.”
Ranida Games employed a unique approach to character development.
“We decided to assign one character per developer; that developer would be in charge of creating that character,” explained Cruz.
They’re aiming for an 8th character, Rio (Apolinario Mabini), to complete the roster.
“Bayani” has also received massive gameplay upgrades.
Previously, the game utilized a simple system that had you spamming one button to automatically execute combos. The new build, however, boasts three attack buttons (light, medium, heavy), which can be used in combination to perform complex combos.
“We diversified the commands,” said Cruz. “The controls right now are similar to those of other fighting games, such as ‘Marvel vs. Capcom 3.’ This should make the game feel more familiar to fans of the genre.”
Another update is the incorporation of air juggles in the game, enabling players to launch their opponent in the air, then attack them multiple times before they fall.
Cruz said that the game is now a working demo. “Hopefully we’ll wrap up development this year in time for it to be launched next year,” he said.
Originally, “Bayani” was meant to be a mobile title. But it has proven so popular that Ranida Games now plans to launch the game on Steam and might even port it to mobile after its PC release.
“I’m surprised casuals and pro-gamers alike are loving it,” Cruz added. “In fact, we’re asking professional fighting game players to help us balance the game with their suggestions. We’re pleasantly surprised and thankful that they’re willing to give their support.”
Indigo Entertainment showcased a number of titles at ESGS 2017. One of them, “Garrison: Archangel,” was quite the crowd-pleaser, as it has been since it was first revealed earlier this year.
“We added new special effects—for explosions, dodging, movement, etc.—to give the game more polish,” explained game producer Paolo Miguel Cabe.
The gameplay has also received considerable upgrades.
“We introduced abilities linked to your thrusters which give you mobility options. So now thrusters are very desirable because they give you free movement on top of giving you a passive boost. Now there are more things you can do rather than just strap on more guns or missiles,” Cabe added.
The team also added three new selectable body parts, giving players more options when customizing their own unique robots. These parts were exclusive to ESGS 2017, and aren’t available in the free demo yet.
As part of Brawlfest—an eSports event focusing on fighting game competitions—“Garrison: Archangel” rubbed shoulders with industry staples such as “Tekken” and “Street Fighter.”
“A lot of our player base is actually the local fighting game community, and they carry over their fighting game knowledge to the game,” Cabe said.
He and his team gained a lot of insights watching the professional players fight. “One thing we’re doing right in the game, you don’t see the pros using the same kinds of parts combinations. You see a player bringing his own version, his own idea of his fighting style,” said Cabe.
The team noticed most of the finalists focused on long-range attacks. There were also many into aggressive, close-range maneuvers. One of the best players built a well-balanced mech that used weapons that could handle all ranges.
“There was a consensus by our community that you can generally have three types of mechs and players: the rushdowns, the zone controls, and those that do well in the neutral spacing game,” he said, adding that the team has learned much by listening to and observing the players.
“What we see in tournaments is a chance to balance our weapons,” said Cabe. “We have a wide variety of weapons right now, and whenever we hold a tournament, we learn which weapons need balancing, and so we reconsider our design decisions for certain weapons.”
“Garrison: Archangel” is launching first quarter of 2018 on Steam.
Monstronauts showed off their latest mobile title, “Rowan McPaddles,” at ESGS 2017.
“‘Rowan McPaddles’ is an ‘endless rower,’ ” said Monstronauts’ Bobby Chua Santos. “You play as Rowan McPaddles, or one of the other characters you can unlock. What makes this different from the standard endless runner is that you have full control of your character; it’s not a game where you just switch lanes. So it’s more challenging, but also more rewarding when you do well.”
“Rowan McPaddles” is slated for an early access launch by the end of 2017. Its formal release will be in the first quarter of 2018.
Monstronauts is also working on another game, “Orbits.”
“It’s a time management and matching hybrid and it’s going to be heavy on story,” explained Santos. “We’d like to build a world for people to explore and get to know different characters. We’re planning to have it released by 2018—it’s a very broad window.”
Monsronauts also exhibited “Potion Punch” and “Pocket Arcade.”
Secret 6 exhibited the latest build of their competitive first-person arena shooter, “Project Xandata.” They also hosted a tournament that offered a substantial prize to the winner.
“The Letter” developer Yangyang Mobile is working on two new games. One of them, a medieval fantasy dating sim/RPG hybrid tentatively titled “Project Squire” has already been announced on their Patreon page. A demo might see release early in 2018.
It’s unclear if “The Letter” will be followed by a sequel. The visual novel’s overall review score on Steam remains an impressive 92%.
Synergy88’s most interesting reveal was their upcoming mobile game “Ang Panday.”
Actor Coco Martin, who plays the main character Flavio Batungbakal III in the “Ang Panday” film, discussed the action-adventure title and his role in co-designing it.
“Ang Panday” is described as a beat ‘em up, and will give players various opportunities to make Flavio stronger by obtaining weapons, gear, and upgrades. It is already available in the Google Play Store as an early access game.
Stay tuned for more ESGS 2017 news! — BM, GMA News