India is perched to become one of the world’s leading markets in the gaming sector with one of the world’s largest youth population. The Indian market is currently valued $ 890 million, with mobile Gaming taking the lead at 71 per cent share whereas the annual growth rate of the gaming sector is estimated at 14.3 per cent.
In conversation with AnimationXpress Xigma Games founder, designer and developer Himanshu Manwani expressed “Indian gaming industry is still at its nascent stage where the majority of the studios are still trying to find their business model either by providing services or by making their own original IPs. There are big studios that are focusing on the Indian audience and making free to play games, or by providing services to other western companies. On the other side, there are small indie teams who are focusing on the global audience and trying to push creative boundaries. The Indian gaming industry is expected to grow at a rapid rate and there are lot more opportunities present then they were in the past, but the industry still has a long way to go for it to be taken seriously globally.”
Xigma games currently working on the sequel of the game The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands titled as The Bonfire 2. The Bonfire 2 will be a survival simulation game where one has to build, craft, gather resources during the day and defend them from monsters and raiders attack during the night. The primary objective of the game is to survive and manage resources to advance and thrive players’ small settlement.
The development of the first part The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands started in early 2017 and the game released in March 2018. Soon after that, they initiated the ideation for the sequel.”The first two months went into pre-production and later 10 months into development” he added.
For The Bonfire 2 they have a slightly altered perspective as the game has shifted from 2D side view to 3D isometric view. The view is changed to isometric to allow the players to design their own village/city layout instead of fixed building placements like their previous game The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands. “The sequel also increases the simulation aspects, as the AI workers can be seen walking to a building, picking up resources and then using the resource to construct a building or craft an item. Also, the scope is now at least thrice as big, so more content and definitely more gameplay hours with a fair amount of replayability.”
The game has been in the development process for almost a year and they will need another six to eight months to finish it. The studio is planning to finish the game by the end of this year, although, that depends on the quality of the game. If they are not satisfied with the game quality which is expected to be high international standards by the end of the year, they might push it for early next year to add that extra layer of polishing. “Since we have increased the scope by great margins compared to our previous title we are expecting it to outdo our previous game in terms of revenue,” said he.
With the game, they are targeting global audience who are keen playing city builders, simulation, strategy games and for players who have enjoyed their first game of the same title previous game.
Xigma Games is expanding their scope and features for the sequel on every aspect of the game, be it art or design. When asked about the inspiration of the game he added “The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands is our most successful title till date and we wanted the expand on that experience. We asked ourselves how could we improve the experience even further and take it to the next level. There was one major complaint in our previous game people felt it was too short (about 5 hours of gameplay) and somewhat linear. So this time it was clear to us that keeping the base gameplay core of The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands and expanding on other layers of the game will help us to reach new heights. Also by introducing new elements to design your own village/city will make the game feel non-linear and will result in more replayability.”
The response for the previous game under the same umbrella The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands has been positive for them. It won multiple awards which includes IGDC Indie Game Of The Year 2018, FICCI Best mobile and tablet game Indian 2018, FICCI Best mobile and tablet game International 2018. The game was also featured globally under Game of the day and it reached top charts and top paid games on the App Store.
As he said earlier that the first game of the same title was short and somewhat linear therefore keeping that in mind Xigma games straps up for the upcoming game. The indie studio with two members did all the art, design, programming, testing, marketing and got sound outsourced work as per the requirement. As they wanted to showcase the improvement in all aspects which they felt were missing or could have been better in their previous game. Keeping that in mind, the upcoming game of the same title will be available not only on mobile but also on the PC platform.
The workflow of the development of this game has been an iterative process for them, where they regularly showcased and tested their ideas to get as much feedback as possible so that they could incorporate new elements accordingly.
The biggest challenge in the development of the game has been “to manage all the aspects of the development by ourselves. We are a small studio who handles all the aspects of game development. Sometimes it’s quite overwhelming to manage everything. But we love challenges and we love what we do and we hope to keep making amazing games and grow and learn from our experiences,” he expressed.
They seem to have a concrete vision for the game and they believe there are a lot of factors behind the success of a game which includes: understanding your capabilities, direction of genre, understanding the target audience, game design and much more.