for Gameguru.in on Sept. 11, 2007
Canadian-based studio Syncere Arts is working on an action-adventure game based on the Mahabharata, an epic tale in Indian mythology. Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga aims to let players feel as powerful as the ancient warriors while still providing a good challenge. You play the role of warrior prince Arjuna whose destiny is, obviously, to save the world. The game will let players choose between various schools of combat, and nearly 100 weapons and Vedic powers.
Syncere hopes to publish Mahabharata in April 2008 and plans to release both PC and Xbox 360 versions. GameGuru.in (GG) had an exclusive chat with the team of Syncere Arts (SA), the studio behind the forthcoming India-centric game, Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga. It comprised of the CEO Vaibhavi Pathak, Devinder Thiara, the lead story writer and Tanya White. Here is what they had to say:
Q: Can you tell us something more about Syncere Arts? A little about the company, its brainchild and its performance today.
A: Syncere Arts was born out of a passion for two things: gaming technology and sharing the great stories of Indian culture with the world. As CEO of the company, Vaibhavi Pathak is working hard to bring the Indian war epic, Mahabharata, to the masses in a fun way that will ensure the great story lives on in future generations.
Q: Does Syncere Arts have any office in India too?
A: The ability we have with the technology available to our generation is to ensure we work with the most talented people who can get the job done no matter where they are located. Right now, we have team members in Canada, US, India, Egypt and Australia. Although most of our teams operate virtually, there is an office in Gujarat.
Q: Can you elaborate a little about the conceptualization of the game ‘Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga’? And what inspired you to make a game based on India and its famous mythology?
A: Being avid gamers and of Indian origin naturally we would like to see a product based on the material of our homeland. The Indian film industry does very well in India and worldwide in general, so we know that there is a large market for Indian material. We see the game industry as a natural extension in the entertainment medium and judging from the North American market it is successfully competing for the entertainment budget. We feel the time has come in India where the gaming industry will grow as an entertainment medium and is ready for a native “big hit” as it were. The natural next step was to find an exciting property to work on and “Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga” was the end result.
Q: Why did you slot the game in a MMORPG [Massively multiplayer online role-playing game] genre?
A: MTDOK is actually closer to a First Person Perceptive Action/Adventure game and might loosely be called an RPG also. We are not interested in limiting the game to genre characteristics; it will be what it needs to be to get the story right. The emphasis is to stick faithfully to the story and spirit of the Mahabharata and ensure good game play.
Q: On what platform will the game be released on? Do you plan to introduce it on other platforms such as Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii gaming consoles?
A: For now the game is on the PC platform only. Eventually we will consider a port over to the Xbox 360 provided resources are available and it makes business sense to do so. It will likely happen, but right now our attention is focused on finishing MTDOK and bringing it to market.
Q: Will you adapt the games for mobile phones too?
A: The epic nature of the game itself will not fit into that delivery method. Mobile phone games are intended to be quick simple games with very low time requirements. Never say never, but at this point in time I see no way of seriously bringing a property of the caliber of Mahabharata to that small of a form factor.
Q: Can you tell our readers a little about the technology used in Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga?
A: The game uses the Reality Game Engine which in turn is based on Kynapse for AI and Novodex for Physics. The game will also be able to leverage the PhysX PPU to utilize more powerful physics for Fluid and Cloth effects.
Q: Are the developers of the game Indian or do you have a special Indian consultant working on the game?
A: We want to work with the best people around the world who can help us deliver the best quality product for the gamers. Many of our developers are Indian and are already familiar with the story of Mahabharata. With anyone on the team who was not familiar with the story, every single one of them has read the story back to front, and when finer points of the story come up for discussion, diligence and research is completed to ensure we stay true to the telling of the story.
Q: Is the game specifically targeted at Indian gamers or is it made for gamers worldwide?
A: Here’s what is so special about this game: We are targeting gamers who want to play with the best quality graphics and who enjoy a dynamic and exciting storyline. Our key target audience would definitely be anyone of Indian origin, who might be familiar with the Mahabharata, yet, the universal nature of the story will appeal to anyone.
Q: For a fact, gaming in India has not boosted much, very much because of the steep pricing of the various games and consoles. What will be the pricing structure of ‘Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga’ and do you think it will be suitable for the pockets of gamers in India?
A: We have yet to determine the pricing strategy for the Indian market but we will work towards an affordable solution for the average Indian gamer.
Q: What are your marketing strategies to market ‘Mahabharat: The Dawn of Kaliyuga’?
A: At this point of time we are developing a global marketing strategy to reach out to Indians located all over the world and the non Indians alike.
Q: Do you plan to enter the game into the various gaming competitions that are widely sprouting up in India recently?
A: At this point of time we haven’t decided which gaming competition or expo to participate in but we will be releasing the content of the game via www.mahabharatavideogame.com for the avid gamers to follow up as the development of the game progresses.
Q: Tell us more about your team?
A: We have a team from all over the world working hard to deliver a very interesting game. Some of the nationalities involved are Egyptian, Americans , Chinese and Australians and of course Canadians. Each of these individuals was brought on to the project to deliver best overall Graphics and game play. We use the concept of a virtual work place and internet audio/video technologies to communicate with each other and continue development around the clock.
Q: Which other projects is Syncere Arts working on currently? What games are you planning for next-gen console?
A: Currently our entire staff is concentrating development on the current project to bring it to market. As our staffing level increases and key personal wrap up their scope of MTDOK we will soon start on our 2nd game that is in the conceptual phase at the moment.
Q: Where can we expect Syncere Arts to be in the near future (around in the next five years)?
A: Every individual has a dream to follow their passion and be able to make a living off it. Mahabharata is just one of many possible stories for a game with universal appeal. Our goal would be to continue doing what we love and get the great stories of the world out to the masses in an exciting way.