We Made This: Roby John explains why Indus Battle Royale is so community driven for its creation

The battle of perfecting a battle royale

From grassroots to big budgets, the journey of SuperGaming is one for the textbooks. We take a closer look at the dev team and hit them with some serious questions to see if the Pune-based game developer is ready to take on the real world and the virtual.

SuperGaming is a Pune-based studio that has a track record of shipping great multiplayer experiences such as MaskGun, Silly Royale, PAC-MAN, and Battle Stars. With that experience we believe we’re best equipped to ship India’s most ambitious title to date, Indus. Indus is our effort at putting India on the global gaming map. We have around 450 million gamers in India. Yet there’s little or no representation in video games. For years we’ve seen several international attempts to bring Indian culture to the world through games and most of them have fallen flat. To us, games are an expression of our art and culture so it made sense to showcase our games to the world with our spin on it.”

As per our playtests and community feedback... “we have seen tremendous interest from Indian gamers for Indian-themed games. Over 90% resonated with the theme of Indo-Futurism, particularly the premise and characters. To them, IndoFuturism as a concept in-game is seen as unique yet relatable. This is due to the interpretation and visual treatment of known entities: i.e. Jatayu Central, SirTaj — where we take a known concept but make it cool and interesting through the lens of Indo-Futurism. Jatayu is a symbol of rebirth in lore while Sir-Taj is droid-like with personality rather than being a soulless robot. Players aren’t just wowed by the art in-game but every single element — from subtle animation cues to tie-ins with world-class Indian talent like Heena Sidhu — every single aspect of the game has been carefully curated to elicit a response.”

SuperGaming has an extremely public approach to developing Indus through multiple playtests and community events. “A real-time multiplayer game with 60 players is an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine with different components and intricacies. What’s more is, players usually only see the final product and don’t have a say on how it could be improved until it’s out and they post a user review. We wanted to solve these two issues. Taking a grassroots approach to game development was the answer. For one, it helped us shape Indus’ product roadmap. From player reactions to character designs, weapons, and environments as well as gameplay systems, we’re able to iterate and make our game better faster and in line with what they want to see.”

BGMI is back and SuperGaming is not shying away from the conversation either. “We’re glad it’s coming back. Gaming should be without boundaries. It’s yet another signal that gaming and esports are the biggest opportunities in India and now, it comes with the recognition of the government as well. Hopefully, this jumpstarts Indian talent for a better and bigger games industry across content creation, esports, and of course, game development. As for us, we don’t believe we’re competing with BGMI. Though PUBG, Apex Legends, and our earlier shooter, MaskGun (which predates BGMI/ PUBG) are among other titles that influenced the creation of Indus, the market is big enough for several battle royale games to not just survive, but thrive.”

If you think Indian audiences prefer international-themed content, you’d be surprised with the answer. Here’s why... “There’s a strong preference for international content like BGMI, COD Mobile, Minecraft, GTA V, and Valorant. Players are already aware of what’s good and what’s fun so the next stage of this is to sell them on the idea of an Indian shooter/ BR. There’s a large enough audience too. CS:GO used to be small double-digit LAN parties, and until recently PUBG filled up stadiums. Imagine the appeal of a polished made-in-India game built for esports with locally relevant themes. Now throw in an ever-expanding content creator economy. Indian streamers know that the path to having the widest appeal is to collaborate with local game studios to create content that’s especially true for an Indian audience, which is why the extension of our Indus and Indo-Futurism strategy extends to distribution and content creators.”

We had to ask about our cover hero and how they conceptualise Sir-Taj. “Sir-Taj is one of the many avatars Mythwalkers can choose to play as in Indus. One of the inspirations was obviously the Taj Mahal. Remembering the colossi in Shadow of the Colossus struck an idea. We could feature this striking monument by personifying it as a playable in-game character. In addition to this, the team was endlessly fascinated by droids from Star Wars like R2D2, BD1, and BB8 and how they animate.”

Building for esports is not easy and SuperGaming says it’s like making an F1 car... “Sure, you can have the world’s best engineers and technicians put it together, but it needs to be tested by a skilled driver — a Lewis Hamilton if you will if it has to be competitive. This is why we’ve partnered with Ampverse whose BGMI pro team is playing Indus day in and day out to help us iterate and improve on our features to make a better game.”

eSports also needs to be accessible... “To do this, we want to ensure widespread adoption and that players’ skills transfer over from other battle royales they’ve played. So we’ve incorporated features they’ve come to expect like squads, ping systems, and supply drops to name a few. Along with this, we’ve also looked to improve their experience. Ongoing feedback from the community for a lot of the other games in the market were accessible but corners were cut in terms of immersion and gameplay. This in turn resulted in a lower skill ceiling and low skill floor which isn’t ideal for an esports game. In the case of some games, you don’t really feel you killed someone in the game until you actually see it, it’s lacking a lot of cues players have come to expect. So for us to fine-tune and improve Indus to the point where it’s not just accessible to all but allows players to display high-level skilled play is of importance.”

If you want to learn more about the cover collaboration, download cool wallpapers and participate in exclusive giveaways, click the link here.