UPDATE: Change of Game Title, Screenshots added below,
Around a decade ago, Indiagames cashed in on the patriotic frenzy following the Kargil war by launching Yoddha, a first-person shooter that was – by 1999 standards, when Q3A and Half-Life were out – laughably bad. The action game, replete with its Dharmender-style ululations, is so cult that it does not even have a Wikipedia entry.
At a think-tank meet in Goa, Vishal Gondhal, founder and CEO of Indiagames, then boasted to us that he got more mileage out of the Rs. 5 lakh he put out on a music video starring Vedic Chant, which did the rounds on Channel [V] and MTV, than from Yoddha. His company had less than 20 employees then.
In his office opposite the post-apocalyptic Vashi Infotech park in Navi Mumbai, he now employs over 300 people, and has a clear view of the sea.
Rabid-nationalism has always been a winning formula in the world of pop-culture, and going by Hans Rosling’s talk yesterday, it seems like a good sentiment to rally behind. Not that it’s their only claim to fame or fortune. Indiagames makes mobile games that latch on to Bollywood movie releases, they release free games with in-game advertising, they make over 15 mobile games for international AAA titles which include (*gasp*) Bioshock. They’re also planning to release a Cricket game on all the phone platforms, and support Symbian and Ovi because it has more traction in India.
When I was told by sources high up, that they were coming up with a 26-11 game, I wondered if this wasn’t them cashing in on another popular trend. But the game, tentatively titled Mission Fateh tells a different story. (Update: it is going to be titled: Terror Attack - Project Fateh)
It’s made by Shivam Gupta, a 13 year old prodigy from Bihar, who suffers from a unique affliction known as Weber syndrome. His father, D K Gupta showed me a copy of a Hindi newspaper, Hindustan which reads - Paseena ke badle khoon nikalta hai shivam ko (Shivam sweats blood). “The cure for his affliction, doctors say, is that he be engaged all the time.” said his father Mr. Gupta.
From Patna, Shivam, who runs his own game and post-production company, solicited the help of Indiagames by sending them a demo of a first-person shooter based on House of the Dead.
The new Mission Fateh has been developed using DarkBASIC, with just one other developer – Varun Bhavnani, and the game looks decent, (as good as Counter-Strike). It has three levels, and you play as the NSG, fighting the terrorists on three levels – CST Station, the Taj and the Trident Hotel. From first looks, this isn’t a realistic simulator, and you cannot play the game as terrorists.
Indiagames is not releasing this game two days from now, but sometime in December or Jan, they say. They will be releasing the 150 MB install for free on their Games on Demand service. A second 2D version for phones will be released as well, including the iPhone. These will obviously not be free-for-play. Needless to say, we’ll keep you posted when it’s out.