“Gamescom Asia is the perfect place for one-on-one chats and organic conversations,” a games publisher told AnimationXpress at the convention. And he was right. The convention – which took place in the bustling city of Singapore from 19 to 22 October 2023 – emerged as a dynamic hub for the gaming industry. Nestled within its expansive venue were not just exhibitors, but a melting pot of opportunities — networking zone, conference area, meeting area, dining area and entertainment zone, with its right size facilitating interactions with a diverse array of industry players.
Amidst the lively atmosphere, indie developers, tech giants, and publishers seamlessly connected, forging partnerships, striking deals, and immersing themselves in the latest market trends. The event was not merely a showcase but a platform for insightful discussions with industry experts, creating an enriching experience for all participants.
As we navigated through this gaming symposium, we engaged with indie studios, publishers, and companies spanning various gaming domains. Here’s what these industry players have to say about their showcased innovations, the attendee response, and their overall sentiments about their Gamescom Asia 2023 journey.
Wrought Studio (India)
Based out of the Indian city of New Delhi, Wrought Studio is a two-person game development team venturing into the gaming world with its debut project Last Day Lockdown which the team showcased at Gamescom Asia 2023. The PC game is a narrative driven, escape room, puzzle game set in an office environment.
“Our aim is to craft an enjoyable and immersive experience that keeps players engaged and on their toes,” said Wrought Studio game designer Srujan Pant and game artist Kunal Negi. At Gamescom, their focus was to see how their game resonated with the wider public. “It was our first time showcasing the game outside of the developer community, so we were curious to see how people would react and to explore its international potential,” they said. “We were blown away by the positive response. People really seemed to enjoy our game, which was awesome. We also got some valuable feedback from players, and we’re already working on making improvements.”
Experience at Gamescom Asia: “Gamescom Asia was an incredible experience. We had the chance to connect with fellow developers, learning a ton from them. We also had some publishers express interest in our work. Most importantly, seeing that players genuinely enjoyed our game was a major confidence booster. It showed us that we’re onto something great and worth pursuing,” they said. “The Indie Wavemakers talk show section deserves a special mention as it provided a valuable platform to showcase our game and introduce our studio to the gaming community. Over the three days of Gamescom, we had the pleasure of engaging players from diverse age groups and demographics. This diversity allowed us to better understand our target audience and how different groups respond to our game. It was a fantastic journey for us.”
Squid Shock Studios (Thailand)
Established in 2020, Squid Shock Studios is an indie game developer in Chiang Mai, Thailand. At Gamescom, the studio showcased its upcoming game Bō: Path of the Teal Lotus. The game is an action-adventure platformer imbued with the aesthetics and essence of Japanese folklore.
“In this hand-drawn world, players will control Bō, a celestial being resembling a fox, known as a “tentaihana,” who descends from the Celestial Realm to fulfill an ancient prophecy. This character brings a fluid, acrobatic grace to the exploration of a vibrant and mythic world,” said Squid Shock Studios creative director Christopher Stair, who was present at Gamescom along with the studio’s lead programmer Trevor Youngquist. Bō: Path of the Teal Lotus is set for release on Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows in 2024.
Experience at Gamescom Asia: “The response to our game was amazing,” Stair shared. “So many people were instantly drawn to the character and the world we created. We met people who already knew about our game and were super excited to get to play the demo for the first time. We also met a lot of really enthusiastic people who had just heard about the game at the event for the first time.”
He added, “There were so many things to see and all the people at the event were super nice and kind.”
Ogre Head Studio (India)
Ogre Head Studio is an indie game studio based in the Indian city of Hyderabad. Founded in 2014, the studio is passionate about crafting games inspired by the vibrant tapestry of Indian folklore and culture.
At Gamescom, Ogre Head Studio founder and director Zain Fahadh showcased their second game Yodha – “a turn-based card game sprinkled with rogue-like mechanics, all nestled in a fantastical world woven from the rich threads of ancient Indian folklore,” Fahadh said.
Experience at Gamescom Asia: “The show was a blast,” exclaimed Fahadh, who was present at the conference with the studio administrator Nashwa. “We showcased a snazzy little demo of Yodha, and let me tell you, the feedback we received was gold. It’s like they handed us the secret sauce to make our game even better! At the event, we were part of the Indie Wavemaker cohort in the B2B section. Our mission? Playtest Yodha and network with our fellow developers and publishers.”
He added, “There were so many jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind games on display that left us feeling inspired. We rubbed elbows with some major publishers, forming connections that feel like they’re on the cusp of blossoming into some exciting collaborations. Oh, and we managed to squeeze in some fun exploring in Singapore too!”
Ton Play (UAE)
At Gamescom, Ton Play showcased its toolkit PlayDeck, which allows game developers to launch their games on Telegram, and offers users a catalog with games that lets them play right there in the messenger without downloading or installing anything.
“What sets PlayDeck apart is that we work directly with game makers, giving users access to a ton of engaging content,” said PlayDeck chief product officer Daria Novikova who was present at Gamescom along with Alikhan Sataev and Simon Shepel from their business development team.
Experience at Gamescom Asia: “At Gamescom, we aimed to showcase our demo to the public and get real user feedback,” shared Novikova. “We were thrilled by the positive response! Many people were pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to play games on Telegram. The encouraging feedback from industry experts confirms that we’re making a mark. It’s an exciting time to be the pioneer in Telegram gaming, and we’re looking forward to more collaborations with publishers, game creators, and gaming platforms.”
Khayalan Arts (Indonesia)
Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, Khayalan Arts is a creative visual storytelling studio. At Gamescom, the studio presented two of its games: 1) a deep sea 2D puzzle side-scroller Samudra 2) the upcoming 2D space exploration adventure I Need Space. Both the games are available on Steam.
At Gamescom, the studio looked to create an opportunity with publishers and network with fellow SEA developers and gamers.
Experience at Gamescom Asia: For Khayalan, Gamescom resulted in a highly enthusiastic turnout. “The players resonated well with the characters from our demo, such as Nebula, the Cosmic Cat,” said Khayalan Arts studio head El Lim. “We are also pleasantly surprised by how well we did with merchandise sales there. Gamescom Asia had been a wholesome opportunity for us to showcase our proudest work! We are grateful for everyone who came by and played our game. Thank you for the support.”
Junkfish (Europe, Singapore)
Junkfish is an independent game development studio that creates its own IPs. Started in Scotland, the team of Junkfish is now spread across Europe working remotely, with an office in Singapore where the studio practices hybrid working. At Gamescom Asia 2023, the studio showcased a game called Bootleg Steamer. “The inspiration and theme of the game is the United States Prohibition Era during 1920s to early 1930s,” said Junkfish product manager Jimmy Lin. “It is a casual arcading game where you play as a ship, and employing various strategies and dodging coast guards, seek to amass a huge fortune (High Score!).”
The main agenda of the studio in attending Gamescom was to drive its Steam wishlist, “but it was also to see if there was an appetite for such a different game in Asia,” Lin shared.
Experience at Gamescom Asia: “The response from the players who actually tried the game was quite positive. Most of them knew what the theme of the game meant and all seemed to enjoy the experience,” revealed Lin. “It was great to see the number of people attending. You can feel the excitement in the air and audiences are genuinely enjoying themselves!”