3 Malaysians Shine Bright At The Game Awards 2023. Here's Who They Are

The future of the Malaysian video game industry is looking bright with these talented individuals.

Cover image via The Game Awards

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Three talented Malaysians have been inducted into the prestigious The Game Awards (TGA) 2023 Future Class, which is akin to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the video game industry

Samantha Low, Saqina Latif, and Jonathan Tang Ziyi have recently been recognized — alongside 47 other international video game personalities, creators, and developers — as the newest additions to the prestigious list of honorees.

Samantha Low began her career as an intern at The Star before transitioning into the video game industry

Image via The Game Awards

A multi-talented freelance videogame journalist, she is also a marketing consultant and a Twitch streamer. Samantha regularly writes for multiple video game publications, including Kotaku.

She is also the co-founder of 20m Podcast, a platform that highlights Southeast Asian games and the hardworking people behind them.

"I think the fact that there are three Malaysians and a Singaporean in Future Class this year shows that the Southeast Asian region is getting more and more recognition for our work. Amazing games are being made here and I've always tried my best to champion our games wherever I go," she told SAYS when contacted.

"As someone based in Japan, I have a lot of admiration for the indie scene here too. Many people know triple-A Japanese games like Final Fantasy and Tekken, but smaller Japanese games exist and they are just as impactful.

"Any opportunities that I receive as being part of TGA Future Class, I hope to share with these communities that I serve," she added.

Check out Samantha in action discussing the new Ace Attorney title below:

Saqina Latif founded Persona Theory Games, a Malaysian video game studio

Image via The Game Awards

An icon in the Malaysian video game scene, Saqina spearheaded the development of two internationally known titles — Fires at Midnight and Kabaret.

One aspect that sets Persona Theory Games apart is the inclusion of cultural cues from the Southeast Asian region. For example, the main character in Kabaret is named Jebat, inspired by the Malaysian folk hero, Hang Jebat. It doesn't stop there, as the game's art style is inspired by the Southeast Asian fabric art, batik.

Check out the trailer for Kabaret below:

Saqina shared her thoughts with SAYS on being inducted into the prestigious list.

"I remember getting the email on the same day United Airlines emailed that they'd lost my luggage during my International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) US trip that had something very sentimental to me.

"I was feeling all sorts of emotions that day, one of them was definitely feeling like, 'This is a scam or a prank, right? Who is cruel enough to prank me when I'm down?' Turns out, it was very real. During the trip, my friend, Joyann, who I lovingly call my STEM sister, cheered me up by saying maybe I shouldn't hold on to the past and make room for new memories.

"Well, this felt like that sign. I'm eternally grateful for my friends, families, company, and community who nominated me for this, and continue to believe in me, even when I felt like I didn't believe in myself," Saqina told SAYS when contacted.

"When I first started in games seven years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today, and being inducted into The Game Awards Future Class is such an honour. I hope to keep championing SEA stories in games for many more years to come," she added.

Jonathan Tang Ziyi is a community leader with considerable experience in the video game industry

Image via The Game Awards

Also known as Magthylius in the industry, Tang is currently working as a game programmer at Metronomik, a renowned Malaysian video game studio that developed No Straight Roads, an internationally acclaimed action-adventure game.

Tang also helms the Malaysian chapter of the International Game Developer Association (IGDA) as the lead coordinator.

A prominent figure in the local gaming community, he frequently organises community gatherings and events. His objective is to catalyse the growth of the Malaysian gaming industry, emphasising the importance of making a career in game development more accessible to all.

The Malaysian video game industry is rapidly growing and gaining international recognition

Whether it's game development or esports, Malaysia is quickly establishing itself as a vibrant hub in the region, providing numerous opportunities for fans and enthusiasts alike.

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