Meet The Malaysian Masterminds Behind These Creative Southeast Asian-Based Games
No one is more of an absolute geek over Southeast Asian folklore than I am, so imagine the pleasant surprise when I discovered this game studio that brings that element forward in their games
Meet the team behind the game studio, Persona Theory Games, who spotlights Southeast Asian folklore
Founded by Saqina Latif, Buddy Anwardi, and Derek Mui, Persona Theory Games started with the goal of telling stories through games. Previously, they had no experience in game development and were actually from film production, but story-telling has always been their main focus.
"Seeing games like Never Alone, a puzzle platforming game based on Alaskan Iñupiat culture, really inspired us to push our Southeast Asian stories in games, and in the last few years of taking part in events and talks, I think we are now known for that," Saqina, the co-founder and managing director told SAYS.
Their first game, Fires At Midnight released in 2020, is the studio's starting point of producing visual novel-style games revolving around Southeast Asian culture and folklore.
1. Kabaret (2023) — A dark fantasy adventure game following Jebat who finds himself in a mysterious and violent realm full of monsters
In the game Kabaret, players will play as Jebat, who is cursed into becoming a monster and finds himself in a realm called 'Alam'.
There, Jebat is taken in by the owner of Kabaret, who we only know as The Caretaker, and is tasked with providing tasseomancy services (tea leaves readings) to the realm's dwellers in his attempt to break his curse and return home.
The game will be released in March 2023 and will be available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
You can play the demo here and watch the trailer below:
2. The Lonely Hearts Petshop — A narrative game where you run a pet shop as a cat and adopt humans on Jonker Street
Currently in development, The Lonely Hearts Petshop lets players matchmake a cat to its human who's looking to adopt.
Customise your catsona, run a pet shop owned by anthropomorphic cats, interview potential adopters, and decide on a perfect match, all set in the historical Jonker Street, Melaka.
Play the demo here and watch the game trailer below:
The game studio hopes to be able to continue making games on a bigger scale and presenting Southeast Asian stories for the world
"Right now we're wrapping up production for our second game, Kabaret, and preparing it for its launch in the first quarter of 2023 on Xbox consoles and PC, while the launch for PlayStation and Nintendo Switch will be by the end of 2023," Saqina said.
Their first game, Fires At Midnight, will also be coming to consoles in 2023.
Persona Theory Games was also part of the studios that developed Sara Is Missing before producing Fires At Midnight:
Looking to get jumpscared by creatures from Southeast Asian folklore? Here are some horror games you can play: