India is largely known for its mobile gaming ecosystem. Averaging heavy downloads over both Android and iOS, Indian gaming studios are largely focusing the burgeoning market. However there are some developers who, despite of odds, have been focused on creating world-class games for PC and Console.
Nodding Heads Games have been working on their upcoming title, Raji: An ancient Epic for a while now. The game went live for a Kickstarter campaign in 2017, however it did not receive good enough response. The creators continued developing the game at a steady pace and have been sharing updates through their social media handle.
We recently had a chat with Ian Maude, Shruti Ghosh and Avichal Singh, to find out what’s happening at the studio. Here are the excerpts:
How has the year 2019 been for Raji?
2019 has been a fantastic year for Raji. We have made significant progress in terms of development this year, and moreover it’s great to see a wonderful and supportive relationship with Microsoft, Epic Games, Nvidia, The MIX, & Nintendo.
We were also able to showcase Raji at this year’s IGDC, where we were invited to participate in giving talks both from an artistic and technology perspective. This was an honor for us, and we were more than happy to oblige, not only from an Indian Indie developer’s standpoint, but to share our experiences, how we’re creating an epic using UE4. The most enjoyable experience is to know that a permanent crowd was present at our booth on the showcase floor.
We also hosted the Substance team who we met at IGDC, came to visit our studio. They were intrigued, wanting to know more about Raji, how we achieved the unique artstyle of the game, and how substance was a key factor into it.
We’re hoping to end the year on a high as IndieDB is holding a competition for the Indie Game of the year, where we’re hopeful for an upcoming game of the year award.
Raji has a long and proud history with IndieDB. So, if you feel that Raji: An Ancient Epic is worthy of, please vote for the game in the “Best Upcoming” Category.
‘How far are you in the development process?
We rapidly closing in on our completion date, and give or take we’re running the last lap In a couple of months we’ll be locking the PC build, while we are taking care of the PS4, XBOX and Nintendo Switch versions as well.
Raji has been travelling quite a lot this year, how has been the response?
You’re right, Raji has been travelling the globe thanks to the folks over at ID@Xbox and The MIX. Both Paras and Ian represented the studio at back to back events in Seattle earlier this year. Where we were invited to showcase Raji at Microsoft’s Open House and at The MIX event back in August. It was an intense few days, exhausting, but well worth it, more so because we were able to connect with the players and journalists first hand. Listening to their feedback, we were able to implement it once we returned after briefing the team.
The beginning of the year Raji started off with an unexpected invitation from ID@Xbox where we were officially selected to be under their banner at EGX Rezzed London. Raji went on to travel to GamesCom [Germany], Microsoft’s Open House [Seattle], then on to Moscow. With The MIX, we were fortunate enough to attend the Seattle expo in person, then Raji went onto Oakland, California where The MIX add another event. And most recently Raji went to GameRome, Italy and lastly DevPlay, Bucharest through our publishers, Super.com.
Dev.Play is where Raji won multiple awards.
If it wasn’t for the continued support and enthusiasm which the folks over at ID@Xbox and the crew from The MIX share for Raji, none of this would have been possible.
The response has been overwhelming. The fact that we’re a comparatively small studio producing a AAA Indie game based on Hindu and Balinese mythology seems to have struck a chord with the gaming fraternity on a global scale. As you can imagine this is way beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. And it’s extremely humbling.
Has there been any change to the NoddingHeads team in 2019?
We recently took on a very talented VFX artist from Brazil, we searched for almost a year to find a VFX artist who could fit our requirements. As for the rest of the team, we’re all very busy making the best game we possibly can.
What has been the most significant achievement for Raji this year?
Although we could not attend many events this year due to our busy development schedule. This did not stop Raji from being showcased at many events. One in particular, Dev Play 2019 in Bucharest, Raji scooped three of the four awards:
Best Game Design
Best Game of the Show
Has something changed in the Indian indie game scenario in 2019?
We can see that more indie games have started popping up on the radar during the last two years. However humble these beginnings might be, this could lead to a much more mature indie scene in India, in the coming years. We were extremely humbled to know some of these developers were inspired by our own team and Raji to do so.
What’s also great is that the board game scene seems to be doing really well too.
Is investment a problem in the ecosystem?
Unfortunately it is. We are one of the few Indian indie dev teams developing for the PC and console market. So naturally, this seems to be a bone of contention with Indian investors. The thought of investing funds for more than six to twelve months seems too much of a risk and dare we say that this may be considered unnaturally long term for them. This is why we are looking further afield.
Currently we do not have plans to develop for mobile, our focus is to make Raji the best we can within the time constraints we have and for future projects. create compelling games for this PC and console/market.