The significance of December 1971 is unforgettable for Indians as it was the day remarkably known for India’s victory against Pakistan which resulted in the birth of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). 48 years ago, Pakistan lost its forces in the East, and had to publicly surrender to India. It was also the largest military surrender after World War II.
Keeping that in mind Neosphere Interactive designed their upcoming videogame 1971: Indian Naval Front. The studio was started by Rajesh Iyer and Hitesh Ramchandani in 2016, where Iyer takes care of the complete development and coding while Ramchandani looks after the project management, game art and marketing, as per requirement. Ramchandani shared with us that they both are PC gamers and have the common interest towards military/war games which triggered them to create 1971: Indian Naval Front.
“1971: Indian Naval Front is a tactical Naval combat game based on actual events during the 1971 India Pakistan War. The game will be played from the perspective of the Indian Navy,” shared Ramchandani.
The game will be initially for single-player, however later, multiplayer version might be planned out and will be released for PC platform and is available on Steam. It is a tactical shooter game where the player gets a chance to control iconic Indian Navy ships like Vikrant, Brahmaputra, Veer, Rajput and more. Besides controlling the warships and its armaments, the player can also fly jets and choppers of the Indian Navy Air Squadron which were used during the 1971 war in some missions. The game will have 12-15 levels with an estimate of four to five hours of gameplay which will narrate the actual war scenarios that had occurred between November to December 1971.
When asked about what was the purpose of developing a game around 1971 Indo-Pak war Ramchandani replied, “During the conflict of 1971, Indian Navy (along with the Air Force and Army) played a major role in the war which forced Pakistan to surrender in merely 13 days. Most people are unaware of the stellar contributions of the Indian Navy towards our victory in the 1971 war. We saw this as an opportunity for creating some immersive historically accurate content with few fictitious levels tossed in for providing a balance. Missions like operation trident, taking down PNS Ghazi, defending Okha Harbor, attack on East Pakistan Airfields are some levels of the game based on actual events. Extensive research has gone into the preparation for the storyline of this game.”
Neosphere used Unreal Engine 4 to develop this game. Ramchandrani shared the key areas that they focused on while designing the game is “keeping it simple with factors like suspense and surprise, risk vs reward, avoiding complex controls, interactive, not letting the gameplay on its own and always trying to keep the user engaged with dialogues and voice-overs even when cut-scenes are playing along with a focus on audio, music, and a minimalistic yet effective HUD.”
According to its makers the game has witnessed many iteration design wise. The designing started with simple mechanics and then the game had an inspiration touch from popular titles like World of Warships and Battlestation Pacific. They added features like controlling individual weapons, ship repair and so on. For example earlier they did not have plans to make a jet and the chopper in the game user-controllable, however, as the game progressed, they decided to add user-controlled flying which is inspired from the Battlefield franchise.
Being the first consumer designed project the duo tried to keep it simple by studying the workflow of Unreal Engine 4 and aligned 3D tasks. “It’s a vehicular warfare game with no character involved, therefore the burden of creating character animation sets wasn’t there at all,” added he.
The working on the game began in 2017 with a plan to launch the game by December 2018, but due to some technical challenges they missed the deadline and now are planning to release it in the Q2 of 2019.
Like any Indie developer they also faced many challenges during development but the quality of content was not compromised. “Being an indie game developer is always tough and being an indie PC game developer is even tougher,” commented Ramchandani.
Ramchandrani handles the game art whereas Iyer handles the development. “Once this project is complete, we would be expanding our team and bring in more like-minded people on board with us,” Ramchandani expressed.
Neosphere is optimistic in catering to esports domain with the PC gaming audience as a content provider. Apart from that, they are also interested in taking charge of game development courses based on the products they make, similar to the one they already have on Udemy which teaches the procedure to implement the flying and firing behaviours of combat jets and helicopters using physics in Unreal Engine 4 blueprints. It seems that Neosphere Interactive has set a wide journey in the industry with not just limited to game developing!