An RPG with an Indian tinge, Ogre Head Studio’s ‘Asura’ makes a promising launch on Steam Greenlight

With the global gaming industry surging forward, games made in India somehow fail to hit the mark with the fans. Even with huge number of downloads and initial hype, the indigenous games fade after a while given the lack of immersive content. A lot (most) of the games are ports or related to common topics like cricket or Bollywood. Ogre Head, an indie studio has plans to at least try and change that perception as they have already launched their hack ‘n’ slash, RPG, Asura on Steam Greenlight on 28 July. The game shifts the paradigm of the monotonous games and takes on a path less chosen by Indian creators. This project draws inspiration (somewhat) from games like World of Warcraft and Diablo. It has a guided story line which compliments the elements and gameplay quite well. To get a better perspective we got in touch with Ogre Head Studio, co-founder and director, Zainuddeen Fahadh. “Asura is a hack ‘n’ slash, rogue-like game loosely inspired by Indian mythology. Resurrected by rakshasas, you play as ‘Asura’ – which means demon in Sanskrit – and are on this path of vengeance and retribution as something had happened to you in the past (which will be explained through the game’s cinematic). And so, you come back to earth to once again start your journey.”
The game has a randomly generated skill tree which changes every time you play the game; meaning when you die, your skill tree changes and given it’s a rogue-like game, every time you die in the game, you can choose a new skill tree, and all your loot is lost. All the bosses (read: guardians) are loosely inspired by the Indian mythology; you try to defeat them and eventually will be matched against the main boss guarding the portal to earth. While it is really exciting to see elements inspired by the Indian mythology making it into a game in such a precise manner, we were intrigued to know about why they chose this theme specifically. “When we were working in the industry, we were usually working on ports, or some kind of cricket game or Bollywood game which was repetitive and did not appease our creative thirst. We were always into Indian mythology and were playing games like Warcraft and Diablo. So, we wanted to create something like that, and after the Unity engine came in, it became really easy as we did not have to create the whole infrastructure. We always had the ambition to start our own studio, so that we can choose the projects we want and not just work on ports,” said Fahadh. The game has about five minutes of cinematic at the start and in the end wherein the story is narrated, and the rest of the plot is unveiled through the gameplay. “Every feature in the game has a story tied to it, and are not there just for the sake of it. For instance: When you take burn damage, your health ticks down overtime, but here the character is a demon and has been forged from fire itself, so he is immune to it. However, there’s a meter. If you keep taking damage after the meter has expired, one of your items get destroyed as the items are not from the demonic realm. Also, normally, if you kill an enemy, you get experience points and loot. In this game when you kill an enemy, you have to go to the corpse and you have two options: you can either observe his soul (grants experience) or you can scavenge for items (loot),” asserted Fahadh. Keeping in mind that the makers have kept minute details in mind, the players should find the game indulging. Asura Mahayudh Ogre Head Studio (core team) is made up of two people. However, for the game, Fahadh himself has done the art and design; the coding by co-founder, Neeraj Kumar; the marketing being handled by Samar Malik, while the sound provided by Orange Byte Studios from Mumbai; the animation by Jay Doshi, whereas the rigging by Santosh Kumar. Apart from the two founders, rest of the members of the team have worked on contract basis and are not part of the core team. While Asura has been under development since two years and four months now, the studio has been working on other projects also for their daily bread and butter. If the game makes it to Steam, how much would it cost? “The price is still to be discussed, somewhere around Rs 300 to 400 range for Indian pricing and $10 for other countries.” There will not be any in-game purchases, although it might come with further DLC, if the company plans to release any. The game echoes the ambition of the makers to create an indigenous game that provides the players with exquisite experience which is at par to more popular foreign games and to a great extent that is the need of the hour for the Indian gaming industry. “Our goal is to bring a change in the Indian gaming industry, it’s not about selling 100s of copies but stating that, people can make games other than the regular ones.” It’s hardly been a week since its launch on Steam Greenlight and the responses received by Asura so far sure seems overwhelming. We wish the game all the very best for making it to Steam!