Games Crafted in India: A Deep Dive into the Past, Present, and Future
Gaming Industry in India has advanced a lot in the past decade. With the development of Raji: An Ancient Epic, here are three high-quality, action and story-based games that we can look forward to in 2024.
The Indian Gaming industry has changed a lot over the past decade. The foundation was laid by Bangalore-based Dhruva Interactive in 1995. American video game publisher Rockstar Games with the development of Raji - an ancient Epic in 2022 gained extreme popularity not only in India but globally too.
Some popular releases like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (2017), Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India (2015) and Far Cry 4 (2014), have explored various locations of India. However, we have not yet experienced Indian culture and locations on video games, for PC and consoles. This might change soon with the release of games like Mukti and Missing in the coming years. Let’s take a look at some games that changed the gaming landscape in India.
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Desi Adda - a collection of traditional Indian Sports
In 2009, the Hyderabad-based Gameshastra developed Desi Adda: Games of India, which is a collection of traditional games in India such as Kabaddi, Gilli-Danda, Kite-Flying, and many more. The player plays the role of Avinash, an NRI visiting his ancestral village. He meets with a couple, Gowri and Gopal who want to get married, but the village head is against the match. Avinash has to interact with the villagers and play these games, finally helping the couple gain approval for their wedding. It was released on PlayStation 2 initially and later added to PSP.
Desi Adda is the first Indian-developed game to be added to the PlayStation Network. Gameshastra has developed several games based on Indian movies as well, like Don 2, Race 2 and many more.
Asura and Raji - inspired by Indian Mythology
Fast forward to 2017, Ogra Head Studio based in Hyderabad developed an indie game, Asura: Vengeance Edition, for PC, based on a Roguelike set inspired from Indian mythology. It has received positive responses from Steam users over the years. In 2020, with the release of Raji - An Ancient Epic, by Pune-based game developers Nodding Heads Games, the game has achieved several ‘firsts’ including participation in the Nintendo Indie World showcase. It is also the first Indian indie studio to be awarded an unreal development grant, and receiving a nomination for Best Debut Indie Game at the Games Awards- the ‘Oscars’' of the video game industry.
1971: Indian Naval Front - dedicated to the Indian Navy during the 1971 war
1971: Indian Naval Front, released in 2023, tells the story of the India-Pakistan war in 1971. Developed by Mumbai-based Neosphere Interactive Studios, the game is a third-person shooter game, based on actual military operations carried out by the Indian navy during the war.
According to the State of Indian Gaming Report of 2023, the Indian Gaming industry clocked $3.1 billion in revenue in the financial year, which is 19% higher than $2.6 billion in the financial year 2022. The report also stated that there is strong potential for the gaming industry to bloom, which calls for video game enthusiasts to look forward to three games that potentially can change the Indian gaming industry upon their release.
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Mukti is a first-person game under development by UnderDOGS' based in Mumbai. The gameplay will shed light on human trafficking and encourage players to learn about problems that often go undiscussed.
Vikram Roy, the owner of a museum in Mumbai has embarked on an archaeological dig in the scenic Sundarbans region of West Bengal, which also happens to be a hub for human trafficking. The story goes forward as he finds objects from the Pala Dynasty in the location.
Missing: The Complete Saga
Another game that will focus on human trafficking is the open-world, role-playing game. Missing: The Complete Saga, where the player plays the role of Devi, is set in a rural village in West Bengal. Flying Robot Studios based in Kolkata is developing the game and it will be soon available on Steam.
Players will be able to explore the open world, interact with the objects, access inventory, and unlock new skills, as the story goes forward. Its prequel, Missing: Game for a Cause, released on Android, gathered over a million downloads and won the Nasscom Indie Game of the Year Award in 2016.
Story exploration games are mostly based on US and UK-based environments. “The reason that we chose Mukti in an Indian setup is because the global audience has not seen much Indian content,” shared Vaibhav Chavan in one of his YouTube videos where he talked about Mukti in depth. Because of its unique concept and potential, it was awarded with the Epic MegaGrants in 2022.
The final game on this list is Mumbai Gullies by Game EON Studios of Mumbai provides a dynamic gaming experience, taking inspiration from the intriguing contrasts of Mumbai's surroundings. The game transports players into the vibrant metropolis of dreams, with its tall skyscrapers standing in stark contrast to the vast slums.
The action-packed gameplay includes driving through Mumbai's lively streets, interacting with pedestrians, and navigating an exciting stock exchange market. It features three distinct eras, a captivating storyline, and a vast open world.
Steam users can add the games Mumbai Gullies, Missing: The Complete Saga, and Mukti to their wish lists which are scheduled for release in the future.