Gamer Matters
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Level UP KL 2019 – Interview with Kaigan Games CEO

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In conjunction with the upcoming Level UP KL public event happening on the 9th and 10th November, we had the opportunity to interview the CEO of Kaigan Games, Mr. Shahrizar Roslan, during the event’s launching here in the heart of the local video gaming scene, MDEC’s Level Up Inc. in Bangsar South.

In this short but sweet one-on-one session between him and Gamer Matters (Me and Amirul. No, it doesn’t involve a game of Smash Brothers sadly), we had a few questions in mind…

Introductions

Danial: Before we start, I just want to say that we love your games, especially Pipe Dreams.

Shahrizar Roslan: Thank You!

D: It was one of my Game of the year finalist, we even showcase it to your representative at Comic Fiesta last year.

SR: Cool, man. Pipe Dreams was an interesting experience. A lot of players love it and were really confused about it (laughs).

Amirul: They were waiting for more Simulacra.

SR: Yeah, they were expecting more of it. So that’s why we call it Pipe Dreams. Even the title is a play of it. It’s a different type of game, you know. It’s not like Simulacra, and that’s why we didn’t call it S2 as well. It’s kind of an experiment for us.

D: It reminded me of the original game of yours, Sara is Missing.

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SR: Yeah it is.

On the Lost Phone genre

D: Running with that, your guys are basically the “authors” of this “Lost Phone” genre, is it though?

SR: I wouldn’t say so. Actually, I would credit that to SOMI and his game called Replica. It was a PC game, released on PC at Steam I think and later to mobile. It’s a pixel “phone simulator” and came out before Sara is Missing. We were inspired by that.

Then there was “Her Story”, that Full Live Action game. So we went; “You know what? We mix that and make it on an actual phone, then use live actors to make actual voice messages, etc”.

And that’s why we did. We treated on the core concept but if you want to know who created it, then it’s Replica as the first one. We just refine that concept.

AM: Interesting to see Her Story also mixed in there.

SR: Exactly.

AM: It makes more sense now.

SR: (laughs)

About the Local Games’ Industry

D: Next question, do you think the local games industry has helped you guys being the studio that they are now today? Maybe a bit of help from MDEC?

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SR: Sure, Game Dev is quite wide now. The government side of things, I think MDEC has done a great job. They have helped us a lot. Give us an office space here and doing events like this. I don’t think 10 years before. Any game company before couldn’t get this kind of exposure from the Malaysian scene. So they have been spearheading that.

Also the industry as a whole, we get students, trained and learn at places like KDU, MMU and the sort. So many of them are also part of the industry. So I guess the games that we make 99% are done in Malaysia. Maybe the likes of music we’ll get someone overseas but mostly is done in Malaysia.

Like even for Simulacra 2, if you see the trailer, everything is done by Malaysians. Of course, I’m always a strong believer that we have the talent here but it’s just getting the talent focused on a project to get it into an international standard.

Yeah, the industry here is a hidden gem I feel. It needs more exposure and sells more. We make a lot of games but stuff like student projects doesn’t get to sell, so that’s a challenge and why the industry is growing as fast as it is.

Simulacra Series

D: So you mentioned Simulacra 2, which you guys are showing at Level Up KL. Can you give us a bit of hint about the release date maybe?

SR: We will announce it during Level UP KL 😉 (Au note: They announce it last week)

A: That’s the best we can get, I guess. (laughs)

SR: But we will have a playable at the Public Day. You guys can come in and play the game, but the actual launch date will be unveiled there. For us, S2 has been the biggest game that we have done to-date. Just the scope of it is much bigger our past works, not even close to it.

And not only on the scope of it, but S2 will also be on multiple platforms and Simulacra 1 being launch on consoles. We will launch it on Switch, PS4, and Xbox. We trying to have the launch on multiple platforms together at the same time. And that is why we will tell it when it’s really confirmed.

Another Genre and The Future?

D: So for the final question, maybe you guys could go for another genre after Simulacra?

SR: Simulacra has always been our bread and butter, so we will be working more on this series in the future. But knowing that, we are internally working on a new game but nothing to announce on that yet. We have a level of quality where If we pass this, then we can confidently announce it.

But definitely, there will be a new game that we’re working on is on another genre. But will stick to our roots with the storytelling. We believe it’s the strongest point that we have. It will be a storytelling game but different. Not a “Lost Phone” game again.

D: And I think that’s all of our questions. Thank you for your time!

And with that, the end of our feature with the CEO of Kaigan Games. Simulacra 2 will release this December 12 for PC and mobile while the console port of the first game will arrive sometime soon.

Visit their booth at this weekend’s Level UP KL in KLCC!