Aliens, cyborgs or flying superheroes - we have seen them all in Bangladeshi pop culture. Be it Tarzan, Superman or The Terminator, Dhallywood has churned out some infamous remakes of these Western characters. But we have not seen women shooting aliens with pulse rifles, and that too wearing salwar kameez. Many 'firsts' like this game will meet the eyes of the spectators this September, as the Bangladeshi multiplayer game "Annihilation" is set to premiere in major gaming platforms.
Annihilation, essentially a post-apocalyptic game, brings alien invasion to Dhaka. By the looks of the trailer, the invaders have somehow left the bustling capital deserted. Only a handful of people with weapons tread across the city. They kill aliens at the first sight for the sake of survival and some gaming points.
"It's a Battle Royale game, where 50 gamers can engage simultaneously in an intense fight against each other," says Sium Hasan Udoy, lead developer and animator of the game. Sium has been in the gaming business for the past five years. He is also the co-founder of Crisis Entertainment, the studio behind the game and Annihilation is their first venture into the industry. "This is just the beginning of an expansive gaming universe," he promises.
"We are considering three more scripts, which could be games set in a shared universe. For now, Annihilation is our kickoff," Sium added.
The eerie resemblance of the game's plot and the Covid-19 outbreak in Dhaka left Crisis Entertainment bemused. The trailer shows strikingly similar montages of Dhaka amid shutdown at its peak. "No humans outdoors" applies to both reality and the game.
Being intrigued by the girl in salwar kameez, we had to ask about the game's character.
Over the phone, Sium chuckled and said that multiplayer games usually have a range of playable characters. "Her name is Maria," he said, adding, "Annihilation has a host of diverse playable characters and the game's plot springs across three countries - Japan, Norway and of course, Bangladesh." And Maria, the alien slaying character, is based in Dhaka.
Watch the trailer of "Annihilation" here
Initially, gamers will be able to play with eight characters, including Maria. More characters will be available following the release.
For Sium and his teammates, the primary inspiration behind Annihilation was DC Comics. "Darkseid, a supervillain from the comics, became our muse," Sium's nod to the comic book villain was rampant in the game trailer. Darkseid brings an army of aliens to Earth to execute his evil plan. In Annihilation, a similar alien race infiltrates humans on Earth. Their agenda? Well, you have to play the game to find out when it is unveiled on the video game digital distribution service, Steam. In Sium's own words, the game will be only available for online purchase. More details are to be followed on their Facebook page.
We wanted to know more about the team that made Annihilation. Sium introduced his teammates and their respective roles. Crisis Entertainment is a five-membered team. Shadman Sian is the financial and marketing director, Umar Faruq Imran maintains the game management, Nahid Ul Kabir is a 3D artist and level designer and Misbah Habib is a programmer.
Sium elaborated about the hardware requirement of the game. "The minimum requirements for the game is Core i3 6th Gen, GTX 960, and a 6 GB Ram. This game is mostly GPU intensive because we have focused on Next Gen Procedural lighting, Volumetric Fog, Weather System, High-End Global Illumination and many other graphics processor-intensive programs." he detailed.
Can local talents be on the same grounds as international game developers someday? The correspondent asked Sium about his take on the gaming industry in Bangladesh.
Sium believes that local talents have the potential to earn a name in the global game development scene. But he is opinionated about how local games are catered to the mass.
"In Bangladesh, some people make games for the sake of business. They just want a finished product with the tag 'Bangladeshi game.' But patriotic sentiments will only take us so far."
Before finishing off, the correspondent tossed one final question to Sium about the antagonists of the game. Who are they?
Sium revealed, "Her name is Laila, another Bangladeshi character who is one of the villains in the game." He did not want to slip out more secrets before the game's release.
Annihilation will not be initially available for android and iOS devices as cross-platform games entail a different strategic approach. Crisis Entertainment wants to wait for a few months before leaping into that decision.
In the meanwhile, we can surely wait for Annihilation to get into a whole new ball game.