With the Indian games industry evolving, studios have begun to develop games for current gen consoles. Leading the pack is Version2Games Limited, which is working on one of the first PSN games from an Indian developer, Smash ‘N’ Survive, a fast-paced vehicle combat game, as well as several future projects. To learn more about the game, its upcoming DLC and multiplayer support as well as the future of the Indian games industry, we chatted to Rajat Ojha, President of V2G.
Hi, could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your work at V2G?
Hello, I’m Rajat Ojha and I’m the President of Version2Games Limited. I also manage the game production and give game ideas.
Gameplay areas are said to be destructible, what level of destructibility should we expect?
A lot of! We started with much more but in our learning curve, we had to tone it down but still it’s satisfying.
How long is the singleplayer campaign, and will it have a plot?
The campaign is close to 4-5 hours of gameplay but there are challenge game modes which get unlocked as you progress through the campaign and individual game modes double up the gameplay duration.
Version 2 Games Limited is a subsidiary of Zen Technologies, a company that specializes in high-tech simulators – why did you decide to make a game that is the exact opposite of a simulator?
That was intentional. Simulation development is an awesome thing and is always high precision and accurate. We wanted something to break away from that jinx and still wanted to use our experience in vehicles so we decided to do a vehicle game but not too realistic.
Six-player multiplayer will be available as free DLC in April – why did you choose to release the game now, rather than with multiplayer in April?
Single player experience is a must for our game and we have a robust and rewarding single player and we were facing some balancing issues in multiplayer so we decided to release with singleplayer and versus mode now which will get you used to of our game, mechanics, missions etc. and then we will release multiplayer.
Will there be more DLC later on?
We have 12 more cars, few more maps, new game modes and new weapons as DLC.
Will you release a demo?
Are you worried by the fact that your game – which has vehicle melee elements – is releasing in the same month as Twisted Metal, arguably the biggest vehicle melee game in existence?
Not much. All the mission types are very different. I’m a sucker for mindless fun but that was not what I wanted to make because that way, it directly competes with Twisted Metal or FlatOut so this thing will again separate our game from Twisted Metal. Our weapons are more of melee or close ranged ones like blades, saws, plungers, electric shock, sonic boom and magneto repulsor unlike Twisted Metal’s guns and rockets. Smash ‘N’ Survive is totally different from Twisted Metal. In fact, it’s an honour to be compared against Twisted Metal.
Why did you decide to develop exclusively for the PSN, rather than go multiplatform?
Microsoft doesn’t give their development kits to India for the reasons best known to them. PC is not in our current scheme of things but we are not rejecting that option and if we find a good publisher then we can plan for a PC release. Since this is not our focus, we didn’t explore the possibility of Steam also.
In January 2011, you released an iPhone promotional version, but it’s no longer on the store – what happened?
That was used to test the water and also to advertise upcoming Smash ‘N’ Survive on PS3. Since we had all the assets, it was a quick attempt to push it on iOS. We did pretty well there and stayed in top 50 for long in various stores. We want to project ourselves as console game as it’s really tough to monetize on iOS games for a studio of this size.
Last year, a V2G representative said on IVG: “[Sony] are exclusively looking for Indian content and they are not concerned about Indian developers making global content, which is discouraging. We are open to Indian content, but it should be done with such finesse that the whole world looks up to it” – Do you believe Sony have changed their outlook now that SnS is releasing?
There are two things in this: There’s Sony Europe’s Indian division which clearly appreciates and accepts games which are based on Indian content and then there’s Sony Europe (Guys sitting in the UK) who’ll appreciate global content by Indian studio. I tried to put my point before also that Indian studio doesn’t necessarily mean Indian studio making Indian products, it can also mean Indian studio making games for gamers regardless of demography. In last five months, we have developed very strong relationship with Sony Europe and they have loved our future game concepts too which are again not Indian contents. In November 2011, SCEE had sent four members team to our studio to discuss ideas, technical knowledge exchange and discuss future of V2G with SCEE. All these were very constructive exercises and mean a lot to a new studio like ours.
India has traditionally been used by publishers for outsourcing – do you think we’ll start to see more Indian developers creating full games?
I am 100% sure. India has proven track record in art and Indian techies are working everywhere. It’s just that India needs to see couple of success stories and once that happens, you’ll see serious push for full game development in India. Right now, investors are not fully aware of the market, risks involved and the guys who want to make full games have no money to do so but once investors start understanding the potential of the full game development then the picture will change. Right now, you can see lot of investment being made for mobile and Facebook game development companies because investors have seen success there in the global as well as in Indian market.
With huge development and resource teams in the US and Europe, Sony often helps out developers. Were they still able to help you despite not having as large a base of operations?
We got help from SCEE when they visited us. There had been lot of help during our IPA stages which improved the overall quality of the game. In last three months, we have been working closely with SCEE for everything.
Canada is rapidly becoming the world’s developing hub due to aggressive tax cuts by the government – how tax friendly is the Indian government when it comes to games developers?
Indian government is yet to understand the potential of this industry. I participated in a recent pitch the state government where I advocated university recognized game courses and tax rebates etc and thankfully the Karnataka government announced Karnataka Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (KAVGC) Policy 2011 which is first in this country. The objectives of the policy are — to encourage and support appropriate manpower, infrastructure and business development; attract global players; facilitate a legal framework for IP creation and protection; promote indigenous ‘digital content ‘ education and entertainment for the masses; to set up a centre of excellence with state-of-the-art facilities to act as a catalyst for the AVGC industry; to set up multiple AVGC parks on the SEZ model.
On the V2G website it says that “V2Games is planning to have three international brands every two years.” – What else is V2G planning?
Expect a mind blowing adventure game next which will have visuals at par with the world’s best games and gameplay is absolutely unique. I promise that no one has seen something like that before. We are also working on the design of game next to that and there’s no looking back for us. Smash ‘N’ Survive is our entry to the game industry and our future releases will establish our position in this industry.
And finally, which customizable SnS weapon is your favorite?
I am in love with Magneto Repulsor which does not give damage to the vehicles but topples them; this helps you to plan your attack. There are trade-offs of using this weapon which you’ll see when you’ll play the game. Wait for the launch trailer to get complete details of these weapons.
Smash ‘N’ Survive is set to release exclusively on the PlayStation Network on February 22nd.