UTV’s acquisition of the UK-based game developer Ignition has paid off rather prematurely. Even before the release of El Shaddai, their first AAA title, the company has won an award in the Future Divisions category at the recently concluded Tokyo Game Show 2010.
The award was given away based on a poll conducted among attendees who previewed a shortened version of the game set up at the company’s booth.
“It came as a complete surprise to us since it was an impromptu ceremony. And it’s also great when gamers at the show decide that your title should win the award,” said Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV India.
El Shaddai — which releases next year on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox consoles — is a third person action shooter where you play as Enoch, the lead character from the Book of Enoch, and help bring together seven angels to prevent destruction to mankind. The developers have used the Hollywood film Legion as a frame of reference for the gameplay and storyline.
“We’ve released mobile and online games for the Indian market, and now we want to venture into console games for the global market. On the console platform, we’re focussing on first or third person shooters, and El Shaddai is one of them with a mythological feel to it,” Screwvala added.
Big on consoles
The UTV and Ignition affiliation dates back to 2007 when the former acquired stakes in the latter to build console and handheld games for the global market. The driving thought behind the acquisition, Screwvala said, was the ever-increasing size of the gaming industry. “We wanted to make our presence felt across all platforms, and with Indiagames, we’ve achieved that on the online platform. Now with Ignition, we’re targeting the global market,” Screwvala said.
Their future titles besides El Shaddai include Wardevil and Reich, one a third-person shooter and the other a first-person. The company believes that both the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles are continually innovating and have become a lot more interactive. To them, the quality of graphics takes priority over everything else. “People expect good quality graphics from console games. So for us, games are first about graphics, layered with gameplay, and then a back story,” Screwvala added.
UTV has also acquired stakes in True Games, and they’re working on the development of three Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). These titles will be released on their own platform within the USA, and for other countries — Korea, China, Europe, etc — UTV will partner with local companies who already have their own platforms.
As for the markets they’re aiming at Japan, Screwvala said, is among those that play both online and console games with equal zeal. And this is only obvious at the Tokyo Game Show, a yearly exhibition whose highlight is the sheer number of titles and gaming products that it offers for preview.
This year, 183 companies participated in the expo including renowned game publishers such as Capcom, Sega, Ubisoft and Konami. The awards were given away at a ceremony on the third day of the confluence.