In 2020, the developers of Raji: An Ancient Epic (one of the most well-known video games to come out of India) noted how difficult it had been to finance their work; the rejections from potential investors were so numerous that the founders came close to asking their team to look for other jobs. (They eventually received an Unreal Dev Grant.)
Raji ended up being novel in the attention it received as an Indian-developed game in the West. In the same year that the game was released, the prime minister of India himself, Narendra Modi, made a statement about wanting to see more video games about Indian culture and folk tales as part of a campaign known as “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat.”
2023, thus far, has also been significant for Indian developers and Indian culture in video games. In March, Xbox announced a program to help ‘underrepresented creators’, and one of the games chosen for this was The Palace on the Hill, from an Indian developer, Niku Games. Two months later, Sony launched its own program to specifically support emerging game developers in India. Venba, by Visai Games (based in Toronto), released in July and has been celebrated for the way it handles the depiction of Indian immigrants in Canada and the experience of the Indian diaspora there.
There is a sense of momentum, of things rapidly changing, for Indian game development and games that depict Indian culture. We spoke to three different developers based in India about their thoughts on this shift, along with the development of their own games.
Rhea Gupte and Prateek Saxena from imissmyfriends.studio are making the indie RPG Fishbowl, a pixel art game inspired by their own experiences during a time of turmoil. The game is focused on a 21-year-old video editorRead more on gamedeveloper.com