At this point, it’s probably common knowledge that a fellow Malaysian - Wan Hazmer - was involved in the making of Final Fantasy XV. That’s still an awesome fact, but we had to wonder - what other well-known franchise did we play that contained some local contribution we didn’t know about?
Well, it turns out there’s quite a few, actually. The studios involved may be ones we’re probably familiar to some degree (like Streamline Studios and Lemon Sky), but the other stuff they’ve worked on in the past may surprise some of you. We’ll be ignoring titles like Uncharted and Final Fantasy, but that still leaves us with a sizeable list of gaming franchises that had help from home:
Metal Gear Solid (Fly Studio)
Coming a year after series spin-off Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes marked a return to the main series more than half a decade following 2008’s Metal Gear Solid 4. Set several months after Peace Walker, the game serves as prologue and gameplay appetizer to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Players get the chance to play as popular character Big Boss once more as he infiltrates a base to rescue Paz and Chico. While said base is the game’s only level, there’s enough replayability to provide hours of gameplay.
The local folks who were involved with Ground Zeroes come from Fly Studio, a CG Productions studio that has been around since 2001 and is no stranger to working with Japanese studios. While their specific contribution to the game isn’t mentioned on their site, their video-game related work comes in the form of game cinematics and/or in-game assets. Somewhat coincidentally (or not), the studio was also involved with Metal Gear Rising, as well as several other Japanese game franchises.
Fly Studio was also involved with several Yakuza games, namely Yakuza 5, 6 and the Isshin spin-off; Tekken 7 is also listed as one of the games they worked on.
StarCraft (Lemon Sky)
The 90s saw the birth of many popular gaming franchises, and StarCraft was one of them. The game that introduced us to the concept of a Zerg rush, last year saw it being made free alongside the Brood War expansion by Blizzard. Furthermore, a remastered version was released as well so that the war between Terrans, Zerg and Protoss could be re-experienced with a modern aesthetic.
Among the many who loved the original were the staff of Lemon Sky, and so it was no surprise that they were thrilled to have the opportunity to work on StarCraft: Remastered. Working with gaming giant Blizzard was itself an achievement too. “Every concept art, illustration, tile, 3D modeling, rigging, animation, compositing, VFX, and even email was made with such a surreal feeling because we had the opportunity to work with Blizzard Entertainment,” they wrote on ArtStation, where they posted some of the incredible work they did.
Lemon Sky also worked on 2013’s Sim City, another title that hailed from a well-known franchise that started before the 21st Century. More recent titles include the punishing Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne, as well as Tekken 7, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Dead Rising 3.
Saints Row (Streamline Studios)
Saints Row’s life as a GTA clone lasted for only one game before starting down its own path in Saints Row 2. Saints Row 3 and 4 were where the franchise really became its own unique thing, with the third properly embracing absurdity and the fourth escalating things with superhero powers that included a nuke-causing punch. But the second is still fondly remembered by some, with the PC version having a “Mostly Positive” rating on Steam despite being known for its issues.
Malaysia was unfortunately not involved with the newer games which featured a giant dildo as a melee weapon, but we were there during the Saints Row franchise’s formative years. Streamline Studios, perhaps better known for working on FFXV, contributed to the first two games as a key partner on “large-scale world creation for streaming city engine”. If you happen to revisit or check out their cities, you can now do so knowing that a local studio helped in their creation.
Streamline has also been involved with numerous other big franchises like Gears of War, BioShock, and Unreal Tournament, although it was with the newer releases of each franchise. They’ve also contributed to the indie scene, with RPG Pillars of Eternity receiving their help in “world design, concept, and creation of various realms and settlements”.
League of Legends (Passion Republic)
Alright, this is going to be a bit different from the previous entries on the list. First off, this isn’t a franchise, but it’s definitely one of the most popular games in the world. League of Legends made the Multiplayer Online Battle Online genre the giant it is today, and it continues to dominate even though the market now includes Dota 2.
Secondly, Passion Republic wasn’t involved with the development of the game itself. BUT, the studio did leave its mark during last year’s League of Legends World finals.
The League of Legends World Championship is Riot Games’ annual professional tournament, and last November’s finals saw Samsung Galaxy and SKT T1 clashing off in a rematch. But before that, audiences got to witness a dragon entering the arena.
Said dragon was modeled after the game’s Elder Drake, and brought to life through Augmented Reality thanks to the efforts of Passion Republic. While the lack of Sword Art Online-style technology meant that it was only visible onscreen, it was still pretty cool and definitely caught attention.
The studios have naturally worked on a multitude of games as well, ranging from Batman: Arkham Knight, Uncharted 4 (and The Lost Legacy), Injustice 2 and the canceled Fable Legends. Their contributions are an assorted one too, ranging from cinematic and gameplay animation in Gears of War 4 to outfits and boss characters in Dark Souls 3. Hopefully, we might see an AR game from them sometime in the future.