Established back in August 2015, Xenoaisam Studio started out with only one person, its founder, Mr Aisam. Over the years, the Malaysian indie studio has grown and expanded as Mr Aisam now has some new staff in the form of one Mr Kamil (an artist) and a few interns.
Their first game, a “hard”, third-person shooter with anime-style characters called Banzai Escape was released in Steam back in 2016. This title, which allows modding and expects players to kick the bucket multiple times, garnered many positive reviews. Now, Xenoaisam Studio is gunning for more as they are currently in the midst of developing the sequel for their first title, called Banzai Escape 2.
To satiate my curiosity regarding the Banzai Escape series and to know more about Xenoaisam Studio, I had a chat with them about a few things including the challenges that they faced in making their first game:
Tell us a little bit more about Xenoaisam Studio!
Xenoaisam Studio is a small independent studio which mainly focuses on creating action shooter games with cute ‘moe’ anime-style characters. We put emphasis on creating games for the PC platform and hopefully, we can become one of those awesome companies in Malaysia, and be known worldwide. Though we do not get any funding from other organisations, we self-fund ourselves with other jobs to fuel our projects. It is slow but progressing.
What’s the inspiration behind the Banzai Escape series?
Banzai Escape is actually Mr. Aisam’s fantasy story from his school days. The lack of moe-type of anime blending with militarisation during that time inspired him to create the world of anime + military. Back then, the Banzai series idea hadn’t exist yet; it was just concept art and design style.
What inspired this series’ design?
There’re many kinds of media that influenced the Banzai Escape series, but most of it derives from games and anime. Here are some games that influence our series:
Metal Gear (near future modern style design and philosophy), Resident Evil 5/6 (gameplay and feel), Half-Life series (AI Behaviour), Ghost in the Shell anime (design and art direction) and most moe anime (cute character design).
On another note, during 1998, there’s an anime series call Cardcaptor Sakura which really ‘influenced’ Mr. Aisam into loving the ‘moe’ style. So, why not mix moe with military? It’s something new to try at that time.
How long did it take to create Banzai Escape from start to finish?
It took almost a year and a half to finish the first game. Development started before the studio was even established. We only had the concept art back in April 2014, but fast forward to November 2015, we were in the midst of finalising the game.
What are the softwares/tools used to create the two Banzai Escape games?
The main game engine used for these games is Unity. Others like 3ds Max for 3D modeling, Corel/Photoshop are for arts-related matters and we even use Microsoft Office PowerPoint to create HUD design.
What were the challenges that you had during the creation of Banzai Escape?
Like any other developers; funds. When we started, we had a lack of funds to help us smoothen the development. Most of the time, Banzai Escape was created by one person; from designing to programming. For this game, while programming and music composing were provided by a man named Rahman Azhar, funding was the main obstacle that needed to be resolved. That’s the challenge we’ve always encountered, not just for Banzai Escape but also for our second game. Yet, we managed to finish the first game successfully. Slow in progression but worth it.
Now, that’s the spirit! It’s tough to be independent but with true grit, Xenoaisam has succeeded in making their first game and they are now working on the sequel. Local pride indeed! On top of that, the studio teased that Banzai Escape 2 will have some cool exciting stuff so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the completion of the game in the future!
While the first game is currently available for RM15.00 on Steam, players may need to wait longer for the sequel because Xenoaisam expects the latter’s development duration will take “about a year and two”, depending on the situation. Fortunately, you can download Banzai Escape 2’s alpha demo from Indie DB and play it! Also, do stay in touch with Xenoaisam Studio by following their Facebook page and website.