If you’ve been following the local game industry at all, and even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of Sri Lanka’s newest upcoming major video game. This is Kanchayudha, the historically based open world adventure game, by Arimac. The hype surrounding this game has been, in a word, unreal, but for the most part has been just that: – hype. Most of us are in the dark as to what the game brings to the table. To that end, we spoke with developers and to find out what we can expect to see in the finished product when it releases on the 12th.
So, what is Kanchayudha?
Kanchayudha will be a story-driven open-world adventure game, released on an episode by episode basis. Each episode will have a strong basis in both ancient folklore and confirmed prehistory, two areas that are intertwined more closely in Sri Lanka than any other locale. Perhaps wisely, the creative team behind Kanchayudha has chosen not to directly base their game off an existing prehistoric character and instead fashion an entirely new narrative based on the time.
Speaking to ReadMe, Chamira Jayasinghe – CEO of Arimac said, “The design of the game and characters are inspired by our history. For example, the architecture of the game is inspired by the mind-blowing archaeological sites of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Yapahuwa etc. The idea here is not to depict the history but creating a piece of entertainment with its inspiration.”
What Kanchayudha brings to the table
The game promises to offer many of the standard elements of its genre: – An open world, a central storyline, puzzles to solve, combat to engage in, and mysteries to discover. Chamira described the game saying, “Kanchayudha is like most 3rd person role-playing games like Assassin’s Creed, Darksiders, Prince of Persia, Shadow of Mordor and God of War. But we are not benchmarking ourselves with AAA games. We are hoping to give an extremely authentic gaming experience and we tried to match international gaming standards.”
The first and most unique feature of Kanchayudha is, of course, its innate Sri Lankan-ness. Almost everything about it is deeply rooted in the isle’s rich history and mythology, from its story to its characters to its setting and design choices. The story will be in Sanskrit and Sinhalese with a wide variety of subtitle languages will be supported. The developers have cited an often immersion-breaking lack of support for native south Asian languages in other games being the primary factor behind this decision.
Moving on to more technical (but no less exciting) features, comes the various release platforms of the game. The game will be released on multiple platforms – the regular release for PCs and consoles. Additionally, we’ll also see a companion app for mobile devices, and an additional wave-based survival game mode made for VR devices.
How much Kanchayudha will cost and how you can get your hands on it
The standard game will be released on an episodic basis, with each one unlocked using a license key. This license key is to set to cost around $19.99. That’s Rs.3020 based on the exchange rate at the time of writing. The license key will be emailed to you if you buy the game online, and will be included in the hard copy of the game you buy otherwise. Presumably, the VR device mode will come with this release.
The companion mobile app will be made available on iOS and Android. iOS users will be expected to fork over $0.99 to play. However, Android users will be able to download the app free and optionally pay $0.99 to play without ads. Based on the success of the game, the team at Arimac also plans to manufacture merchandise for the game, including clothing, stationery and the like, and limited edition models of game characters on demand.
Overall, Arimac’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s ailing video game industry is an ambitious, unique project. Kanchayudha will likely set new standards for game development in the country. Its only challenge, once it releases, will be combating Sri Lankan videogamers’ lax attitudes towards computer piracy, and living up to its own hype. Either way, we wish the team at Arimac all the best with Kanchayudha. We’ll be looking forward to playing the game and their other releases in 2017. For more information, keep an eye on their Facebook page here.
Update: A change of plans
Since the time of writing of this article, there have been a few notable changes to Kanchayudha’s business plan. Kanchayudha has now been released on a pay-what-you-will scheme. This means you can either get it for free or pay a custom amount of, at maximum, Rs. 10,000.