TRIPLE ACE
MEN 'S FOLIO Singapore|November 2020
Shying away from big budgets or endorsements, the secret to these successful Singapore developers lies in the heart, soul, and for one of them, a singing bird.
Bryan Goh

When it comes to the art of producing games, two of the biggest franchise come to mind — The Sims and Final Fantasy. Coincidentally, they are quite consistent in the way they have always been engineered. The former employs a sandbox world where one can fulfill basic and bourgeois fantasies while the latter frequently revolves around a plucky bunch of heroes in a fantasy world. While they might be big-scale productions (Final Fantasy VIII reportedly sold over nine million copies while The Sims Four sold 20 million) with huge marketing budgets reaching into the millions, both have been plagued in recent years by their lack of innovation.

One does not need to read gaming forums to figure out the situation. Player complaints over the years have been made about the linearity of the games coupled with the problem of “corporate cash grabs” — how both titles have launched paid-for content (or in gaming terms, DLCs) that do not hold significant creative changes. Neither are they mandatory for game progression most of the time.

On the contrary, local indie game studios do not rely on large-scale teams or equally big budgets. While they might face the problem of a saturated global gaming market with the local industry still finding its legs, the Singapore teams have the one key formula that the bigwigs seem to have lost in recent years — crucially, the heart and soul.

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