SuperGaming’s Indus Is a Bold Reimagination of Indian History & Battle Royales
Origins of India’s First Battle Royale Indus and Indo-Futurism
Pune-based studio SuperGaming has embraced the phrase ‘Made-in-India’ with all its might. The publisher has taken it upon itself to introduce India, its essence, and its beauty to the gaming world. SuperGaming’s brainchild Indus is an Indo-Futuristic Battle Royale [BR] that is set to revolutionize the genre and the way India is captured in games. With trailblazing, unique concepts that could very well be fitted into a science fiction novel, Indus hopes to put India, with a sci-fi twist, on the world map.
A part of the game’s appeal is how it features Indian culture with a futuristic twist, specifically the Indus Valley Civilization. Mainstream media often portray India as a land of colors, loud music, tasty street food, and the home of Bollywood and overlook the best bits – our heritage and rich history. “Indus changes this with Indo-Futurism — a never before seen take on India's culture and heritage through the lenses of optimism and science fiction,” said Indus Game Director Jwalant Gangwar.
SuperGaming is currently hard at work to push Indus onto mobile, console, and PC platforms. Indus’ progress and development have been a sight to behold over the last couple of years. The Battle Royale community rejoiced and welcomed the game with open arms when it was treated to Indus’ first look in August 2022. SuperGaming has since hosted two community playtests and is actively incorporating player feedback into the game. AFK Gaming had the opportunity to test the game at the Bengaluru Comic Con in December 2022. Indus’ beginner-friendliness, visuals, and intuitive gameplay were some of the biggest standout points during the playtest that got us excited.
Building upon the concept of Battle Royales & shooter games
The biggest appeal of Battle Royales is that they are fairly straightforward to understand: The last one standing wins. India is no stranger to battle royales and in fact, it is one of the biggest markets for battle royale games. Thus, it is a challenging task to enter such a competitive space. However, Indus, the game developed by SuperGaming, stands out from the competition by introducing a unique win condition.
According to Gangwar, the game director, players (aka Mythwalkers) can not only win by being the last person standing but also by being the first to obtain a singular piece of Cosmium - a unique substance within the game that appears on the battlefield in the later stages of play. This adds an extra layer of strategy and excitement to the gameplay.
To create a game that could challenge the Battle Royale space, SuperGaming developed Indus with a deep understanding of the genre and its strengths and weaknesses. Gangwar stated that Indus innovates in all aspects of gameplay that make a shooter a battle royale. “This includes the way the players land which sets the pace and tone for each match to the storm and its adaptive behavior to keep the game fair and exciting,” he added.
Additionally, the loot system of Indus is robust and complex and enables players to avoid “pointless clutter.” During the Bengaluru Play Test, AFK Gaming found this feature to be extremely intuitive and beginner-friendly. It allows players to auto-pick up the right loot for the set-up you are running in-game.
Another major USP of Indus is the fact that SuperGaming has built a ballistics system from the ground up. The developers felt the need to innovate given the game’s sci-fi setting and goals.
Gangwar talked extensively about the difficulties in coming up with a novel ballistics system. He said, “Unlike our counterparts in the west that have ready and almost easy access to firearms in order to gauge how their in-game weapon systems should behave, guns in India, for our use case, aren’t really easy to come by and are layered with an exceptional amount of red tape.”
SuperGaming’s solution was to spend quality time at local firing ranges and draw inspiration from the best parts of other shooters including Call of Duty, Valorant, and Destiny 2. Gangwar believed that the end result of Indus’ ballistics and weapon system was impactful and authentic.
The glamor and appeal of Indo-Futurism
SuperGaming is looking to break the traditional mold of sci-fi by incorporating Indian elements through Indo-Futurism, a concept that envisions India's past, present, and future in an optimistic light. According to Gangwar, the idea of Indo-Futurism came from Indian history and he believes that this concept will resonate with everyone, as it is relatable and familiar.
The company is focused on creating a game that is advanced and futuristic, with a focus on space-age technology. It wants to avoid the use of primitive weapons or fantasy settings, as it believes it would not be as “grand or fun.” Instead, it has built its lore by thinking about "What If" scenarios. ‘What if instead of going extinct, the Indus Valley Civilisation advanced to the space age? And what if we extrapolated that to an entire planet rather than just a river valley?’ This was our launchpad,” said the game director.
Gangwar also mentioned that the game's unique names and concepts are created by the lore team, and they put them to vote internally. This allows the team to come up with creative and unique ideas while also ensuring that they align with the overall theme and vision of the game. The characters, skins, and guns all have unique names that are reflective of the game's Indian setting.
Overall, SuperGaming is looking to create a game that is not only fun to play but also culturally rich and meaningful, with an emphasis on Indo-Futurism. It hopes that this will provide a unique and exciting gaming experience for players.
Competing with heavy-weights and other challenges
SuperGaming acknowledges that it has a mountain to climb in the Battle Royale industry and its respective competitive ecosystem. Jwalant Gangwar stated that it is a congested marketplace and added, “Riot Games pushing Valorant heavily and Krafton running New State, these are industry giants that have esports down to a science. Getting a foothold in the space and standing out from the competition will be a major challenge.”
However, he was confident that Indus can stand up to the heavyweights since SuperGaming has built Indus as a shooter platform and not just another battle royale. He stated that the company has been developing tools and technology to go beyond just BRs or simple Team Deathmatches [TDMs] and that the addition of more game modes is an area that SuperGaming will explore eventually.
There is no denying that the Indian esports industry has seen a major boom in the last few years and SuperGaming has not brushed aside this fact. It noted that esports has been a “foundational pillar” for Indus and stated that it is working on the structure to propagate Indus as an esport. “We are excited for how Indus fairs on the competitive stage and hopefully provides players who are looking to create a future for themselves in Indus,” avowed Gangwar.
All in all, SuperGaming’s Indus could be the much-needed breath of fresh air within the Battle Royale ecosystem. When Indus hits the market, players will finally have a Battle Royale that they deeply resonate with and a game that is truly reflective of their culture and heritage. In addition to this, we will also get to see how the players innovate within the game given that it has more than just one win condition and how they come up with different gameplay strategies.