WHAT if Tekken, but Pinoy heroes? Fighting in true-to-life historical places?
That's what new Steam game Bayani brings to the table: the rich culture and history of the Philippines, transported into a modern fighting game.
“It’s like playing Tekken, Street Fighter, and the like, but a local version. It’s [full of trivia] and informative, and playing this game will help Filipinos remember their history while [they enjoy],” game artist and creator, Anthony Dacayo shared with Spin Life during the ESGS 2019. “We picked a genre talaga na very straightforward, wala masyadong isip, strategy lang talaga as we realized na magandang stepping stone siya for the local industry.”
It all began when Heneral Luna came out back in 2015. "I was surprised na some students [didn't] know a part of their history, in particular yung character ni Epy Quizon, [si] Apolinario Mabini," he shares. "They we’re asking bakit daw naka-upo lang si Epy sa buong movie."
Motivated to put a little education back into the public consciousness, Dacayo posted his artworks online — his own modernized version of Filipino heroes. When it went viral, developer Ranida Games tapped him for a possible collaboration. They would bring his art to life, and turn it into an interactive game.
He explained, "Bale, nagse-sketch kasi ako ng Filipino heroes, and pino-post ko siya online every time may event, like National Heroes' Day or anniversary ng isang bayani. Pero 'yung artworks ko, wearing modernized clothing. Then one time, nag-share lang ako sa Facebook, nag-viral and maraming nag-comment, until nag-reach out na sa'kin yung Ranida Games."
In 2018, the team met Ryan Ramirez, a Filipino EVO champion based in America. He immediately took a liking to the game, and gave a massive leg up to the game's development. "With Ryan on board, tinutulungan niya kami to expose ‘yung game abroad like sa Las Vegas, Washington, and Korea. When we introduce[d it] to [foreigners], nakikita nila ‘yung potential ng game, and we’re hoping Filipino gamers could see them too.”
Ramirez also gave them a few helpful inputs. The team did a slight overhaul, and were finally able to launch the full-fledged game this 2019.
An arcade version of Bayani is already available in Steam as an Early Access title, while its developers are working to come up with more complex upgrades, like a complete story mode. "Critical yung story mode para maintindihan din nila ang characters and setting," says Ranida, who reveals that he's one of the main writers. They're also hard at work bringing it to consoles and even mobile.