The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India has suggested that new ways of consuming Indian mythology through animation, visual effects, gaming and comic (AVGC) sector should be adopted.
This is part of a broader strategy to make use of the Indian studios in this sector to develop their own games. The Ministry has suggested that a pool of mentors be established to help develop these games. The task force has also looked at popular mainstream movies like Baahubali and Sholay as inspirations for video game narratives which, alongside adaptations of other historic Indian literature, they think could appeal to an international audience.
In recent years, the banning of video games developed by Chinese studios in India has opened a window of opportunity for Indian video game studios. A growing curiosity for India-made games is finally being fed by creative developers.
Many esports players depended on games like PUBG as a source of income before the ban, and alternatives had to be found quickly. India’s population makes it a market for video games on most devices, but especially on mobile devices. There was a real boom in gaming after 2016 when mobile data prices saw a huge price drop. A game based on Indian mythology seems to work on many levels, and could spring a whole new sub-industry.
After popular games like PUBG were banned in India, several domestic replacements had surfaced, and although they didn’t hit the scales of the global games they replaced, they did show that Indian studios are aware and actively trying to fill a gap.
The dramatization of the great Indian epics through television have mostly been successful over the years. However, there haven’t been too many reimaginations of Indian mythology in video games.
This is peculiar given that mythologies from different parts of the world have been a great source of inspiration for some of the best video games of all time. The popular God of War series, which will have its latest installment releasing next month, is set in the Greek and Norse pantheon. Okami, the action-adventure video game set in classical Japan, sees the player take on the role of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess, and is widely considered one of the greatest games of the last 20 years.
One of the more delicate issues with an adaptation of the Ramayana or Mahabharata is that it is a sensitive subject for the general Indian populace. Even with retellings of Indian history, mythology, and folklore in media like films, the screenings are never short of controversy.
However, Indian game developers are now empowered to bring India to global screens and share Indian stories in interactive ways.