Lokapala: Saga of the Six Realms will be the only local game contested at the national sporting event, as it will also hold the competition for four foreign games: Free Fire, Mobile Legends, eFootball PES 2021, and PUBG Mobile.
The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mobile game was developed by Ivan Chen -- the CEO of a game and digital content developer Anantarupa Studios -- inspired by Indonesian regional cultures as well as historical and mythological heroes.
He remarked that the game was created through a lengthy process. "Four years ago, we had noticed that esports would shift towards mobile-based gaming. Hence, we wanted to do something to catch the trend," he noted during a virtual press conference on August 24, 2021.
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However, at that time, several people still did not believe in his plan, as there was not a single gaming company that was able to make esports games in the Southeast Asian region, he remarked.
Despite a difficult journey, Chen and his team still continued their preparations for the eight-month pre-production stage in 2018.They then started the game production in 2019.
Finally, in mid-2020, they cooperated with digital entertainment content provider PT Melon Indonesia -- a subsidiary of the state-owned telecommunication network and service provider PT Telkom Indonesia Tbk. -- which began to develop interest in the game publishing business.
"It turned out that Lokapala received a lot of positive feedback despite our limited capability back then," the CEO of Anantarupa Studios added.
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Birth of Lokapala
Lokapala: Saga of the Six Realms became the first game published by PT Melon Indonesia.
"It was released in May 2020 amid the pandemic," the CEO of PT Melon Indonesia Dedi Suherman stated.
Suherman noted that the company had decided to enter the game publishing business then.
Earlier, PT Melon Indonesia had focused on the game aggregation business for quite a long time by embracing various well-known games that also comprise the four games that were contested at the 2020 Papua PON esports exhibition.
Suherman admitted that entering the game publishing business was quite difficult since they had to get the Indonesian local game that was ready to be marketed.
After conducting a long hunt for the local game while rejecting the foreign ones from China and Korea, the company finally met Anantarupa Studios.
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"After discussing, we assessed that the game had quite mature stories for the characters. Thus, it became the first local game with capabilities as a MOBA game. Hence, it could be competed during esports," the CEO of PT Melon Indonesia remarked.
He further noted that after reaching an agreement, the mobile game was finally launched in the midst of the pandemic. Thus, the promotions could only be conducted through virtual esports activities.
With passage of time, Lokapala has become more mature and gotten its own community. Ahead of the 2020 Papua PON, PT Melon Indonesia was engaged in discussions with the Indonesian Esports Executive Board (PB ESI) and the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI).
"Finally, PB ESI and KONI accepted Lokapala as one of the games competed during the 2020 PON esports exhibition. We will have a special category as a friendly match," Suherman stated.
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Lokapala: Saga of the Six Realms became the representative icon of an Indonesian game at the 2020 Papua PON esports exhibition.
"We want to show our commitment, as we and Anantarupa Studios have been given an opportunity to present an authentic game whose intellectual property, coding, and story are originally made in Indonesia and able to be accepted in a short time," Suherman remarked.
Suherman expressed hope that the mobile game would not only be able to entertain its players but also produce excellent esports champions and athletes, who can represent Indonesia in national and global tournaments.
Meanwhile, Lokapala being contested in the 2020 Papua PON holds its own meaning for its creator -- Ivan Chen.
"The first PON held in Surakarta -- which is my hometown -- aimed at showing Indonesia’s sovereignty to the world despite being blockaded by the Netherlands back then," Chen stated. The first PON was held on September 9-12, 1948, amid the enforcement of the Renville Agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia that limited Indonesia’s territory.
"Hence, the Lokapala friendly match during the 2020 Papua PON means a lot to us -- especially me -- as it can demonstrate to the world that Indonesia also has sovereignty over the esports game industry," he affirmed.
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In addition, he is optimistic that the Anantarupa Studios’ mobile game presence in the national multi-sports event would be a great starting point for the domestic game industry, thereby being able to encourage the birth of better work.
The friendly match of Lokapala: Saga of the Six Realms will be run in a national tournament format.
According to the 2020 Papua PON technical guidebook, registration for the friendly match has been opened from August 23 to September 3, 2021, through Garudaku.com platform.
Each team has to register five members. Thus, in order to make the process easier, they are allowed to come from different provinces.
Meanwhile, the technical meeting will be conducted on September 5, 2021, and then be followed by the qualifying round on September 6-7, 2021. The round of 8 will take place on September 13, 2021.
Later, the finalists will head to Papua to compete in the final round for a total prize of Rp200 million. It will be held on September 22-26, 2021, at the esports arena located at the cricket and hockey venue in Doyo Baru Village, Jayapura District, Papua.
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