Arpita Kapoor and Mohit Rangaraju are IIIT Gwalior graduates and also International Game Developers Association Scholars. Always interested in gaming, the duo got an opportunity to attend the Game Developer’s conference in San Francisco through the International Game Developers Association scholarship in their third year of engineering. Talking about the experience, Mohit says, “We realized that not many studios from India were making quality content and hence were unable to compete globally with other games.” This is when the seed for Mech Mocha was sown.
“Our aim was to start a game studio that believes in the power of collaboration and remote working,” says Mohit. They formed a team of artists, sound designers and animators who would all work online on a collaboration basis and everyone would have some shares in the game’s profit after it is released. “Apart from game design and tech, which are our core skills, the rest of the team is spread across the globe. This also helped us in making the game at 1/5th of the normal cost,” says Mohit.
Trying out this model of game development from India, the company has found its backers as well. A part of the iAccelerator batch, the company has gone on to raise funding from a group of angels, including Devendra Parulekar, partner at Ernst & Young; Sanjay Mehta, member of both Indian Angel Network and Mumbai Angels; Ravi Trivedi, founder of Srijan Capital; and another unnamed individual. Taking of the investment, Ravi says, “I liked the passion of the founders, and felt confident they had the determination, firepower and the design skill set to execute. Their first game looks really good and engaging too and we think we have our bet at the right place.”
Arpita was recently awarded the most prominent female developer award by Casual Games Association and the company has been making a few waves in Amsterdam and also at the Chartboost University. “As a studio, we focus on casual games that are character-led, colorful and fast-paced. We strongly advocate the power of ‘free’ to play games and we are extremely against realistic violence, blood and gore in games,” says Mohit. Pablo is the character Mech Mocha works with.
The team has managed to create a buzz without a game in the store yet which in itself is commendable. Puppet Punch is their first title which is about to launch. “The traction in our tester groups has been pretty good so far. We were lucky to be in the institute during the development of this game; as we could test on different age groups. During our testing sessions, we found that kids and teens are more attracted towards the game’s art style and theme. So, this would be our target market when we soft launch our game,” says Arpita. The team is spread across the globe with six collaborators and two employees for Puppet Punch.
Gaming as a sector has never really picked up in India but we are seeing some activity now with the likes of Rolocule flying the flag high. Crazy Wolf Games is another recent example where the company was selected for TechPeaks program. iAccelerator itself has backed another young gaming company PlayPower Labs which is focusing on the US market.
The global gaming industry is pegged at $70.4 billion and with companies focusing on the global market from day one we’ll start hearing about some success stories in gaming from India.