It’s been a slow news month, even if the site had been up and running the whole time. As we approach the summer months, I will attempt to fill in the gaps with some more “interest” articles. One of those that I have come up with is a series that will preview titles that are bound for the upcoming Exa-Arcadia platform. We’re still unsure when this system will begin shipping to arcades (last word was Spring, but we’re almost done there; some locations in Japan do have test units), so until then, let’s get a deeper look at what to expect. I started the series with a look at the run’n gun title Blazing Chrome and today we’re taking a look at a 1v1 fighter by the name of Bayani.
Bayani was first unveiled as an Exa title in January when a plethora of games were announced for the platform; it had previously been funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Designed by a team based in the Philippines called Ranida Games, it is also one of two games that will be coming to the platform, the other being an NBA Jam-like title they previously released on mobile devices. For Bayani, they describe the game thus:
BAYANI is a 1-on-1 indie fighting video game that draws heavily from historical figures and landmarks from the Philippines as inspiration. However, the game’s characters, levels, and storyline don’t depict historical events but is more trivial in nature. The game world is set on an alternate timeline but has many parallels, references, and callbacks to historical figures and events.
The word BAYANI is the Filipino word for Heroes. However, it carries a deeper context wherein only those who are willing to suffer and sacrifice themselves for the good of the country are worthy to be called as such. Therefore, the game is a fusion of tradition, culture, and digital art. It aims to help the younger generation of Filipinos to appreciate their country’s history and heritage by associating it to a more modern and interactive medium.
The game is currently headed to PCs via Steam Early Access on June 12th. This version of the game will have “4 Characters (Joe, Leon, Tonio and Oria), a Versus Mode, an Arcade Mode and a Training Mode.” The final release version of the game is aiming to feature a total of 8-10 characters.
Given that I knew zilch about Philippine history and the country’s historical figures, it is nice to have some character profiles about halfway down their official front page. Most of them are based on real people that were directly involved in the Philippine Revolution era of the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. This kind of reminds me of the never finished/released game that was in development for another kit platform, Founding Force. That one would have featured beat ’em up gameplay based upon people from the American Revolutionary War.
If you’re here, you might be wondering what features and/or content will be added to the arcade version. I reached out to Ranida Games and asked, where they responded with some details. First, their focus is on finishing the base game for PC ; Once complete they will then turn their focus to other versions such as Exa. They responded: “Exa-Arcadia version would include all characters (8-10) and stages, right now we are working on the 4th character. We have a couple of people working on character development, another working on stage development and the rest on UI polish etc. So basically, everyone in the team are working in parallel, the most complicated and most important being the character development as it includes moves development, frame data, and balancing.“
Wishlist BAYANI on Steam: https://t.co/RQdO5CXVkP
— Bayani – Fighting Game (@bayaniph) April 23, 2019
The game page on the Exa website also mentions that “Unlike other recent fighters, VS play is available with only 1 PCB and software kit.” Naturally, details and features can change in the development process, but it does sound like if this version lands this year, it’ll be at or near the end. It could always change to 2020, so I would just wait for an official date announcement
I also downloaded a demo of the game to get a feel for what to expect, knowing that it is not representative of the Early Access edition that will be available in a couple of weeks. I poked around the Training mode at first (pictured near the top), to get a feel for the controls, then gave the Versus mode a spin a couple of times. I wasn’t able to play with a friend, so it was more just goofing around, as this demo doesn’t have AI. I only used the keyboard controls (which I’ve never found comfortable on PC), which were a little confusing for navigating around the menus, but that wouldn’t be a problem in the arcade version (and likely fixed for the home builds). I was able to run it at Ultra graphics settings, although I did bring it down to High to get it running at a better frame rate; the PC I used isn’t what you’d call high end (AMD Phenom II X4 940; 8GB RAM; nVidia GTX 550Ti), so below spec of the Exa-Arcadia. Enough for me to play it, but not the best possible. I probably will be building a new up-to-date system later this year, but I digress…
The sense I got from the little I could play, is that it’s a like a cross between Street Fighter IV (particularly from the cel-shaded look of the characters and some of the fighting system) and Soul Calibur (the latter mainly from the use of weapons by the characters). I’m sure that there might be another fighter out there that is better to compare it to, maybe Guilty Gear, but I’d have to let someone better versed in fighting games comment on that. It was not difficult to control, and it has the kind of stuff that you’d expect such as throws, dashes, air dashes, a Special Gauge and of course special moves.
I look forward to seeing the final, polished product. While the character roster is unknown to most people outside of the Philippines, they’ve created new personas and a fictional, alternate history to build the game universe upon. With that, I imagine that no one will turn away from the game based on the characters, and instead will look at the final balance & fighting system. I also find it interesting that they crafted new personas based upon real people, it makes you want to learn more about them – at least in my case.
What do you think about Bayani from the information out there now?