This piece is a guest contribution from Stephen Ojo. A freelance writer based in Nigeria with an interest in gaming and the legal challenges faced by creative teams.

Games Industry Africa had a chat with a representative of Dimension 11 studios, to discuss their upcoming game – Legends of Orisha: Blood and Water. This game is a Yoruba Story-Based Action-Adventure Role Playing Game that the team have been working on for over a year now and is set to launch in 2022.

The development process received a major boost when two of their team members were selected for the Game Development Diverse Scholarship by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), which seeks to assist game developers from underrepresented groups of the society.

GIA: Tell us about your game? e.g genre, build platform etc

Dimension Rep: Legends of Orisha: Blood and Water is a Yoruba Story-Based Action-Adventure Role Playing Game being developed using the Unreal Game Engine. We started working on Legends of Orisha in January of this year. We will launch LOR first on PC (Steam and Epic Games Store) and based on sales, we’d launch on consoles (XBox and Playstation). 

GIA: Any attempt towards building a community for the game so far?

Dimension Rep: Yes, we have been building a community for the game, as we have a Youtube Channel, Discord Server,  instagram page, LinkedIn page and a Website. We have a very active community supporting the game and contributing their own quota to the game.

GIA: What was the process like in developing it?

Dimension Rep: It has not been an easy task for the team, as we have developers working with us remotely from various parts of the country and across the globe. However, we have been able to build systems that make working together easier. We had to learn how to apply a lot of new techniques and skills that big AAA studios use in making their games look so good and at the same time well optimised in our current project. 

GIA: Challenges involved?

Dimension Rep: We have had a lot of challenges along the way. Firstly, we had challenges with getting the right technical skills to fill some roles within the studio. It was really difficult as we could not find game developers within the country and continent with the required skills, we had to source for some of those skills globally.

Secondly, we had financial limitations with getting licences to some of the softwares we use and even equipment like the Motion Capture Kit we got for recording character animations.

Thirdly, we had issues with social media engagements and marketing. Many Nigerians and Africans are still not informed about games and its potentials and as such, the reception to the game has been really low. Many of the feedback we got at the earlier stages of development came from outside of Africa and it was difficult to measure how Africans felt about the game. Making an African-themed game in itself can be very difficult, as we had to make a lot of assets ourselves and build tools from scratch as the available ones do not have the African context. 

Fourthly, we had a major challenge of getting access to investors and publishers. Solving this particular challenge will open a new door of opportunities and it will help us bring more of the plans we have for the game to life. It is still so good to see that the narrative is changing even with the present challenges. 

GIA: Plans for launch?

Dimension Rep: We do not have a release date yet as we still have a lot to do. The plan is to keep engaging the community that has been actively following the game and we will communicate the launch date to them when we are set . However, one thing is certain, and that is the fact that Legends Of Orisha will be coming out in 2022. We will launch LOR first on PC (Steam and Epic Games Store) and based on sales, we would launch on consoles (XBox and Playstation).

GIA: Any links to the game?

Dimension Rep: We haven’t done any open testing yet, we have only had our first Alpha some weeks ago. However, we have short clips and videos on the progress of the game on our social media pages. 

GIA: Future plans?

Dimension Rep: As an African Game Studio, Dimension 11 is focused on telling African Stories through games. In the future, we might explore solutions in the MetaVerse, as we anticipate the paradigm shift that is coming as a result of the exploration of the MetaVerse in the gaming industry. Also, for the Legends of Orisha game, we will be making sequels that will cover stories from other cultures and tribes on the African Continent.

GIA: Vision and objectives of the team for gaming in Africa?(if any)

Dimension Rep: Yes, I am very certain that gaming in Africa is going to be the next big thing in the tech industry. Esport is getting more attention on the continent and It’s really amazing to see. It will even be more amazing when the games that are being played in these esport events are made by African Studios. Dimension 11 wants to create that kind of experience that Africans and the Global gaming community can play, enjoy, compete and socialize with. This is our vision for gaming in Africa.

GIA: What is the Team Composition like?

Dimension Rep: We have a very small team of talented individuals, some of which are students. We have 8 local game developers and 3 non-african developers working on the project, filling different technical and non-technical positions on the team. 

Ekpenisi-Igumbor Ewere serves as the current CEO and Senior Technical/VFX and Environmental Artist on the team. David Olamide serves as the current CTO and Senior Gameplay Engineer on the team. (Images below in link)

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