The Long Journey of ‘Usoni,’ a Postapocalyptic Game in Africa


In recent years, Kenya has become one of the fastest growing tech hubs, and in 2010, it was called WIRED the Silicon Savannah. Approved by Charles Ogeto, CEO of Nairobi-based pan-Africa publisher Ludique does, has up to 20 professional video game studios in the country. “We are still behind South Africa,” he said, “but the gaming industry has developed rapidly as Kenya has benefited from cheap mobile data, new teaching institutions focusing on skills development. games, and a growing market of young people with access to smartphones. “

Making a video game is a first for both Rigaudis and Musau. To begin with FACE project, they founded Jiwe in June 2020 and recruited a dozen young professionals. They include Telvin Njoroge, 25, and Arnold Mwaura, 22, both self-appointed developers who worked on the game from last summer until February.

About my face a 2.5D puzzle platformer. The players lead Ophelia and Ulysses as they flee Paris to the ship that will take them to the gateway to Africa, the island of Lampedusa. They had to cross industrial ruins, refugee camps, and enemy areas controlled by the powerful border police. In the middle, their smuggler, Felix, asks Ulysses to find a drug in an abandoned lab to treat his wife.

“We worked together at first,” Mwaura said. “If we knew what he could do and what I could do, we split things up. Telvin worked on the AI ​​side of the game, and I worked on a level playing field.”

After releasing the alpha in December, they spent a lot of time fixing bugs for the final launch. “We had a long list,” Njoroge recalled, as he laughed and searched for the file on his computer. “One of the main issues we have is our AI; it doesn’t keep up with the players. At some point, the character has to climb a certain edge, and it keeps rising and rising without stopping. . “

At this point, most of the bugs are fixed and the gameplay experience is smooth, except for the final sequel, where Ulysses and Ophelia are sometimes trapped for several seconds in strange positions when falling into ditches, which is inevitable. shot by border police.

After an unsuccessful attempt, I jumped all the canals and finally boarded the ship. In the final cut scene, it moves to the beach and disappears into the fog. Then a message “continue” on a black background appeared on my screen. After half an hour of playing, it came as an annoying letter, because I was already starting to feel like I was immersed in FACE universe

That said, this short first part is intended to be an incentive for a richer, taller sequence to dig into the lewd potential and narrative story.

The Jiwe team continues Surface: Part II, which they expect to release in July or August 2021, before a Part III set for 2022. Same developed in full 3D. “Sa Part II, we will flesh out the characters, the players will get to know the backstories of Ophelia and other people around her like Ulysses, ”said Kennady Kyalo. At age 31, this 3D artist took the lead in the work to make the FACE universe

The world of postapocalyptic visual play and cut scenes is fascinating, but it’s clear where it came from. “It inspires us Blade Runner 2049 and video games such as Far Cry New Dawn and Our Last Part II, ” According to Kyalo. “We wanted to convey a sense of mystery, so we used a lot of fog to hide the environment. We also wanted to play with a winter environment, because the sun stopped coming out. It was dark, cold, and you couldn’t tell. what time is it. ”



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