Right now is a pretty solid time to be a gamer in India, especially with all the innovation and progress happening in the mobile space, and games like MaskGun have been at the front leading the charge for games made-in-India. MaskGun, developed by SuperGaming, is a really fun multiplayer first-person shooter that emphasizes tactical playstyle over just running and gunning.
The game recently hit the insanely impressive mark of reaching over 50 million installs across both Android and iOS, making it one of the only made-in-India games to do so that is not a cricket or puzzle game. We got in touch with CTO and Co-Founder of SuperGaming – Navneet Waraich, and asked him a bunch of stuff about MaskGun, the team’s favourite maps- and he also happened to tease a very exciting upcoming project in the battle royale genre.
MaskGun, the made-in-India FPS multiplayer that’s making major waves
MaskGun feels quite singular and distinct in the way it plays and looks like – how much of that is owed to the June engine? And what exactly inspired the studio to develop one’s own proprietary tech instead of using other engines?
Navneet: Every feature you see in the game is powered by June Engine. Lack of customisation and ease of integration with existing engines were two primary motives to build something of our own. We needed something that would allow us to roll out features and iterate quickly. Our engine is built on top of the Unity engine and has served the game well since its development started in 2015.
While coming up with the idea of MaskGun – what games was the team looking at for inspiration? And what exactly was about MaskGun that was creatively exciting for the team?
Navneet: The team used to play a lot of CS:GO during the inception days and that inspired us to build something for mobile that will be a shorter format, fast paced and more accessible. Shrinking the full game under 120 MB was a great feat achieved by the team so that it could be easily downloaded over phone networks.
Are there any features in other modern first-person shooters that the team thinks would work quite well in MaskGun?
Navneet: Battle pass seasons could work really well in MaskGun to introduce newer content. We have experimented with it in the past and would like to revive it some day. In addition to this, there are certain specifics we would like to expand upon. These include larger maps, grenade variations, cool gun effects, and role-based gameplay. These are some features we feel could work well in the game down the line too.
Out of the 8 maps present in MaskGun currently- which map was perhaps the team’s favourite? And which one does the team consider to be the most challenging to master?
Navneet: Everyone’s favorite is The Yard. It offers a lot of action in the mid and suits most of the gun styles including snipers. The most challenging to master would be Airport if you love snipers. The satisfaction of getting a one shot precision kill when you are face to face with another sniper is really thrilling. It reminds me of a famous Hollywood movie about two World War 2 snipers, Enemy at the Gates.
What is the most common feedback that the team has received from the playerbase?
Navneet: Funnily, the most common feedback has been to give content for free. On a more serious note, players have been asking to add more gun skins and new competitive modes. This is something we will be addressing in upcoming updates.
The gaming zeitgeist is dominated by Battle Royale games – as they continue to get bigger and more popular. Are there any ambitions at the studio to develop a battle royale game for mobile?
Navneet: Yes, our biggest game yet – codenamed Indus, which is going to be highly engaging Battle Royale coming from India is already under production. We are targeting all kinds of devices and promise to offer a premium experience to all.
Was MaskGun an instant hit as it was released or did it take a while for the game to hit it as big as it has now – was there any one particular update or a new feature that brought players to the game? Or was it a gradual rise in popularity?
Navneet: Luckily, MaskGun was an instant hit from the first day. The team was surprised by the 300K pre-registrations we received in 2 months and when we globally launched the game we had 5M installs in the first month. This reminds me of the time when every evening the team would place bets on the new numbers in a pub and each time the previous record would be breached, someone would order a round of shots. After ending up with 4-5 drunk nights, the team decided the shots strategy is not going to scale very well.
MaskGun is perhaps one of the only made-in-India games to have as many as 50 million downloads without it being about cricket or ludo – does that sort of signal a shift in the direction of game development in India, and a sign that perhaps the community will embrace newer types of games in the near future?
Navneet: The Indian player community has been playing shooters on mobile but due to lack of global quality games, have been playing what our western friends have access to. We get a large number of installs from India for MaskGun and so the local adoption has been really well for us. We think in the future more Indian gaming companies and indie developers would like to venture into the shooting genre and there will be healthy growth in the entire gaming ecosystem. Hopefully, we should see more game developers take the plunge and make games beyond the genres of ludo and cricket you mentioned too.