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Kilka Card Gods on PS Vita: The Peruvian Influence

Adam Johnston's Avatar + Posted by Adam Johnston on Jun 26, 2014 // Creative Director, Bamtang Games

Kilka Card Gods

Have you had a chance to play Kilka Card Gods yet? The latest game from our studio, Bamtang Games, was released on June 10th for PS Vita — the first ever self-published launch by a Latin American game development studio on the PlayStation platform. Needless to say, we’re all excited here! Kilka Card Gods is the result of several years of development efforts, and we’re extremely happy that one of our games is paving the way for more games developed in Peru and Latin America to be released for PlayStation.

We’re especially proud about Kilka Card Gods because the game has been an opportunity for us to portray many elements from Peruvian culture. There are few games that have included Peru as part of their narrative, and in most cases, developers haven’t paid much attention to the way Peru and its culture were presented in their games.

With Kilka, we set out to change that and show that things could be done differently — that the richness of Peruvian culture could be accurately and elegantly captured in a way that borrows from tradition while at the same time crafting new stories and characters that players could fall in love with.

This was this spirit that drove us in the design of Kilka. We wanted to present traditional Peruvian culture as having a direct conversation with the other major civilizations. Machu Picchu is among the new Seven Wonders of the World. We researched the background on each of the Seven Wonders, to make sure we were accurately portraying each culture. These locations became the basis for the seven card gods the player faces when playing Kilka. As Oscar Choquecota, the game’s Art Director, puts it: “We had to learn a little from every location, learning the history behind every wonder, and looking for cultural references to help us provide a personality for each of the locations.”

Kilka Card Gods

The more research we did, the more the visual style for the game came together, and this in turn led to us framing the mechanics and the narrative. “We ruled out immediately a casino look because that wasn’t what we wanted to convey. By implementing the concept of the card gods, we felt we should convey a stronger sense of adventure,” Oscar explains. The game of Kilka isn’t so much a game of cards and chance like Blackjack or Poker, but rather a puzzle game whose origin we set in the Andean world — hence the name, “kilka”, the Quechua word for visual arts and crafts.

In the game world, Kilka is presented as a global sensation, with the protagonist, Yupanki, winning the Kilka world championship in Paris shortly after beginning the game. Kilka Card Gods then became two games: the game of Kilka, where the player solves a series of card-based puzzles that grow increasingly harder; and the metagame, where the player assists Yupanki in defeating the seven card gods, and reclaiming his place as Kilka world champion.

Yupanki himself became a key piece of this narrative — a uniquely Peruvian protagonist created out of a series of traditional elements. Oscar remembers that, early on, “we needed a ‘host’ character who would give the game a friendly face, who would progress along with the player and provide in-game tips. Yupanki, because of his face and clothing, remains unmistakably Peruvian, but we wanted him to still feel relatively ‘exotic’ and with his own personality. Yupanki is now part of the small but growing collection of Bamtang characters, and we’d love to see him again in some future project, maybe building on his skills as a world class thinker.”

Kilka Card Gods

This was our way of sending an important message: not only that Peruvian culture was a “big player” among the major civilizations in world history, but also that a game originating in Peru could become a global phenomenon drawing worldwide attention. Kilka, the game within the game, is our way of saying that there’s much to be shared and appreciated in the culture of our country that people around the world can find interesting, engaging, and valuable; Kilka Card Gods is our way of putting that idea into action.

We hope you’ll enjoy playing Kilka Card Gods as much as we’ve enjoyed making it. As you can see, we’re especially proud of being able to present the visual styles, stories, and locations that we’re so familiar with to players who might be experiencing them for the first time. And we’re hoping the characters we’ve created based on these traditional cultures get the opportunity to live beyond this game — that we may still see Yupanki and the card gods in future games or other forms of media.

Kilka Card Gods is an important milestone for Bamtang Games and for video game developers in Peru, and you can expect to see more from us across PlayStation devices in the near future!

//Add Your Own

14 Comments   4 Replies

1

+ xClayMeow on June 26th, 2014 at 11:47 am said:

This is the first I’ve ever heard of the game…why did you wait weeks before posting about it?

PS. You should include a gameplay video – not everyone is going to take the time to search YouTube.


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    + Adam Johnston on June 26th, 2014 at 2:59 pm said:

    Great idea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4P15z-6zjo


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    + Adam Johnston on June 26th, 2014 at 3:40 pm said:

    Oh, why are you just hearing about it now? It was released during E3, so the games press were a bit busy covering a few million other announcements. Also, this is new for Bamtang. We’ve been making games for 12 years now, but they have all been published and promoted by others. This is our first self financed and self published game (and the first from Latin America). We’re learning what all that means. It turns out that making the game is just half of it. We also intend to use these comments and other reviews to add free updates to Kilka as finances allow. It’s clear that we need to add more levels, harder levels and more prestige rewards. If you have other good ideas, please let us know!
    Kilka is a casual game, but Vita is a great device for casual games too. Sometimes I like to kick back and play Kilka while watching TV. Just not the boss levels…!


2

+ plaztiksyke on June 26th, 2014 at 1:16 pm said:

I really like the deep dive into Peruvian culture and mythology.

How does the game take advantage of the Vita hardware? (rear touch, cameras, AR cards, multi-core CPU/GPU, etc)


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    + Adam Johnston on June 26th, 2014 at 3:02 pm said:

    It’s our first title with our proprietary SWIT game engine. It only uses the touch screen, but the upcoming Frog Snoggers game will take more advantage of the Vita’s power.


3

+ markedman54 on June 26th, 2014 at 1:17 pm said:

@1 agreed.


4

+ Sharingan_itachi on June 26th, 2014 at 1:32 pm said:

Is it online?


5

+ Mobius2525 on June 26th, 2014 at 1:52 pm said:

…………WTF……….is……this……?!


6

+ JeffsonP on June 26th, 2014 at 2:02 pm said:

This game isn’t online. It is something like a timed Sudoku with cards.You use the touchscreen to move the cards to the correct spots. Each wrong move decreases the time.
You have some power-ups to use and the bosses also use some powers to trouble you.

I already got all the trophies. It is fun, but with no replay value – the puzzles are always the same,


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    + Adam Johnston on June 26th, 2014 at 3:06 pm said:

    Big congrats! Did you finish it in hard or normal? If we post new features in an update, how many new levels at what difficulty would you like to see? We’re hearing that people would like to see some really hard levels without the time pressure. Thanks.


7

+ Mobius2525 on June 26th, 2014 at 2:05 pm said:

@6 Okay so i guess this is a no buy then.


8

+ JeffsonP on June 26th, 2014 at 2:07 pm said:

BTW, I’m happy to see a Latin-American studio developing games for PS Vita!
Loking forward your next release Bamtang Game! :)


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9

+ Adam Johnston on June 26th, 2014 at 3:09 pm said:

Credit where it is due. Eduardo Marisca wrote this post, it was taken in part from his thesis on the Peruvian game development scene. Read more on his website: http://marisca.pe/thesis/


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+ JeffsonP on June 26th, 2014 at 4:07 pm said:

Wow, totally forgot about hard difficult! Guess I’ll play again! ;)
The “very hard levels with no time limit” sounds great! I don’t know how hard it is to make, but random puzzles should be a great addition to the game!
I’m Brazilian and watched the Latin America E3 conference, then I bought Kilka Card Gods after knowing it was a Latin-American game!
Can you talk more about Frog Snoggers? Or have a release date?


11

+ Silver_shion on June 26th, 2014 at 6:19 pm said:

Im from Chile so i wish you the best guy.
Its great to see our brothers from Peru releasing new videogames, specially cause Im learning how to program videogames in college.

Exito y los mejores deseos :D


12

+ PhoenixDowny on June 26th, 2014 at 6:53 pm said:

Well, I’m not gonna come here and spew hate and complaints. We’ve all been pleading for more PS Vita support by video game developers and so I’m certainly happy to see this new game on the PS Vita system and I’m going to take a look at it and see what it’s all about.


13

+ stork77 on June 27th, 2014 at 12:02 pm said:

Looks interesting! After seeing the vid I think I will pick this up after I clear some backlog.

It’s hard to know without playing, but based on sudoku and other puzzle games I also vote for harder puzzles with no time limit. Maybe a separate mode instead of a complete changeover?


14

+ kczar1966 on June 27th, 2014 at 11:56 pm said:

I´m from Peru, good to read about this game. I will check it.

By the way, thanks silver_ shion

Seria bueno ver juegos hechos en latinoamerica.


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