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The Compelling & Breathtaking Works Of Mojiken Studios

Mojiken Studio has been around a lot longer than you might realize. The Indonesian game studio, based out of sunny Surabaya, has been alive and kicking since 2013. Originally an outsource studio for illustration work, now the studio is known for being behind the global hit A Space for the Unbound.

We had the opportunity to speak with Eka Pramudita, co-founder of Mojiken Studio itself. From college students, to development superstars – please enjoy the story of Mojiken Studio below!

Can you introduce Mojiken Studio to our readers?

Eka Pramudita: Mojiken Studio is a game development studio based in Surabaya, Indonesia. We consist of passionate talents with lots of love towards art & video games as a medium, and we strive to create video games with meaningful experiences through compelling narratives, and breathtaking audio and visuals.

Tell us about Mojiken Studio’s journey in the Indonesian game development scene.

Eka: In 2013, it started when several graphic design students from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) Surabaya started an illustration studio.

At that time, all of the original co-founders had not graduated from college besides myself. After several illustration contract works, we felt that outsourcing work is not something that we want to do for the rest of our life. So we pivoted our focus to become an IP-based creative studio, and chose video games as our medium.

The reason for this is because I have some experience from my previous gaming start-up. As for the fate of bootstrapping our own company, in reality, we’re still doing outsourced work for game assets while developing our own web-based games (for Flash & HTML5).

In 2015, we did our first internal upgrade programme/game jam called Mojikencamp, where each Mojiken team member had to make their own game prototypes from scratch in a 2 month time limit. Some of those prototypes include Ultra Space Battle Brawl, She Who Once Was Lost (a precursor to She and the Light Bearer), Heaven’s Below, and A Space for the Unbound – the Bridge. (These prototypes can be accessed on our itch.io page here.)

The prototypes caught the eye of Kris from Toge Productions and thus, together we formed a collaboration project called “Koalisi Kemakmuran” – a team consisting of Toge Productions, Mojiken Studio, and Amagine Interactive- that tackles several outsource mobile game projects. The income from this venture would enable us to continue working on our future title, She and the Light Bearer.

In 2017, after years of struggle and juggling between both internal and outsource projects, we got a minority stake investment from Toge Productions and registered our company as a legal business entity with a better business plan and strategy. Finally, we can focus on our own IP! We started working on the full version of Ultra Space Battle Brawl as our debut title for console, while also continuing work on She and the Light Bearer. These two titles would also be Toge’s debut as a game publisher.

For several years onwards, we focused on developing premium games for PC and consoles. Bringing experimental narrative games such as Banyu Lintar Angin, A Raven Monologue, Divination, When the Past Was Around, and our latest title, A Space for the Unbound.

For yourself, can you tell us about how you got started in game development? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Eka: Since I was a child, I’ve always dreamt of being able to control my own drawings and seeing them doing cool stuff while I press buttons. But as I got older, I realised that there wasn’t any kind of game industry in Indonesia. So when I got to college, I was striving to be an illustrator.

In my final year at college, my junior (Dimas, who is also one of Mojiken’s co-founders) persuaded me to join a gamedev start-up that was formed by IT students in the next building – the design & IT majors in my college were actually side-by-side. I worked with them for about a year before deciding to establish Mojiken with my college friends.

Your most recent title – A Space For the Unbound (ASFTU), is making some serious waves not only within the Southeast Asian game development scene – but on a global scale. How does the team feel about this?

Eka: We are really happy and grateful for that. We’re glad that the story that we’re trying to tell manages to resonate with a global audience, and we tried our best to make an experience that has universal values and is relatable. It has been an honour for us to be able to present something that is highly inspired by the time and place where we grew up, and receive a warm reception for it in the end.

Can you tell us a bit about ASFTU and its development journey?

Eka: The development can be traced way back to 2015, as ASFTU is one of the prototypes that was made during the first Mojikencamp.

After that, the project rolled out its first concept trailer to the public and the game’s development began. In the first 4 years, while working on another project, the development team tried to make several prototypes that encapsulated the spirit and the message of the game. During that, there were many trials and errors and many lessons learned.

In 2019, the game finally took its comprehensive shapes and structures. In 2020, the prologue of the game was released. The prologue garnered some attention and we received a lot of positive feedback, and in 2023, the game was finally released.

The story for ASFTU is something that’s resonating with so many people. Can you tell us about some of the inspirations behind it?

Eka: The very reason is quite personal for Dimas, the director of ASFTU. It is his long-time dream to give tribute to the place and time we grew up in. He was fascinated by the concept of Seichi Junrei and discovered that a lot of anime and manga use real-life locations for their settings. The comparison between real life and an animated version of a place really inspired him on how beautiful real life is in relation to its animated and illustrated counterparts.

He sought to do the same because he wanted to draw and tell a story inspired by the time and place we grew up in (Surabaya). At the end of 2015, he started writing the story of Atma and Raya (the main characters of A Space for the Unbound). Through their adventure, he wanted to tell a story about anxiety, depression, loneliness, melancholy, and the hardships of growing up. This is a story theme that we as a team wanted to combine with an Indonesian town setting.

We really want to explore what is happening inside people’s minds when they feel very anxious, lonely, and lost. Atma, the main character of the game, was equipped with a magical skill, spacedive, which allowed him to enter people’s minds and see what kind of inner struggle they’re having.

What’s next for Mojiken Studio?

Eka: [At the time of writing], we are in the middle of our 4th Mojikencamp. Hopefully, some of the prototypes from this year’s Mojikencamp can make it into full production. Fingers crossed!

Final thoughts?

Eka: Check out A Space for the Unbound and if you already purchased and enjoyed it, please spread the word to your friends and family! Thank you so much for the opportunity.

A Space For The Unbound is out right now for PC and consoles. Check out our review here.

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