Closing the Decade and Welcoming 2020
The year 2020 marks our 15th year in business in the Philippine Game Development industry, and with that we look back at our endeavors for this penultimate year. Here’s what we finished in 2019, and the last decade, with:
New Projects, New Lessons
In 2019, our partners released great games that we are proud to have been a part of. Having been part of a variety of projects showcased the breadth, depth, and growth of our team’s skills and capabilities. Here’s a quick rundown of the titles we were involved in last year:
Blood and Truth
Developed and published by Sony London Studio for the PSVR, this is a game that we are thrilled and honored to have been involved with. We built the base material library for different realistic and modular weapons and vehicles for the game, which closely matched their real world counterparts, even when broken down and taken apart. Released last May 2019, the game was a nominee in the Game Awards under Best AR/VR Game as well as in the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E Awards for Immersive Reality Technical Achievement.
Sony, Other Ocean Interactive, and Secret 6 teamed up to bring back Sir Dan for more adventures on this PlayStation 4 remaster, giving fans of the original game a nostalgic romp while introducing the title to the current generation of gamers. This is our first big project that has both Secret 6 Studios (Manila and Madrid) working together, laying the foundation for great collaborations that continue to this day.
The best-selling retail game in both the UK and Japan in its first week of release, this sequel to the apocalyptic shooter by Bethesda Softworks had us working with Avalanche Studios. We designed and created the 3D model textures for the characters, their clothing and accessories, along with environmental props in this visual cocktail of a combat shooter.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist Link Evolution
We were tapped not only for the 2D art but also the 3D environments, characters and animations for the latest Yu-Gi-Oh! title for the Nintendo Switch, which is another great collaboration with Other Ocean Interactive and Konami. Having worked with them on Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generations for mobile a couple of years ago, and we are proud to continue being their partner as they bring this franchise to a new platform.
This is another project where both Manila and Madrid teams got to work together, and the result is a batch of high quality assets for a dramatic period mystery adventure. Featuring Norwegian folklore, part of this game’s development was sponsored by the Norwegian Film Institute. It was yet another great experience working with our longtime partner Red Thread Games. You can check out the work we did for this title on ArtStation. The game was released last May 2019.
Merry Merging Christmas
We have been working with Cartoon Network since 2015, and we are always excited to help them deliver new games to their fans. To ease the wait for Christmas, we made an idle merging game, featuring fan-favorite characters from their shows like We Bare Bears and Adventure Time, that is playable through this link. We took on the challenge of redesigning and balancing an existing game, while making sure it was ready for its Christmas time release.
Game Theory ARG
In a long-term collaboration with Creator Ink and YouTube veteran Matthew Patrick (“MatPat”), we designed and developed puzzles for the Game Theory ARG, which has amassed over 400,000 players so far. Intended to challenge players, the twelve Gates featured in the game were also a challenge for us, making us constantly evolve through open collaboration, on-the- fly feedback and iterative design improvements as we launched the Gates over the course of almost a year. Our work with them also pushed and increased our knowledge of security and server load testing optimization, which would help us in future projects. Check out #GTARG for more info on this massive alternate reality game.
As we continue our successful fifteen-year run as game devs and artists for hire, we take what we have learned from 2019 to improve our talents, processes, and our capacity to develop better relationships with our clients and partners.
Advancing Our Academic Partnerships
If you’ve been following our stories over the past year, you know that we have done a lot of work with our partners in the academe, including UP Diliman, UP Manila, Ateneo de Manila University, UST, FEU, and iAcademy. For the latter part of the year, we continued engaging with the community by providing opportunities to learn from, and interact with industry veterans, and even get hired during the events in various campuses.
A Case for Serious Games at UP Diliman — During the Computer Science Summit 4.0 held from the 15th to the 17th of September last year in UP Diliman, Secret 6 Technical Director Gene Gacho delivered a talk entitled “Serious Games: Case Studies on their Nation-Building Qualities” in an event open to all IT and technology students. The talk featured the games You Become What You Behold, Bad News, and the Philippine-made Duloga. The participants were allowed to play them before discussing how games are an effective tool for information dissemination. Gene also served as a technical judge for the main event—an ideathon on technology solutions for nation-building. Meanwhile, our Senior Technical Developer, Reinan Contawi, advised students for the brainstorming segment of the ideathon. A great day for Secret 6 as we got to educate and engage students and future teammates on current industry trends.
Project Management Talk at SDA — Last September 27, Stephen Cruz, one of our Producers at Secret 6 and an alumni of the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, gave a talk at the School of Arts and Design about project management for creative products entitled “How skilled are you in project management?” With over 60 games produced under his belt for one of our long-term clients, Cartoon Network, he was able to share valuable experience and advice in handling and improving the systems and processes of production teams. Stephen stands for synergy, inclusivity and humanizing the production process, and his knowledge helped advance the perspective of self-organizing teams for creative projects.
Paradoxes of Technology: Talk at UP ACLE – One of our Senior Developers, Reinan Contawi delivered a talk about the human race’s conflicting relationship with technology. Presented in an open-for-all alternative class titled “How Close Are We to a Black Mirror Society?,” his talk used the episodes, situations and plotlines of a famous science fiction series as examples to illustrate his point. A graduate of BS Computer Science from Far Eastern University, Reinan specialized in Game Design and Development and is a former competitive programmer. Having had a hand in the gameplay, user interface, and in-app purchases of several games, including Sharknado, LeVamp by High Voltage Games, and Cartoon Network’s Watch and Play, he brings a holistic perspective to the relationship of game development and technology in general and how technology affects society as a whole.
Made It in Madrid
Secret 6 Madrid SL, the first art-outsourcing studio in Madrid for AAA games and a direct expansion of our Manila operations, also made big strides last year. Comprised of highly skilled yet versatile artists specializing in art integration for Unity, Unreal, and Lumberyard, their work allows us to serve our global clients with more efficiency. Members of the team have been involved in titles such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, The Walking Dead, Crash Team Racing, and Metro: Exodus. This year they took on Red Thread Games’ mystery-adventure Draugen and Sony’s classic remake of MediEvil for the PS4, allowing them to expand their project portfolio and learn how to deliver high quality work as a team.
Like Secret 6 in Manila, the studio extends support to the academe as well, continuing our established partnership with Voxel School in Madrid, Spain. Providing specialized training for their students and career opportunities for their graduates, Secret 6 Madrid SL ensures the influx and growth of local talent to take on even more exciting projects in the coming year.
All Aboard the ArtStation
ArtStation is one of the biggest online platforms that showcases talent and artwork in the digital industry, including Digital Concept Art, 3D Modeling and Sculpting, Environment Modeling as well as Item and Weapon Design. You can now check our very own ArtStation page to browse digital renders of the objects we have produced for our clients, including the famous Recurve Bow used by Lara Croft in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, developed by Eidos-Montreal. We hope you can join us on this platform where industry professionals, enthusiasts, and fans can get inspired by each other’s works, learn from experts, and find work opportunities.
2019 was a blast, and we look forward to even more collaborations, partnerships and learning opportunities in the coming year. As always, you can check out our work and collaborations on the website, Secret6.com and by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you get to follow more of our endeavors in 2020!
Edited 02/12/2020 with minor rephrasing, grammatical refinements, updated De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde name, and Cartoon Network Watch and Play title.