PAKISTAN’S Gaming and Animation Industry

  • 28 Jul - 03 Aug, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Focus

Many people are unaware about the fact that Pakistan has a history of emerging talents of visual artists and game developers. The digital era is advancing vastly and so is the youth of Pakistan. The current generation is taking initiatives for development of the local gaming industry as well as creating names in the field of visual effects on international level. Be it developing a mobile app or 3D designing, Pakistani youth is proficient when it comes to animation and gaming. There are a number of animation companies and gaming studios, mainly in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad that are taking the animation industry by storm. Read on…

Sky rocketing growth of gaming studios and mobile app companies

After witnessing the escalating popularity of mobile games, the rise in digital app development took place. The first ever commercialised video game Cricket Revolution was developed by a Lahore-based start-up, Mindstorm Studios. Launched in October 2009, the game also holds the title to be official online game for the Cricket World Cup 2011. The initiative for establishing a studio was taken by Babar and Faraz Ahmed around 2006. The studio, now operational in Karachi and Islamabad, further produced Whacksy Taxi that has achieved the status of being the No.1 game in over 20 countries.

A Success Tale of Dream Chaser

We.R.Play is a Islamabad based gaming company founded by Mohsin Ali Afzal and Waqar Azim in 2010. Dream Chaser, a game developed by We.R.Play was published by the renowned Chillingo, a leading games publisher on iOS which has the privilege of working with award-winning titles and massively popular games around the world such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Contre Jour. The release of Dream Chaser marks a milestone for the gaming industry of Pakistan as this is the first time Chillingo has contributed with a Pakistani studio. They have previously published three titles: Relief Copter, Pencil Pop and Space Leap with Dream Chaser going to be their biggest release to date.

Caramel Tech, another studio in Lahore was founded in 2011 by brothers Saad and Ammar Zaeem. They have been creating their own games for mobile phones and Facebook plus they gained credit for their interaction with big names such as Kabam and Halfbrick studios to develop mega-hits like Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride and the Stick Sports series. Other noteworthy studios include TinTash, TkXel, GenlTeam, Folio3 and GameView Studios.

Shahmeer Chaudhry is an independent, self-taught game developer who created about two dozen games for Google Play Store/Android; most of which have been successful to have pulled in thousands of downloads. He later formed a video game company, INeedPlay and launched his first game called The Lost Town. He later developed a horror PC game for one of the world’s largest game distributors, Steam called Apartment 666 in 2015. Some of his games earned over 50 thousand downloads while the game, Seven Nights at Buddy’s received almost half a million downloads. His work has also been acknowledged by Microsoft.

Tricast Media is a software developer that specialises in creation of multimedia content over Mobile, Web and WAP based applications since 2006. It developed a software called Cricket Companion, a cricket scores and statistics application for mobile phones.

The Ascending World of Visual Effects and Animation

With the wonders of Visual Effects and advancement in the animation arts, the quality of feature films, commercials and videography has gone top notch featuring the talent arising exclusively from Pakistan.

Muqeem Khan was the first Pakistani to work in the Hollywood industry for visual effects in 1996. His renowned works include Flubber, George of the Jungle and Armageddon.

Hameed Shaukat is a US born Pakistani who has bagged an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Main Title Design for the most widely popular TV show Game of Thrones. Moreover, he has contributed for movies and music videos as a post-production supervisor, VFX producer/supervisor as well as animation producer.

Mir Zafar Ali is the first Pakistani to have won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 2008 as part of the team that executed the brilliant sequences in The Golden Compass. He earned his second Academy Award for the movie Life of Pi, then his third and second-consecutive Oscar win was for the animated flick Frozen. He basically specialises in creating visual fantasies by designing destruction sequences for natural phenomenon which include destruction, fire, water and snow. His other film credits include The Day After Tomorrow, Spider-Man 3 and Ghost Rider to name a few.

Novaira Masood is a software engineer who has worked on visual effects for some of the most popular Hollywood films, like A Christmas Carol, Thor, Transformers 3 and Jack the Giant Slayer. Her main focus had always been on performance capture software – a technique used to apply and capture live human body and facial expressions onto animated characters. This is what she used for the extraordinary animation and stellar visual effects for the blockbuster movie Maleficent.

Laraib Atta, daughter of Attaullah Khan Essa Khelvi, began her career in Hollywood as Pakistan’s youngest and exceptional VFX artist at the age of 19. Her work featured in popular movies such as 10,000 BC, The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince of Persia, Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past. She has been a part of commercials and TV series, along with feature films.

Apart from the artists showcasing their talents on international platforms, the need and skills for VFX continues to rise throughout the country as well. A great number of studios have been established that are working as post production facilities especially in the animation sector and visual designing for local feature films, TV serials and commercials. The biggest names include ICE Animations, Lucid Studios, Mano Animations and Sharp Image.