You might recognize the Philippine-based game development team Secret 6 from the credits of games like Cyberpunk 2077 or The Last of Us. Other than being one of the teams behind these AAA titles, Secret 6 is on a mission to develop, not just their own game, but their own multiplayer competitive shooter.
Developed by a team of FPS enthusiasts, Project Xandata began development in 2016, as a bunch of prototypes by lead programmer, Gene Gacho.
“2016 really felt like esports in the Philippines was on the rise after TNC won the Dota 2 Kiev Major,” said Gene Gacho of Secret 6, in an interview with ONE Esports. “We felt that streaming and competitive gaming in the Philippines was going to be on the rise and we wanted to make games in that space aside from just playing them.”
The result is Project Xandata, a 3v3 competitive FPS where you play xandats, specialized characters with high tech suits.
There are three classes to choose from: Marksmen – who deal out high damage, long-ranged attacks, Agents – who cloak and confuse their opponents with utility skills, and Juggernauts – whose bulky armors bring explosive area damage.
Other than the classes, there are also different weapons to choose from and different elemental abilities to enhance your playstyle. All these factors combine to form a promising, customizable shooter with different game modes and maps to choose from.
Players can choose between annihilation (race to 5 rounds), skirmish (race to 5,000 points through elimination), and corruption.
Corruption is the most unique game mode, being a little reminiscent of MOBA games in that you collect shards, destroy a tower to collect more, and need to actively deny your opponents from getting more shards.
The art and design showcase a world that has fused optimally with technology, similar to Overwatch’s universe. And while the parallel to Overwatch is inevitable because of the game’s aesthetic, the Secret 6 team says that they were careful not to let character pick to be a major factor as in Overwatch, and the game offers more customization for player roles.
“Classes feel different not just in skill choices but also how much armor they can stack and the way they move,” shares Gene Gacho. “Aside from the usual sprinting and sliding in contemporary shooters, you will find players hovering, skating and teleporting as well. The weapon pool was reduced and no longer subjected players to random drops, but having their stats and abilities customizable provided more meaningful choices in playstyle.”
Speaking of movement, Project Xandata leans heavily on fast and fluid movement, resulting in more in-your-face action for both offense (aim) and defense (dodging).
With more movement in the game compared to other titles, it gives players more freedom and creativity. Factor in skills that can turn the tide of battle, and you get a very addictive combat loop that you can easily build multiple game modes on top of.
They may have experience in game development but Secret 6 says that developing a competitive game comes with its own challenges.
“You need to factor in net code. If your game has bad net code, it may be unplayable for people with poor internet connection – or worse is when a person with poor internet connection can ruin the experience for those with good connections.”
Security and servers are different for multiplayer games as well, and these had to be carefully considered by Secret 6.
The reception of the game has been positive, with beta testers from all over the world even streaming their gameplay. The community for the game also is also steadily growing even before the game’s release, thanks to public tests and previews at gaming events.
So, is Project Xandata on its way to becoming a SEA-homegrown esport?
“That’s the dream,” says Gene Gacho. “Admittedly the FPS space is very competitive but we want to show that we can make an international-quality game in our own country. The reception to our tests has been positive so far so we’re really hoping it can carry over to a worldwide release.”
But first, they’re on the hunt for a partner.
“We’re in the process of looking for a publisher that can help us release the game, especially since we want to build communities worldwide. So if you’re a publisher and find our game interesting, please feel free to hit us up. Haha!”
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