In 2017 Ludus Games, a video game firm that helps ‘indie dev partners do business’*(1), made a Salvadorean title available to Playstation 4 and Xbox One users. For 2019, they are planning to introduce the first Central American game ever seen on a Nintendo platform.
‘Stereo Aereo’ is an action game that draws its inspiration from ’80s pop culture, in which the player has to ensure that a rock band with the same name gets to give a concert in time. Developed by the Salvadorean firm Stonebot, the project started to make its way in 2015 with $55,000 from the Pixels Prize (a government-backed annual contest). Along with an investment of $65,000, the prize helped create a demo that would allow Stereo Aereo to compete at international events. Consequently, even though it was meant to be a mobile game, it managed to enter the console market in 2017 by being released on Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.
The game has found success in the international market, reaching more than 1,500 combined downloads. According to Ludus Games’ business development manager Alessandro Biollo, Stereo Aereo is also available for PC on Steam at $3.99. He also explains that their next goal is to recoup their investment, but they have already achieved what matters the most: being on the world’s most representative video game firms’ radar. ‘Only a few Central American (countries) get to enter the console market. Right now, only Costa Rica and El Salvador are producing video games. In Costa Rica five games are being developed for next year and in El Salvador we are working on three’*(2), he claims.
One of the titles Stonebot and Ludus Games are preparing for 2019 is ‘The Last Friend’, whose story revolves around a chemical attack that turns humans into dog-eating zombies. Players take the role of ‘the last friend’, an uninfected character that must protect and rescue dogs. Biollo points out this game will seek to have a wider spread than Stereo Aereo, as it should be of interest to both dog lovers and those who enjoy RPGs. This new project has required an investment of $150,000 and is expected to reach 20,000 downloads at $14.99. The firm is already in advanced talks with Nintendo.
Apart from releasing The Last Friend, Ludus Games is looking for high risk investors in order to continue developing the local video game industry. According to the Salvadorean Ministry of Economy, there are seven companies that, considered together, have already reached 70,000 combined downloads to the value of $500,000.
By Germán Romero – El Economista, Noviembre-Diciembre 2018
Translation by Estéfany Calvete
*(2) Original quote in Spanish