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How Masquerada's design draws on Singapore's diverse culture

Masquerada director Ian Gregory sits down with Gamasutra as we play this new fantasy RPG and discuss how the social issues of Singapore influenced the game's story.

Game development is such a myriad and alchemic process that it’s easy to say there’s no one way to make a game. Last week, Duskers developer Tim Keenan explained why it was beneficial for him to let his game evolve into what he wanted over the course of development, but what if the vision you have for your game is so strong it can still permeate every aspect of its design? 

This week, we decided to check out Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, from the Singapore-based studio Witching Hour Studio. It’s a game that introduces players to an original fantasy world filled to the brim with fascinating characters who grapple with real-world issues like class warfare and discrimination and must solve the mystery of a missing alchemist before war engulfs the nation. 

We were lucky enough to have creative director Ian Gregory, who called in all the way from Singapore at 2AM, talk about the game’s development and how he translated a personal D&D campaign he ran into a fully-fledged RPG.

While Gregory was happy and willing to talk about the need to balance RPG combat with the story-driven game he wanted to make, it was even more fascinating to hear him discuss the real-world racial diversity and class warfare of Singapore, which directly infleunced his game’s design. 

Gregory was even able to explain what happened after word broke on Gamasutra that the government was suggesting he not include gay characters among the cast. It’s a discussion that offers a unique insight into the Singaporean game development scene, and is worth watching for developers interested in relocating to the region or supporting companies from the area. 

Be sure to subscribe to our new Twitch channel to get notified about new broadcasts every Friday at 3PM EST, and to watch last week's show where we interviewed the developer of Duskers

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