Malaysia in Video Games

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Video Gaming is a very popular past time the world over. A large majority of today’s urban youth play video games of all types and kinds, such as StarCraft, Call of Duty and Mario, just to name a few. All video games share a common primary purpose, that is to entertain the users, among other secondary objectives. The demand for video games grew sharply since its inception in the mid- 20th century, and is accepted as a social norm in most developed countries today.

Malaysia is home to many millions of gamers. However, Malaysia as a country is not nearly as well represented on the international stage. Malaysia is simply not viewed as a major player in the video game industry. The local video game industry is almost non- existent due to the lack of foreign investment, local video game producers and skilled labour. To make matters worse, Malaysia’s video game market is also plagued by piracy, further reducing the chances of any possible foreign investment from companies wishing to set up shop here.

Excited ?

However, in recent years the Malaysian presence on the international gaming scene has grown significantly. Various efforts from producers and gamers alike have raised awareness of the Malaysian potential in the gaming industry. Furthermore, Malaysia’s presence in video games has raised international awareness of the country too. This has indirectly contributed to the tourism industry in Malaysia.

For today, we shall be discussing Malaysia in Video Games. This article will discuss the various milestones and achievements of Malaysia in the video game industry. Enjoy !

Burnout Dominator – Two levels featuring Kuala Lumpur

Developer : EA UK 

Publisher : Electronic Arts 

Platforms : PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable

Released : 2007

Genre : Racing

Reception : 8.0/10 from IGN, 7.7/10 from GameTrailers, 76/100 from Metacritic

Malaysia has a major presence in Burnout Dominator. Two levels from this game are supposedly based off Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. To those of you who do not know, the Burnout series features real- world locations from North America, Europe and the Far East. However, the producers do not take a straightforward approach to the locations. The levels are deliberately altered to enrich the Burnout experience. Likewise, the producers of Burnout Dominator did not simply refer to the two Malaysian levels as ” Kuala Lumpur ”, but rather ” Spiritual City ” instead. They didn’t just stop at the name though, there is a building called the ” Spiritual Towers ” which closely resembles the Petronas Twin Towers as well. Plus, KL Sentral has been renamed ST Sentral, Petaling Street has become Chinatown, and so on.

Burnout Dominator, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Malaysia

However, not everything here is vague and so- so; if one is really observant, it is possible to locate many Malaysian flags all over the 2 levels. Actual signboards from Kuala Lumpur are present too, how cool is that ? Furthermore, a handful of traffic cars share a resemblance to Malaysia’s real- world counterparts, such as the Perodua MyVi and Perodua Kenari. Other look- alikes include the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the KL Tower, the Merdeka Parade, Bukit Bintang and the Federal Territory- Selangor gateway. You can see them quite clearly in the photos provided here.

Burnout Dominator, Federal Territory- Selangor Gateway, Malaysia

However, not all of ” Spiritual City ” resembles Kuala Lumpur. There are tuk- tuks and Thai letters in the levels, both not found in real- world K.L. These were carried over from 2004’s Burnout 3, which featured levels in Thailand and Hong Kong. The taxis and buses don’t match either. Both levels are portrayed as ” distinctively Oriental ” for the international gaming audience. The game itself received great ratings overall. Having played it myself, I can safely say that Burnout Dominator didn’t triumph 2005’s Burnout Revenge or 2004’s Burnout 3. However, don’t get me wrong, Burnout Dominator is not a bad game, it’s still great fun. I just feel as though it could have been much, much better had the developers paid more attention and resources to it. Despite its shortcomings, any Malaysian who has been to or lives in Kuala Lumpur will instantly recognize the 2 levels from Burnout Dominator. This is the closest Kuala Lumpur has gone so far to being featured in a video game. Malaysians should be proud.

Burnout Dominator, Signboard, Malaysia

Burnout Dominator, Spiritual City, Malaysia

Burnout Dominator, Spiritual City, Malaysia

DiRT 2 – Several levels featuring Malaysia

Developers : Codemasters   and Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd. 

Publishers : Codemasters  , Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platforms : Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X

Released : 2009

Genre : Racing

Reception : 9/10 from IGN UK, 9/10 from GameSpot, 9.0/10 from GameTrailers, 89/100 from Metacritic (PC), 87/100 from Metacritic (PS3 & 360)

Colin McRae : DiRT 2 has Malaysia written all over it. It is the highly anticipated sequel to 2007’s Colin McRae : DiRT. The Colin McRae series is all about rally racing the world over. DiRT 2 features locales such as Morocco, China, Croatia and surprisingly, Malaysia as well. Unlike Burnout Dominator, several levels in the game are based on real- world Malaysia, or to be more specific, the jungles of Rawang, Selangor. No Petronas Twin Towers or K.L. here folks, just good ‘ol Malaysian jungle. Having played DiRT 2 myself, I am quite simply impressed at the efforts of the producers, in the sense that they’ve managed to capture the essence of Malaysia so accurately. The palm trees, mud, weather, they’ve even got the kampungs right ! Unlike Burnout Dominator, Malaysia is presented as ” tropical eye- candy ” to the international gaming audience.

DiRT 2, Subaru Impreza at Ladang Sprint, Malaysia

The secret ? DiRT 2 was partly made in Malaysia ! Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd., located in Kuala Lumpur and founded in 2006 contributed to the development of DiRT 2. How cool is that ? Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd. is the result of a partnership between Codemasters U.K. and Malaysia’s Vision New Media Sdn. Bhd.. The Malaysian branch is small, at only 100 or so staff members and is a predominantly 3D Modelling and art studio. According to Izmal, a Malaysian programmer from Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd., roughly half of the level environments in DiRT 2 were designed in Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd.. Too good to be true ? You can see the names of the Malaysians who helped make the game a success here. Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd. also contributed a little to the development of other Codemasters games such as GRID, DiRT 3, Bodycount, F1 2010, F1 2011 and Operation Flashpoint.

I cannot determine the exact number of DiRT 2 levels featured in Malaysia because one is able to play reverse, forward, long and short versions of each track. Furthermore, there are 5 modes of play; the traditional point- to- point Rally, the fast- paced ” Trailblazer ”, circuit- based Rallycross,  ” Land Rush ” and ” Raid ”. Each mode offers different cars and courses. Thus, many, many stage combinations are possible in DiRT 2.

DiRT 2, Welcome to the jungle (Malaysia)

DiRT 2 is a massive hit. The game has a Metacritic average of 89 for Microsoft Windows and 87 for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. However, the PlayStation Portable and Wii versions, developed by Sumo Digital scored low marks on the charts. Personally, I’d give DiRT 2 a well- deserved 8.5/10, if not more for creativity and efficient use of technology. Having been released on next- gen platforms, DiRT 2 sports some of the best graphics, sound and gameplay around. The game also features voice- acting from popular rally drivers such as Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Tanner Foust, Dave Mirra and Mohammed ben Sulayem.

DiRT 2, Subaru Impreza & Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X at Ladang Sprint, Malaysia

DiRT 2 is proof that Malaysia has what it takes to become an international player in the gaming industry. Think about it, people from all over the world are playing popular games made in our own backyard. Of course, we would not have made it this far without the support of Codemasters from the United Kingdom. They’ve helped seed the next- generation video game industry in Malaysia, and we must be very thankful for their efforts. Not to forget, our local boys deserve credit as well for stepping up to the challenge and pioneering our next- generation video game industry.

WARNING : The (awesome) music in this video contains mild profanity. Viewer discretion is advised. I do not own this video.

 

Hitman 2 : Silent Assassin – Three levels featured in Malaysia

WARNING : The video game has been given a MATURE (M) rating by the ESRB. Reader discretion is advised.

Developer : IO Interactive 

Publisher : Eidos Interactive 

Platforms : Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube

Released : 2002

Genre : Stealth, Third- Person Shooter, First- Person Shooter

Reception : 8.6/10 from GameSpot, 8.7/10 from IGN, 87/100 from Metacritic (PC), 85/100 from Metacritic (PS2)

Malaysia stars in Hitman 2 : Silent Assassin. Hitman is all about creativity in the execution of missions. Players can either go in guns blazing, or take the longer way around by solving various puzzles instead. 3 highly- detailed missions out of 21 in the game are based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Unlike the two racing games above, Hitman is, depending on the player’s preference, a stealth based third- person or first- person shooter. All 3 levels are centred around the assassination of a plot character called Charlie Sidjan in the Petronas Twin Towers. Agent 47, that is, the playable character in the game enters what appears to be the ground level of the KLCC in ” Basement Killing ”, the first of the three Malaysian levels. However, once the objectives are completed, Agent 47 discovers that the man he had assassinated was Charlie’s twin brother. In the second mission ” The Graveyard Shift ”, Agent 47 plants a hacking device somewhere in the Petronas Twin Towers to gain entry into Charlie’s real residence. The player will get the opportunity to cross the sky bridge from one tower to the other here. Later in the following mission, ” The Jacuzzi Job ”, Agent 47 locates and assassinates the real Charlie Sidjan, thus, completing his objective.

Hitman 2 Silent Assassin, Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Unfortunately, Hitman 2 doesn’t capture the essence of Malaysia in an accurate fashion. Much of the content has been stylized for dramatic purposes. The guards in the Malaysian levels speak Malay, but the average Malaysian would find Hitman 2’s presentation of the Malay language humorous; the accent and slang don’t really match- up with normal Malay speech. Manglish is also spoken in Hitman 2 by certain characters. All in all, Hitman 2 is still a brilliant game, thanks to excellent gameplay and graphics, which had set the standards in 2002. I haven’t personally played this game though, so I can’t comment much further.

WARNING : The video contains mild violence. Viewer discretion is advised. I do not own this video.

 

Formula 1 Video Games – Sepang International Circuit

Many Formula 1 video games feature the Sepang International Circuit. The world famous circuit first made its first appearance in the 1999 Formula 1 season. Here is the full list of confirmed titles featuring the Sepang International Circuit;

NOTE : All Formula 1 games belong to the racing genre. There may be more Formula 1 games which feature the SIC than the the titles listed below.

Formula One 99

Developer : Studio 33 

Publishers : Psygnosis  , Take- Two Interactive 

Platforms : PlayStation, PC

Released : 1999

Reception : 8.5/10 from IGN

This is the first Formula 1 based- video game to feature the Sepang International Circuit.

 

F1 Racing Championship

Developer : Ubisoft Shanghai 

Publishers : Video System  , Ubisoft 

Platforms : Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PC

Released : 2000, 2001

Reception : 7.5/10 from IGN (PlayStation)

 

 

 

Racing Simulation 3

Developer : Ubisoft 

Publisher : Ubisoft 

Platforms : GameCube, PlayStation 2, PC

Released : 2002

Reception : ? Mostly favourable ?

 

 

 

 

Formula One 2000

Developers : Studio 33  , Tarantula Studios 

Publishers : Sony Computer Entertainment, Midway Games  , Take- Two Interactive 

Platforms : PlayStation, Game Boy Color

Released : 2000

Reception : 6.9/10 from GameSpot (PlayStation), 8.4/10 from GameSpot (PC)

 

 

Grand Prix 4

Developer : MicroProse 

Publisher : Infogrames 

Platform : Windows PC

Released : 2002

Reception : 8.0/10 from GameSpot

 

 

 

Formula One 2001

Developers : Studio 33  , Sony Studio Liverpool 

Publishers : Sony Computer Entertainment, 989 Sports 

Platforms : PlayStation, PlayStation 2

Released : 2001

Reception : 7.0/10 from IGN, 7.2/10 from GameSpot

 

 

 

Formula One Arcade

Developer : Studio 33 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation

Released : 2002

Reception : ? Mostly favourable ?

 

 

 

Formula One 2002

Developer : Sony Studio Liverpool 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2002

Reception : 8.4/10 from GameSpot

 

 

 

 

Grand Prix Challenge

Developer : Melbourne House 

Publisher : Atari 

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2003

Reception : 9.0/10 from IGN, 7.9/10 from GameSpot, 76/100 from Metacritic

 

 

 

Formula One 2003

Developer : Sony Studio Liverpool 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2003

Reception : 8/10 from Eurogamer

 

 

 

 

Formula One 04

Developer : Sony Studio Liverpool 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2004

Reception : ? Mostly favourable ?

 

 

 

Formula One 05

Developer : Sony Studio Liverpool 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2005

Reception : 7/10 from Eurogamer

 

 

 

 

F1 Grand Prix

Developer : Traveller’s Tales 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation Portable

Released : 2005

Reception : 6/10 from Eurogamer

 

 

 

Formula One 06

Developer : Sony Studio Liverpool 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platforms : PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable

Released : 2006

Reception : 7/10 from Eurogamer

 

 

 

 

Formula One Championship Edition

Developer : SCE Studio Liverpool 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Platform : PlayStation 3

Released : 2007

Reception : 7.2/10 from IGN, 6.0/10 from Eurogamer, 7.2/10 from GameSpot, 7.3/10 from GameTrailers, 74/100 from Metacritic

This is the first Formula One game to grace a 7th generation video game console.

 

F1 2009

Developer : Sumo Digital 

Publisher : Codemasters 

Platforms : Wii, PlayStation Portable, iPhone

Released : 2009

Reception : 8/10 from Eurogamer (Wii), 6.0/10 from GameSpot (Wii), 7.7/10 from IGN (PSP), 69/100 from Metacritic

Codemasters took over the license to develop F1 games from Sony in 2009. This is the first F1 game to grace non- Sony platforms in almost 10 years.

F1 2010

Developer : Codemasters Birmingham 

Publisher : Codemasters 

Platforms : Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Released : 2010

Reception : 8/10 from Eurogamer, 8.5/10 from IGN, 8/10 from Official Xbox Magazine (UK), 9/10 from Official PlayStation Magazine (UK), 84/100 from Metacritic (PC, PS3, 360)

F1 2010 was a massive success story. This is a game F1 fans will be talking about for a long, long time.

F1 2011

Developers : Codemasters Birmingham  , Sumo Digital 

Publisher : Codemasters 

Platforms : Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Released : 2011, 2012

Reception : 8/10 from Eurogamer, 8.5/10 from IGN, 8/10 from GameSpot, 84/100 from Metacritic (360), 82/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 83/100 from Metacritic (PC), 59/100 from Metacritic (3DS),  68/100 from Metacritic (PS Vita)

F1 2011 is very similar to F1 2010, with several changes and improvements here and there. Most noticeably, this is the first Formula 1 game to grace 8th generation consoles, the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. However, the producer behind the PS Vita and 3DS versions of F1 2011 was Sumo Digital, not Codemasters Birmingham, the folks behind the PS3, 360 and PC versions. Both 3DS and PS Vita versions got mixed reviews. The PS3, 360 and PC versions got almost identical reviews to that of F1 2010.

F1 2011 in game screenshot

F1 2012

Developer : Codemasters Birmingham  

Publisher : Codemasters 

Platforms : Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, iOS

Released : 2012

Reception : 7/10 from Eurogamer, 9.0/10 from IGN, 8.5/10 from GameSpot, 84/100 from Metacritic (360), 81/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 80/100 from Metacritic (PC)

F1 2012 is generally an improvement over F1 2011. The cover art features the Sepang International Circuit, a first in the franchise. Along with the usual goodies, F1 2012 also added two new modes, the ”Young Driver” and ”Champions” modes respectively. The updates in F1 2012 helped keep the franchise fresh, improving upon the already excellent predecessors; and that’s a lot easier said than done.

NOTE : I do not own this video.

 

MotoGP Video Games – Sepang International Circuit and Johore Circuit

As in Formula 1, Malaysia also plays host to the MotoGP series. Many MotoGP games featured the Sepang International Circuit. One game also featured the now retired Johor Circuit, in southern Malaysia. Here is a full list of confirmed titles featuring Malaysian circuits ;

NOTE : All MotoGP games belong to the racing genre. There may be more MotoGP games which feature the SIC than the titles listed below.

GP500

Developer : MicroProse 

Publisher : Melbourne House 

Platform : PC

Released : 1999

Reception : ? Mostly favourable ?

This game featured the (now retired) Johor Circuit. GP500 remains a popular game today among MotoGP enthusiasts.

 

 

MotoGP (PS2)

Developer : Namco 

Publisher : Namco 

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2000

Reception : 8.0/10 from GameSpot, 77/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP game is produced under license by Namco for the PlayStation 2, and is not related to the THQ produced version of MotoGP for the Xbox and PC.

 

 

MotoGP (Xbox- PC)

Developer : Climax Brighton 

Publisher : THQ 

Platforms : Xbox, PC

Released : 2002

Reception : 8.5/10 from GameSpot, 84/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP game is produced under license by THQ for the Xbox and PC, and is not related to the Namco produced version of MotoGP for the PlayStation 2.

 

 

MotoGP 2 (PS2)

Developer : Namco 

Publisher : Namco 

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2002

Reception : 8.0/10 from GameSpot, 78/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP 2 game is produced under license by Namco for the PlayStation 2, and is not related to the THQ produced version of MotoGP 2 for the Xbox and PC.

 

 

MotoGP 2 (Xbox- PC)

Developer : Climax Brighton 

Publisher : THQ 

Platforms : Xbox, PC

Released : 2003

Reception : 8.9/10 from GameSpot, 87/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP 2 game is produced under license by THQ for the Xbox and PC, and is not related to the Namco produced version of MotoGP 2 for the PlayStation 2.

 

 

MotoGP 3 (PS2)

Developer : Namco 

Publisher : Namco 

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2003

Reception : 8.5/10 from IGN, 80/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP 3 game is produced under license by Namco for the PlayStation 2, and is not related to the THQ produced version of MotoGP 3 for the Xbox and PC.

 

 

MotoGP 3 : Ultimate Racing Technology (Xbox- PC)

Developer : Climax Racing 

Publisher : THQ 

Platforms : Xbox, PC, Mobile Phone

Released : 2005

Reception : 8.9/10 from GameSpot, 85/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP 3 game is produced under license by THQ for the Xbox and PC, and is not related to the Namco produced version of MotoGP 3 for the PlayStation 2.

 

 

MotoGP 4

Developer : Namco 

Publisher : Namco 

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2006

Reception : 7.0/10 from IGN, 7.6/10 from GameSpot, 71/100 from Metacritic

 

 

 

MotoGP 06

Developer : Climax Racing 

Publisher : THQ 

Platform : Xbox 360

Released : 2006

Reception : 8.4/10 from IGN, 8.2/10 from GameSpot, 80/100 from Metacritic

This is the first MotoGP video game for a next generation video game console.

 

 

MotoGP (PSP)

Developer : Namco Bandai 

Publisher : Namco Bandai 

Platform : PlayStation Portable

Released : 2006

Reception : 3.5/5 from CNET, 69/100 from Metacritic

This is the last MotoGP game Namco produced. The PlayStation exclusive license was later sold to Capcom in 2007.

 

 

MotoGP 07 (360- PC)

Developer : Climax Racing 

Publisher : THQ 

Platforms : Xbox 360, PC

Released : 2007

Reception : 7.7/10 from IGN, 7.5/10 from GameSpot, 78/100 from Metacritic

This version of the MotoGP 07 game is produced under license by THQ for the Xbox 360 and PC, and is not related to the Capcom produced version of MotoGP 07 for the PlayStation 2.

This is also the last of the THQ produced MotoGP games. The developer, Climax Racing was bought over by Disney Interactive Studios. Climax Racing was renamed Black Rock Studio, and later produced Pure and Split Second : Velocity. However, Black Rock Studio closed down in 2011, despite the success of their two games.

MotoGP 07 (PS2)

Developer : Milestone 

Publisher : Capcom 

Platform : PlayStation 2

Released : 2007

Reception : 6.5/10 from GameSpot, 62/100 from Metacritic

This is the first MotoGP game in the series to be published by Capcom and developed by Milestone. All following future titles are to be launched by Capcom as well until the license expires in 2012.

 

 

MotoGP 08

Developer : Milestone 

Publisher : Capcom 

Platforms : PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, PC

Released : 2008

Reception : 68/100 from Metacritic (360), 65/100 from Metacritic (PS3, PC), 44/100 from Metacritic (Wii)

This is the first MotoGP game for the PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles.

 

 

MotoGP 09/10

Developer : Monumental Games 

Publisher : Capcom 

Platforms : PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Released : 2010

Reception : 7.0/10 from GameSpot, 6.7/100 from IGN, 70/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 69/100 from Metacritic (360)

This is the first MotoGP game to be developed by Monumental Games.

 

 

MotoGP 10/11

Developer : Monumental Games 

Publisher : Capcom 

Platforms : PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Released : 2011

Reception : 6.0/10 from GameSpot, 8/10 from Eurogamer, 68/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 72/100 from Metacritic (360)

Monumental Games shut down in February 2012. The future of the MotoGP series is uncertain at the moment.

 

 

SOCOM 4 : U.S. Navy SEALs – Possibly based on Malaysia

WARNING : The video game has been given a MATURE (M) rating by the ESRB. Reader discretion is advised.

Developer : Zipper Interactive 

Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform : PlayStation 3

Released : 2011

Genre : Third- Person Shooter

Reception : 7.5/10 from GameSpot, 7.0/10 from IGN, 6/10 from Eurogamer, 67/100 from Metacritic

Malaysia becomes a battleground in SOCOM 4 : U.S. Navy SEALs. This PlayStation exclusive game is the latest in the long- running SOCOM series. The series is best- known for being a third- person shooter which places significant emphasis on military battle tactics. In SOCOM 4, players assume the roles of NATO soldier Cullen Gray in, you guessed it, Malaysia. Officially, the producers have not disclosed the exact location and simply just refer to it as ” Southeast Asia ”. However, most gamers and Malaysians alike will agree that the game in set in Malaysia. From what I’m aware of, locations include a war- torn Kuala Lumpur look- alike and dense tropical jungles. The bad guys in the game are called Naga. Interestingly, Naga translates into dragon in Malay. The Naga rebels have rallied against the country’s government by means of force and terrorism. Anyway, I don’t wanna spoil too much of the story, for those of you who intend to play this game on the PlayStation 3.

SOCOM 4 gameplay

Perhaps the most striking detail in SOCOM 4 is the inclusion of Malaysian look- alike taxis in the city- environments. Some of you may have already noticed them in the photo above. These taxis look very similar to the old Proton Saga taxis in use all over Malaysia today. However, the colours don’t match; most Malaysian taxis are red and white but the SOCOM 4 taxis are yellow. Furthermore, there is a building in the game which somewhat resembles the Petronas Twin Towers. That’s not all; The Naga rebels speak Malay too. Unlike Hitman 2, the Malay voice- over is much more accurate and believable. Unfortunately, I have not played SOCOM 4 yet and as such, I cannot point out more details and points of interest in the game. All of these statements were drawn based on my observation of SOCOM 4 videos and in- game photos.

Proton Saga look- alike in SOCOM 4 video game

Sadly, SOCOM 4 doesn’t capture the soul of Malaysia accurately. Like Burnout Dominator, SOCOM 4 presents Malaysia as ” distinctively Oriental ” instead for the international audience. It is possible to find Chinese text in the levels, such as on the lanes of roads and signboards. This is not accurate of Malaysia because most of the road signboards are romanized. Plus, the jungle- environments look distinctively Malaysian as well, but could also be mistaken for other jungles in South East Asia.

SOCOM 4 website background photo, with Malaysian signboards

SOCOM 4 was moderately successful, scoring a 67% average on Metacritic, much less than its predecessors. Many SOCOM fans were disappointed with the game. However, if you’ve ever wondered what Malaysia would look like if civil war broke out, SOCOM 4 is your best bet. Of course, it’s only a video game, and despite the obvious references, I’m sure the developers had no such intention of smearing the good name of Malaysia in the eyes of the world. A video game is just a video game, creative art and entertainment for the masses.

WARNING : The video contains extreme violence. Viewer discretion is advised. I do not own this video.

 

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Video Game – Playable Malaysian national football team (Harimau Malaya)

Developers : EA Canada  , HB Studios 

Publisher : EA Sports 

Platforms : PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Portable, iOS

Released : 2010

Genre : Sports

Reception : 8.3/10 from IGN (360), 8.5/10 from GameSpot (360, PS3), 83/100 from Metacritic (360), 69/100 from Metacritic (PSP), 70/100 from Metacritic (Wii)

Harimau Malaya, the Malaysian national football team is playable in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa ( video game ). Although Malaysia did not qualify for the real 2010 World Cup, gamers are given the opportunity to lead Harimau Malaya to a decisive victory in the game instead. This is as close as it gets to the real thing. The virtual Harimau Malaya resembles its real- life counterpart both in external appearance and player skill. The PS3 and 360 versions got high ratings, but the other platforms did not fair as well.

FIFA Soccer 96 – Malaysian League

Developers : Extended Play Productions  , Probe Entertainment 

Publishers : EA Sports  , Black Pearl Software  

Platforms : SNES, Mega Drive, Sega 32X, PS1, Saturn, PC, Game Boy, Game Gear

Released : 1995

Genre : Sports

Reception : 9.0/10 from Gamespot (PC)

FIFA Soccer 96 is quite possibly one of the earliest games to have any such relation with Malaysia. Playable in the game is the Malaysian League. FIFA Soccer 96 managed to top the UK charts and remains one of the best FIFA games ever made.

 

FIFA Soccer 97 – Malaysian League

Developers : EA Canada  , Rage Software  , Extended Play Productions  , Tiertex Design Studios   , XYZ Productions

Publishers : EA Sports  , Black Pearl Software  

Platforms : DOS , Saturn, PC, Game Boy, SNES, PS1,  Mega Drive

Released : 1996

Genre : Sports

Reception : 8.2/10 from Gamespot (PC)

FIFA Soccer 97 is the successor to the award winning FIFA Soccer 96 above. Like FIFA 96, FIFA 97 also features the Malaysian League. FIFA 97 was one of the earliest games to feature on line multi player and supposedly had ground-breaking graphics for its time. Nonetheless, FIFA 97 didn’t turn out as great as FIFA 96.

FIFA 13

FIFA 13

Developer : EA Canada  

Publisher : EA Sports  

Platforms : PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 2, PSP, 3DS, iOS, Android, OS X

Released : Q4 2012

Genre : Sports

Reception : 9.0/10 from IGN (PC, 360, PS3), 8.0/10 from Gamespot (PS3, 360), 90/100 from Metacritic (360), 88/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 86/100 from Metacritic (PC)

FIFA 13 is the latest instalment from the FIFA Series. This game features Malaysian football player Nazmi Faiz. He is part of the Portuguese sports club, S.C. Beira- Mar, which is a playable team in FIFA 13. Unfortunately, I cannot comment further because I haven’t played this game yet.

FIFA 13 is among the highest rated football/soccer games of all time, clocking in at 90/100 from Metacritic for the Xbox 360 version and 88/100 and 86/100 for the PS3 and PC respectively. FIFA 13 is also one of the few games to have been able to able to cater to such a large audience, spanning the sixth, seventh and eight generation of game consoles.

Nazmi Faiz in FIFA 13

Nazmi Faiz in FIFA 13

Photo credits : @adrbdn on Twitter

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

Developer : PES Productions 

Publishers : Konami 

Platforms : PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP, 3DS, iOS, Android

Released : Q4 2012

Genre : Sports

Reception :  8.5/10 from IGN (PC, 360, PS3), 8.0/10 from Gamespot (PS3, 360), 82/100 from Metacritic (360), 82/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 80/100 from Metacritic (PC)

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 is the latest instalment in the PES Series. Just like FIFA 13 above, PES 2013 also features Nazmi Faiz as a playable character in S.C. Beira- Mar. I can’t comment much further due to my lack of experience with this game. PES 2013 is nonetheless one of the most critically acclaimed PES games of all time.

Nazmi Faiz in PES 2013

Nazmi Faiz in PES 2013

Nazmi Faiz in PES 2013

Nazmi Faiz in PES 2013

Nazmi Faiz in PES 2013

Nazmi Faiz in PES 2013

Photo credits : Beautiful Nara

Just Cause 2 – Possibly based on Malaysia

WARNING : The video game has been given a MATURE (M) rating by the ESRB. Reader discretion is advised.

Developer : Avalanche Studios 

Publisher : Eidos Interactive 

Platforms : PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Released : 2010

Genre : Third- person shooter, Action adventure

Reception : 8.8/10 from IGN, 8.0/10 from GameSpot, 84/100 from Metacritic (PC), 83/100 from Metacritic (PS3), 81/100 from Metacritic (360)

Malaysia becomes a playground in Just Cause 2. This game is the second in the well- received Just Cause series. The series is best known for being a third- person action shooter of epic proportions (For example; You fight enemies on flying missiles… like literally, on flying missiles !). The game takes place on the fictional island of Panau, supposedly located in the Malay Archipelago of South East Asia. Locations are extremely diverse considering that Panau is only an island; they range from deserts to snow capped mountains. Players are in control of Rico Rodriguez, who is tasked with the removal of Panau’s oppressive anti- US government and the assassination of a rouge agent. Players are allied with 3 factions in the game, the Roaches, Reapers and Ular Boys. Interestingly, Ular means snake in Malay and Indonesian. Just Cause 2 also involves real- world countries such as the U.S., Russia, China and Japan. Anyway, I don’t wanna spoil the whole plot for those of you who would like to give Just Cause 2 a try.

Panau, Just Cause 2. Note the names of the locations.

A lot of Malay words are found in Just Cause 2. For example, in the aerial map of Panau above, we can observe the Ramai Rakyat Islands, which literally translates into Many People Islands in Malay. Selatan Archipelago translates into Southern Archipelago, whereas Lautan Lama Desert literally translates into Old Sea Desert. Of course, many of these words could also be Indonesian, or Sanskrit or other Asian languages, we do not know for sure. The NPCs in Just Cause 2 speak Malay and Malaysian- English too. Again, attribution to other languages are also possible, such as Singaporean- English and Indonesian. Some characters in the game have Malay (or Indonesian ?) names, such as Razak Razman. They even look distinctively Malaysian/ Indonesian.

Panau Falls Casino, Just Cause 2. Petronas Twin Towers look alike ?

Just Cause 2 makes many references to real- world Malaysia, such as in- game voice over language, names of locations, names of characters and so on. However, on a whole, Just Cause 2 probably intended to parody the entire South East Asia for the international audience. In some sense, the position of Just Cause 2 is very similar to that of SOCOM 4 : U.S. Navy SEALs. One could confuse Just Cause 2 for being set in other South East Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. Likewise, it would not be fair to claim that Just Cause 2 is solely set in Malaysia.

Just Cause 2 wallpaper

Just Cause 2 was met with critical reception both in sales and reviews. The game has an average Metacritic score of 84/100, 83/100 and 81/100 for the PC, PS3 and 360 respectively, much higher than that of its predecessor. Just Cause 2 is the game for you if you’ve always wanted to go on an action- packed adventure set in familiar ground. Like SOCOM 4, I’m sure the developers probably had no such intention of smearing the good name of Malaysia and other South East Asian countries in the eyes of the world.

TOCA Race Driver – Features the Proton Satria GTi

Developer : Codemasters   

Publisher : Codemasters  

Platforms : PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows

Released : 2002

Genre : Racing

Reception : ? Mostly favourable ?

TOCA Race Driver is the only known legitimate video game to feature a Malaysian made car. The car in question is the legendary Proton Satria GTi. In TOCA Race Driver, players get to race the Satria GTi against other cars from the likes of Subaru, Mitsubishi and many more.

The graphics may not be much compared to today’s standards, after all it is 10 years old now. Still, it’s nice to see that the developer, none other than Codemasters themselves, acknowledge the potential of the Satria GTi.

To those of you who would like to try TOCA Race Driver, click here to download the demo from a trusted source.

Proton Satria GTi in TOCA Race Driver video game

Proton Satria GTi in TOCA Race Driver video game

Lotus Challenge – Proton Satria GTi

Developer : Kuju Entertainment   

Publisher : Ignition Entertainment   

Platforms : PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, GameCube, Mobile Phone

Released : 2001

Genre : Racing

Reception : 61/100 from Metacritic (Xbox)

I’m sure you’ve heard of Lotus, no ? Well, good news; Lotus Challenge features the Proton Satria GTi as well, in addtion to TOCA Race Driver above. But why ? The Satria GTi is clearly not a Lotus. However, Proton owns Lotus and Lotus did help with the handling dynamics on the Satria GTi. This would explain why the car made it into this game.

Proton Satria GTi in Lotus Challenge video game

WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship – Proton Satria Neo S2000

Developer : Milestone S.r.l. 

Publisher : Black Bean Games 

Platforms : PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Vita, OnLive

Released : 2012

Genre : Racing

Reception : 5.0/10 from IGN, 6.5/10 from GameSpot, 68/100 from Metacritic (PS3),  66/100 from Metacritic (360), 65/100 from Metacritic (PC)

Proton has made great strides in motor sport rallying in recent years. The Satria Neo S2000 is the darling of Proton, winning various championships around the world. The Satria Neo S2000 then is quite fittingly featured in 2012’s iteration of the WRC video game franchise, WRC 3 : FIA World Rally Championship. This is as close as it gets for fans of the Satria Neo S2000 to the full experience. The game boasts an impressive range of 36 cars, 54 official teams, 13 locations, 78 stages and 5 Super Special stages. Unfortunately though, the game fails to deliver the hype of WRC and scored mediocre results across all platforms. Nonetheless, WRC 3 is worth renting just for the sake of experiencing the Satria Neo S2000 in Full-HD galore.

 

Conclusion

As a predominantly unknown and new country, the inclusion of anything related to Malaysia in video games is extremely rare. Hence, whenever a game like DiRT 2 or Just Cause 2 comes along, you can be sure that they provoke excitement, curiosity and pride in Malaysian gamers and non- gamers alike.

While it is great that Malaysia has a significant presence in the video game industry today, it doesn’t exactly prove anything since the majority of these games are not Malaysian made. Thus, the only good thing Malaysia gets in return is an increase in awareness among gamers. In other words, it is merely a social significance. However, as in the case of Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd., it has escalated to the point of economic significance. By creating successful video games locally and selling them overseas, wealth from foreign markets pours into the Malaysian economy, boosting the Gross Domestic Product and general wealth of Malaysia and her citizens. Furthermore, Malaysia has gained international recognition for successful video games produced on our soil. These range from awards, such as from the BAFTA of United Kingdom ( DiRT 2 is one such partly- made in Malaysia game to receive a BAFTA award ) to the general respect of gamers from around the world.

Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd. is the only major video game producer in Malaysia with international recognition. Unfortunately, most Malaysians buy pirated games instead of originals. This could spell the end of Codemasters Studios Sdn. Bhd. and our video game industry altogether. Malaysians should show their support by buying original goods from Codemasters, for a start. It would be a shame to see Codemasters’ efforts go to waste because of piracy. Think about it.

That is all for today’s article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it. Do you know more games which feature Malaysia ? Have any suggestions to improve this article ? Feel free to leave a comment below !

 

Credits

  • All video games, producers, developers and associated companies featured in this article
  • Various websites for the data and information
  • Google, YouTube, Wikipedia and Wikia

 

Updated – December 11th, 2012. Added 2 new games to the list.

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28 responses to “Malaysia in Video Games

  1. Hi Aero, I just wanted to say that this post about vid games is awesome, as I spent 30 minutes reading it. Anyway, did you get the idea from our video game emails?

    • Hi Dynamo 4,

      Thanks for taking your time to read this article, I appreciate it. I’m glad you found it interesting. Actually, this was a 1 month long project which I had started in January. I did not get the idea from our e-mails.

    • Thanks Alan, it makes me wanna play more too ! haha

      By the way, your new website is brilliant ! I love the theme and articles, please keep up the good work !

  2. Nice list you have here bro. I never knew KL exist in Burnout Dominator. Need to open up my PS2 yang dah berhabuk to see it for myself. LOL.

    If I’m not mistaken, Homefront also have Malaysia in it. Don’t know whether there is a map or they just mentioned about it.

    • Thanks Hafiz, glad you found it interesting ! :] Thanks for visiting my website by the way.

      Yes, I recall Homefront highlighting Malaysia and other SE Asian countries in the trailer but Malaysia is not featured as a playable map/ level, unfortunately. :/

  3. Hi Aero, I just wanted to say that these video games are awesome and somewhat resemble my iphone video game – Asphalt 6. Since your blog posts are so awesome, I am advertising your blog, I am putting your link on MY blog so other people can see it.

  4. But there are too many football games that feature Malaysia.
    Some of the games:
    PES 5 (same as below)
    PES 6 (Malaysia team, unknown if it is playable or not)
    PES 2008 (non-playable, can only play against them on the Cup mode)
    PES 2009 (no mode, but you can create Malaysian players)
    Does all of this count?

    • I see, well… There are some very good games with Malaysian stuff in it, like GRID where you can have a Malaysian flag and Malaysian team but they’re fictional. I chose not to include games with too much ambiguity because the list would be too long. I don’t think it would be a good idea to include PES 5, 6 and 2009 but I think I will include PES 2008 if i can find some photo or video evidence. Thanks for the suggestions though, I appreciate it.

    • Hi SiputCiput,

      This is a brilliant contribution, thank you for bringing it to our attention! :] I will try to include it on the list as soon as possible. Thanks again.

    • Pondered, already. Don’t go for it — not in the way that you do. One of the differences is that I don’t even profess to understand it; I don’t attempt to explain it to someone else;, and I don’t take the Bible literally. Beautiful book — but if “King” James had something to do with a version, or man for that matter, I can assure you that it is warped, twisted, and politically biased. No offense. +15Was this answer helpful?

  5. In Tomb Raider 2013, Lara had found a relic that related with Portuguese who used it in Malacca in 1511. The game was set in Japan. all the relics Lara found were related with Japanese culture, but one of them were different. Emmm….. but it just small part of the game. Just to share.

  6. Hi there!
    I recently play Just Cause 2 and was really shocked that Kem Gunung Dataran Tinggi was mentioned in the game! After that, i do a research and founded your article. I really like your article and hoping you to update it with new or maybe other games that featured Malaysia in it. Anyway don’t forget to add up Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider 2013! Keep up the good work friend!

    Cheers,
    iPuK

  7. GTA V have Yuna’s song Live your life on worldwide fm far cry 3 had Malay people citra,rakyat i knew rakyat didn’t speak in Indonesia language look at far cry 3 trivia wikia http://farcry.wikia.com/wiki/Rakyat Sleeping dogs had malay language on signboard ”Bahaya Jangan Dekat” the other language is english mandarin and tamil i think it located somewhere in Malaysia

  8. Pingback: 7 Facepalm-Worthy Portrayals of Malaysia by Orang Puteh | CILISOS - Current Issues Tambah Pedas!

  9. I finished playing the Splinter Cell: Blacklist campaign and 4E missions recently, so I got bored and checked out the Gone Dark missions. What surprised me is not just that several cities in Malaysia appeared and got mentioned on the SMI intel files, but also there is also a whole Gone Dark mission featuring Malaysia too called ‘Malaysian Threat’.

    Anyways I found this a very interesting entry. I didn’t know that there are so many video games which are set in Malaysia too. Keep it up!

  10. Pingback: How Game Type Popularity Differs By Country |

  11. Was going to write something similar on this topic, with examples of hitman 2, just cause 2, and possibly final fantasy xv. But yours is just spot on, with even more examples I had forgotten! Nice work, man.

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