Level Up KL Play 2019: Bringing Malaysia’s Gaming Scene To The Next Level

Organised by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), a subsidiary under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia, Level Up KL is Malaysia’s largest annual gaming convention with a week’s worth of content from 2 – 10 November 2019.

We covered the industry-focused portion of the event, Level Up KL Biz, a week ago which you can check out here. But to write this article, we made a trip to KLCC for the 2-day gaming extravaganza open to the general public, Level Up KL Play!

Happening for the very first time on 9 – 10 November at KLCC, the line-up of this debut event included huge names like Marvel, Disney, CyDesignation, Larian Games, and even our own Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq himself.

If you didn’t make it to the event yourself, we got your back. Here were some of the biggest highlights at Level Up KL Play 2019:

Youth and Sports Minister, YB Tuan Syed Saddiq, flagged off our e-Sports athletes to SEA Games 2019

Making history as the 1st SEA Games to feature e-Sports, Malaysia will be sending 24 e-Sports athletes to Manila to represent the country in the following titles: “Arena of Valor”, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang”, “DoTA 2”, “Tekken 7”, “Starcraft II”, and “Hearthstone”.

Team Malaysia’s manager lifting the Jalur Gemilang during the flag off ceremony
Malaysia’s e-Sports athletes flagging off to SEA Games 2019 in Manila

In his speech, YB Tuan Syed Saddiq rallied that it was about time Malaysians began viewing e-Sports the same way they view any other sport. He hopes that our strong showing at SEA Games acts as a catalyst to raise the name of e-Sports in Malaysia, also hoping that it inspires younger e-Sports players to chase bigger things.

His speech was preceded by a speech from James Yang, e-Sports director of Tencent Games, who announced that Malaysia will be the host country for the PUBG Mobile Club Open Global Finals happening this 29 Nov – 1 Dec at Putra World Trade Centre. Another great success to put Malaysia on the e-Sports map!

The SEA Games e-Sports events will take place from 5-10 December 2019.

Marvel’s Global Announcement For ‘Future Fight’ App

Starting with the biggest news of them all, Danny Koo (Senior Producer for Marvel Entertainment) revealed a new form for “Warriors of the Sky” for the 1st time in the world.

The four warriors, which are part of Marvel’s “Future Fight” mobile game, drew inspiration from four nationalities across Asia: Blue Dragon (Vietnam), War Tiger (Thailand), Shadow Shell (Taiwan), and Sun Bird (Malaysia).

Danny Koo, Senior Producer for Marvel Entertainment, showing off the design for Sun Bird (Burung Matahari) inspired by Malaysian culture

The new form is a combination of each Warrior’s spirit animals – Dragon, Tiger, Turtle, and Bird – to form a humongous Voltron-esque monster called Sky Kyrin. Watch the reveal for yourself here:

Danny also shared the latest updates on the Future Fight app including its newest roster of characters: Sharon Roger as Captain America, K-pop star Luna Snow, and martial arts masters Crescent & Io. The new characters also received their own Marvel Comics recently, telling the tale of their origins.

More games coming from Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars

Besides “Future Fight”, Disney had some other exciting things in store for us. This included “Iron Man VR”, Marvel’s latest Virtual Reality game that features the player as Tony Stark, fighting against Ghost as the main antagonist. A demo of the game was available on the convention floor, and the full game will be released early next year.

Danny Koo, Senior Producer for Marvel Entertainment, sharing the latest news for Iron Man VR

Next year also ushers in the release of “Marvel’s Avengers” published by Square Enix. The reveal trailer showed some gameplay clips of including the Avenger’s base of operations (an abandoned helipad), character customisation, and game modes.

Last but not least excitingly, we were shown a gameplay clip from “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” that showcased what seemed to be the first moments of the game, including a cutscene featuring Saw Gerrera pre-Rouge One. While it wasn’t an exclusive clip, it did successfully convince us to get the game when it releases later this week!

Keynote from Hideo Minaba, President of CyDesignation

You may know them as the studio behind Granblue Fantasy with Hideo Minaba leading the charge. But it wasn’t always this way. During his keynote, Minaba-san shared his career experience before he began working on Granblue Fantasy.

It was inspiring to learn how he went from being duped and underpaid at his first job, to working on what he considers his best work: Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy 5, and of course, Granblue Fantasy’s character designs.

Granblue Fantasy artwork displayed at the convention floor

After the session, there was also an art demonstration in which he drew a high-level swordswoman.

No Straight Roads revealed a new boss that fuses Rap & Wayang Kulit, named DK West

No doubt one of the biggest highlights on the convention floor, No Straight Roads’ booth had a seemingly endless line of excited attendees queueing up to play the game. And for good reason. Having won 7 international game awards before its release, as well as redefining what it means to be a music game, Malaysians are already beginning to count down to its launch.

But what took the spotlight at their booth was definitely the reveal of DK West, the game’s newest boss character inspired by “Dikir Barat”, the art of Wayang Kulit, and surprisingly, rap music. The character is voiced by Alfred Loh and looks like a mix between Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove and Shrek. But that’s just my opinion.

To promote the new character, the booth had Wayang Kulit performances running throughout the day. It recreated the opening moments of the game, in which Tatiana bans rock music from all of NSR, spurring on Mayday and Zuke to teach her the power of rock, head-on.

Attendees watching a scene from No Straight Roads transformed into Wayang Kulit!

In between were some interesting panels from the game’s voice actors, developers, concept artists, and even Wan Hazmer himself. Notably, he mentioned how the gap between AAA games and indie games are shrinking, which was clear as day from the sheer amount of indie games on the floor that weekend.

Group picture after the No Straight Roads voice actors panel

Not forgetting… the Indie Games floor!

Segue into the indie games floor of the event. Taking up almost 50% of the event, there is no doubt that game developers in Malaysia are present and here to stay. Some were even nominees or winners of the SEA Games Awards 2019 the Friday before, which is an annual SEA region game awards at Level Up KL.

We tried some of the games out for ourselves and found these titles particularly great: “Bake N’ Switch”, “Mouse Stone”, “Killing Hell”, “Ageless”, “When the Past Was Around”, “King’s League II” and more! We’ll be doing a detailed article about some of these games, so stay tuned for it.

Overall, THE MAGIC RAIN team had a blast at Level Up KL Play. Not only did we get to experience a large-scale gaming conference for the first time, it was also awe-inspiring to play games by Malaysian developers and experience the raw talent and creativity we have here.

Stay tuned for more interviews with special guests from Level Up KL Biz, and deep-dive articles from Level Up KL Play!

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