Video and e-gaming has evolved from a group of backyard innovators to a multi billion-dollar industry, turning customers into addicts.
Malaysia’s very own video and e-gaming industry has yet to hit its real peak but homegrown Wan Hazmer Wan Abd Halim is a proud KL-boy who’s fulfilling the dreams of millions of gamers and turned his passion into a successful career.
I learned Japanese in order to write a ten page game design proposal in Japanese, I sent it everywhere and with that I got into Square Enix
Hazmer worked at Tokyo-based Square Enix for the past seven years, holding the position as lead designer for Final Fantasy XV - an enviable gig seeing as Square Enix is regarded as one of the world’s largest video games development and publishing company.
At the start of his career, Wan Hazmer was hungry for more opportunities to widen his knowledge on e-gaming design. He admits he needed to experience the thought process of games creators to achieve a more substantial understanding of game designing.
That’s when he decided to take the risk of moving to Japan to solidify his career in video and gaming development.
“I was intrigued with the crazy Japanese game designs, it was hard because I didn’t speak a word of Japanese. So, I learned Japanese in order to write a ten page game design proposal in Japanese, I sent it everywhere and with that I got into Square Enix.”
Wan Hazmer: What I learned from the Japanese
A visionary, Wan Hazmer sets his sights to return to Malaysia with a goal in mind (one that he's harboured for five years) - to be the creator of Intellectual Property (IP), of original video games. Thus, Metronomik was born.
I want to tell people you shouldn’t shy
away from putting
your own culture in
the game, a unique exploration on how
to market our culture through entertainment
“I want to bring all the skills and knowledge that I’ve learnt at Square Enix and try to nurture the video and e-gaming industry here in Malaysia. But, first and foremost I need to prove myself,” says Wan Hazmer.
Metronomik, based in a intimate co-working space in Bangsar South - employs 12 young talents, who "works tirelessly," says Wan Hazmer.
The team has a goal in mind - to churn out one game, every year. Currently, they are working on “No Straight Roads”, an action game that is based on music. The prototype for this game is set to be completed at the end of April this year. After further polishing and with the green light from their publishers, Metronomik aims to release it in the first quarter of 2019.
Metronomik is also in the process of opening a culture lab, a pure R&D (Research and Development) unit that focuses on answering two questions: “What makes us special as Malaysians? ” and “Why should anyone even care?”
“I want to tell people you shouldn’t shy away from putting your own culture in the game, a unique exploration on how to market our culture through entertainment,” says Wan Hazmer.
Driven by his love and natural aptitude for game designing, Wan Hazmer is very invested in promoting education to attract more creative talents.
There is a need to educate students with more creative thinking processes than employing, what he thinks as, redundant and out-of-date education syllabus, if the country is serious of nurturing more creative talents.
Wan Hazmer: Improve the Education Syllabus
“I believe that our local talents are very creative. Thanks to the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the industry is really going forward. People are now starting to realise that a game career exists and there’s a game industry and it’s booming.”
“Even start-ups have been given a lot of boost from MDEC, which ensures a bright future for the Malaysian games industry. We are here to ensure that they get what they deserve. We have a lot to offer to the world,” says Wan Hazmer.
For aspiring games designers, Wan Hazmer urges them not to shy away from their roots and culture. “Every culture is unique; therefore every culture is marketable, put a creative spin on it to make it appealing.”
“User experience is key; think about the emotional context of the game before you think of the specific mechanics. With that you’ll be able to come up with a much richer game. That’s what I learnt in Square-Enix when we were making Final Fantasy XV."
Wan Hazmer - What Makes a Good Game