For Mexican game development studio Lienzo, indigenous imagery, mythology and music are important components of their upcoming 3D action-adventure game, Mulaka. The studio, which operates in the state of Chihuahua, is scheduling the game for an early 2018 release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Mulaka borrows artistic themes from the Chihuahua-native Tarahumara (or Rarámuri) people to continue the studio’s goal of making an impact on audiences with high quality experiences. One of Lienzo’s cofounders, Edgar Serrano, spoke about the game’s cultural background in a video for Kotaku.
Mulaka, coming to Nintendo Switch and other platforms, is a lovingly-crafted homage to ancient Mexican myths and legends: pic.twitter.com/sW6360BOyZ
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) September 8, 2017
“You don’t always have to do something to do with Vikings and ninjas and samurai,” said Serrano. “There’s more to Earth. Not only Tarahumaras, of course, but a lot of cultures have the same potential to reach that level of stardom.”
Serrano also mentioned the importance of accurately portraying the Tarahumara culture, which inlcluded working with both Tarahumara leaders and anthropologists to create an authentic experience. The game features dialogue in the Tarahumara’s language, music created with indigenous instruments and environments based on northern Mexican landscapes, such as the Sierra Tarahumara.
THIS is why we need more diversity in games. We get cool looking games like this
— Frostnix (@fyeahnix) September 10, 2017
Further cultural aspects of the game include the Tarahumara’s athletic abilities as talented runners, collecting powers from demigods as a shaman, and the variety of mythological enemies. Some of these enemies include the mantis-like Seeló, fiery Sipabuara and soul-stealing rocks known as Rusíwari.
Mulaka was recently shown in Nintendo’s Nindies Showcase, which focuses on independent games rather than big budget software. In the same video for Kotaku, Serrano said he was impressed with Nintendo picking up Mulaka because the company is looking at quality titles instead of adding games for the sake of quantity.
While the game’s release date and price have not been announced, 10 percent of the sales will be donated to three non-governmental organizations, CEDAIN, Norawas de Rarámuri and Fundación Tarahumara, which support the Tarahumara people.