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Interview: Lienzo and Mulaka – Story Telling at it’s Finest

Mexico is not known to be a powerhouse indie gaming development country. In fact, if you were to take a moment to try to come up with five games that have been developed by studios in Mexico, you may be challenged to recall even one or two. Lienzo, out of Chihuahua, Mexico may change all of that.

Mulaka is expected for release early this year. Although the release date has not yet been confirmed, gamers all over the world are gearing up for the release of Mulaka, specifically Nintendo Switch players.

We were fortunate enough to speak with Adolfo Aguirre at Lienzo, who is in charge of PR, Marketing, and Publishing. He is a passionate gamer who has taken that passion to try to push the industry forward, specifically in Mexico.

Lienzo was founded in 2012 as a safe space for creativity. The goal was to create a studio to maximize the creative abilities of a select few. Currently, Lienzo is a team of eight full time workers and one intern. They work with freelancers on sound and music (as most indie studios do).

Adolfo worked on Lienzo’s previous project Hunter’s Legacy and managed to get the game published on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. He also collaborates on the podcast for Mexican YouTube channel Cultura VJ. However, with Mulaka being so close to release, a majority of his time and focus is there.

What is Mulaka?

Mulaka is an action-adventure title set in northern Mexico during the pre-colonization era. You take the role of a Sukurúame, the equivalent to a shaman in the Tarahumara lore, and are tasked with preventing the 4th destruction of the world that is looming. You travel to exotic locations in the region while looking for demigods to gain their trust and save humanity.

As you progress through your journey, Mulaka will learn to transform into different mythological creatures like the royal woodpecker and a bear. These divine transformations give you access to new areas, allowing you to progress and find hidden collectibles, and assist you in combat.

What can we Expect from Mulaka?

Mulaka is an action-adventure title first, but everything is closely tied to the underlying story, and all actions look to advance that story in a meaningful way. Essentially, Mulaka is story telling at it’s finest.

The stories and legends are based on the Tarahumara indigenous people from northern Mexico. Players will dive into some of the most gorgeous locations of the region while engaging in combat and solving puzzles.

The end result: a “Zelda-like” adventure based on the culture and mythologies of northern Mexico. The story of Mulaka is based on a real legends from these people. Lienzo expects players to be surprised at some of the impressive creatures that they’ll battle.

No action-adventure title tells a story like this. Every single element in the game is based on a real mythology, from the settings to the enemies and even small details like the HUD. -Adolfo Aguirre

Combat in Mulaka

While combat is melee-focused through Mulaka’s spear, the use of potions and transformations allow you to mix it up a bit if you’re in trouble or if you want to finish enemies with style. You can attack enemies and mix weak and strong attacks to create combos, and you can also throw bombs that you craft and enhance your abilities through magic.

Combat is set within the open world environment, so it is not turn based. Further empowering the character of Mulaka through magic, transformation, and crafted items is a big part of combat.

If you are in the need of a different kind of story and a 3D action game where there’s a lot of exploration and combat, this is your thing.

Challenges for Mulaka

Adolfo shared the following on challenges Lienzo faced in creating Mulaka:

The first big challenge was to get the funding for the game. We live in a region where game development, especially on this scale and for consoles, wasn’t even conceivable. We had to overcome some cultural challenges and educate people with investment power about the size of this industry, its demographic, and the potential for growth. Then, building a 3D action game with no previous practical knowledge nor formal education about game design was quite an undertaking, but we definitely enjoyed the challenge.

It took Lienzo over a year to find funding for the game. Full-time production began in earnest January of 2016.

Upcoming Release

Mulaka will be released soon on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. A formal announcement date has not been confirmed, but the Lienzo team has stated it will be early in 2018.

While the game is being released on all major consoles, the Nintendo Switch gaming community seems to be a little more eager for Mulaka. The portability of the Switch is a great thing for indie games, but features like HD rumble and gyroscope helped Lienzo create some cool features that will not be available on other platforms.

For those eager to get a jump on Mulaka and get immersed in the culture, the soundtrack can be found on soundcloud. A lot of the music was recorded using authentic Tarahumara instruments.

We will be tracking the progress of Mulaka and will include a full review once the game is available.

ReDoNK View All

Avid gamer across PC, Xbox, and Switch platforms. Check me out on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

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