Inside Lokapala: Saga of the Six Realms, The MOBA Based On Indonesian Mythology

Inside Lokapala: Saga of the Six Realms, The MOBA Based On Indonesian Mythology
Contributor: Samantha Low

There’s been a significant rise in games released from South East Asia, and Indonesia is undoubtedly one not to be left behind. Enter Lokapala, a League of Legends-like MOBA built around Indonesian mythology. Developed by Anantarupa Studios and published by PT Melon Indonesia, it’s been lauded as the first e-sports game developed within Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region.

Lokapala means ‘guardians of the realm’ in Bahasa Indonesia. It was a game birthed during the height of the pandemic, a time of lockdowns and daily uncertainty when many would flock towards any means of escapism. Lokapala occurs in a supernatural setting, at the end of the world, where the realms have merged into one. It is up to the ‘Ksatriya’ (‘knight’ in Bahasa  Indonesia), playable characters with higher powers, to intervene and battle one another for the ability to determine the fate of the realms. With an ever-growing roster of characters, the one commonality that they all share is aesthetics and lore backed by Indonesian history and culture.  

“Each of [the] Lokapala Ksatriya is embedded with one of the Eight Virtues of Ksatriya. These Eight  Virtues of Ksatriya were called Astabratha, old Javanese virtues of statesmanship from the 9th century that shares similar values with the Seven Virtues of Bushido. By reintroducing these values in Lokapala, Anantarupa wishes that they can encourage a positive personality and mindset among  Lokapala players,” says Ivan Chen, CEO and Founder of Anantarupa Studios.  

Naming within the game is derived from Sanskrit, a classic language from the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language. Characters such as Vijaya are a nod toward the prince of the Javanese Hindu-Buddhist kingdom, Singhasari. There is also Nala, a statesman and warlord from the Majapahit empire during the 14th century. Heroic lore accompanies each character, adding to the depth and richness of the game.  

While the art direction and narrative were culturally founded, the game style was data-driven. Based on research by Anantarupa, 67% of esports enthusiasts preferred MOBA-style games compared to shooters or real-time strategy. Lokapala gameplay primarily features a classic 5v5  battle on a MOBA map to demolish enemy towers and, ultimately, the base. A  multiplayer function allows players to co-op or compete against friends as a means of practice before the next e-sports tournament, as good teamwork is crucial to emerging victorious. Anantarupa developers were also conscious of time-sensitivities, especially around a mobile game,  so rounds are time efficient yet satisfying to play. 

Having launched locally in 2020, Lokapala has since enjoyed over 1 million downloads on Google Play with hundreds of positive reviews on the App Store. The developers note that broader SEA expansion is on the horizon, with Japan and Australia being close follow-up markets. Lokapala was at Tokyo Game Show 2022 alongside CAKRA, an Indonesian government-backed creative industry association supporting intellectual property development in various mediums. 

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