Culttales Interactive's CEO and founder Vaibhav Chavan told us about the company's mission, explained how work is organized at the company, and spoke about its interactive storytelling platform, StoryPix.
My name is Vaibhav Chavan, and I graduated in 2007 as a computer engineer. Started off as a game designer for Indiagames before becoming a game producer for Games2win and Hungama. After working for 4 years designing games for these companies, I started my own venture called underDOGS Studio LLP in 2011.
The whole idea with underDOGS was to build a huge B2B brand making games for gaming companies, digital agencies, brands, and movie production houses. I spearheaded underDOGS for 10 years before starting my second venture Culttales Interactive.
Currently, at Culttales I am building a massive product called StoryPix. StoryPix is a UGC-led interactive storytelling platform for India. Overall, I have 15+ years of experience in the Indian gaming industry.
At Culttales, we are on a mission to dominate the interactive storytelling space in India with StoryPix. Indian reader audience has grown multi-folds in the last couple of years. StoryPix is a platform with stories that are around 2 hours long with multiple endings, currently focusing on Hindi as a primary language.
As a player, you make impactful choices, drive the story, and experience multiple endings in every story. Creating such interactive stories needs a mix of expertise in storytelling and gamification, which the experienced team at Culttales is very much capable of.
Our automated story creation tool Storytella will be opened up to invite only creators who can create their own stories on Storypix in early 2023. Although we have a few big games in the western markets, the content is completely irrelevant to the Indian mass audience. This is where StoryPix comes into the picture, with regional content for Bharat.
Organization of Working Processes
Interactive story creation goes through a long process starting with freelance writers writing stories in a standard format that we have. Once the script comes to us, internally our game design team starts gamifying the story. The moment we have the gamified story ready, it's given to the art and programming team to take forward.
Post-the-story production, multiple rounds of internal testing are done to check for alternate endings. Along with these lean teams, we also have a few product, analytics, and core leadership team. At the moment we have a hybrid model, where the whole team works together 3 days a week, rest is work from home. Project management is online using some amazing tools like Slack, Trello, Hack and Plan, and Miro.
Since the main crew has moved over from underDOGS, we have a wealth of expertise in creating more than 250 entertaining games. One of the most memorable games we made was Skatelander in 2015 which gave us the name, fame, money, and exposure and helped convert a small indie bunch into a professional gaming company.
Culttales Interactive's Approach to Education
We strive to think about short-term certifications on specializations that team members can pick up as it ultimately aids in the company's success itself. We also tend to constantly upgrade the team through various initiatives. Besides, we arrange city meet-ups and game jams that help the team interact with external teams as well as learn from different perspectives.
Culttales Interactive's Take on the Future of Game Dev
The gaming industry is just going to be massive in the coming years. It's already advanced to the point where, at least in a nation like India where gaming was not seen as a serious profession, individuals are working very hard to succeed in the sector and produce masterpieces that can put India on the map of the world.
Introduction to AI tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT has optimized a lot of processes when it comes to art and content creation and a lot of studios are trying their hands on these. With the current pace at which these AI tools are helping solve some of the critical time-consuming tasks, I am sure we’ll have a much faster production pipeline for game development in general.
Tips for Artists
At Culttales we are only looking for 2D artists who are really good at realistic character creations. Majorly this type of work is done on Photoshop and tools similar to it. So the expertise required is around such 2D digital painting tools only.
But along with these skills we really want to work with people who match our DNA and that is something we make sure to test with people we are hiring. Humility, communication, and a learner's attitude are a few things we want to have in our team because that eventually reflects our work culture. So along with technical skills, interpersonal skills although underrated, matter a lot at Culttales.
Culttales Interactive's Roadmap
By the end of 2023, we envision StoryPix standing out as a very strong UGC platform for storytellers in India reaching over 2 million readers and more than 50 content creators. Also, with the kind of response for the product coming from the VC and investment sectors, you will definitely hear news on some aggressive strategic decisions soon.