While the rich tapestry of Italian cuisine, fashion and history is known and celebrated globally, few might associate this sunny European nation with being a hub for video games. Enter Jyamma Games, an independent game studio that’s set to change this mindset by producing games that are, dare we say, al dente. We explore what it means to be an indie game studio based in Milan, and the development of Jyamma Games’ first AA title, Enotria: The Last Song.
An Italian Origin Story
Milan, the powerhouse of Northern Italy is a thriving metropolis in polarizing extremes. Home to some of history’s most magnificent buildings, it is also a key financial district as the base of Borsa Italiana while also being recognised as one of the world’s fashion-forward capitals. It’s somewhat apt that this is where Jyamma Games started.
Founded in 2019 by CEO, Giacomo Greco, the studio is built upon principles of being “a positive force in the gaming industry, spreading a sense of cooperation and mutual help”. This ethos is expressed throughout the organization, the founding team were all recruited directly from Greco’s cohort where he studied game design. Greco himself holds a colorful, creative career and prior to the game dev life was a DJ, Producer and Remixer under Armada Music (an independent music label founded by Dutch DJ, Armin van Buuren), a testament to the unique and varied paths one may take into video games.
Veni, Vidi, Video Games
Jyamma Games found some of their earliest wins through tackling the mobile games market. Publishing under their studio name, they’ve released games such as Hi-Ball Rush, a reflex-testing, strategy-forward Pong-like, Matchy Catch, an addictive match-and-pop puzzle game and Cowzuuka, a fun shooting game about cows versus aliens. While many of these titles borrow time-tested and loved video game mechanics, where Jyamma succeeds is in the finessing of the graphics, video and sound effects plus some really great soundtracks.
Mobile games aside, the studio has also collaborated with other studios, bringing their expertise into the development of world-renowned AAA titles. These include Cyberpunk 2077, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, Redout, Dying Light 2 and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Entering The Eternal Play
The Jyamma Games team is now embarking on yet another video game expedition, this time making it their most ambitious one yet. Formerly known as Project Galileo, the studio has since revealed the game as Enotria: The Last Song, a AA thrilling souls-like, inspired by Italian folk-lore that’s set in a sun-lit land. Players take on the role of the Maskless One, the only individual unhindered by the effects of the Canovaccio, a twisted eternal play that keeps the world in an unnatural stasis. Through harnessing the power or Ardore, the Maskless One must defeat the Authors, instigators of the Canovaccio and free the world from this predicament.
Gameplay-wise, it’s an action adventure and is said to be akin to exploration plus a smattering of punishing boss battles, similar in nature to other souls games that we all know, love and sometimes cry over. Masks are both a huge thematic motif to the game as well as a key in-game feature as they represent character builds which players can attach talents into and customize.
Most striking of all about Enotria is the deep references to Italian culture and its breathtaking “Summer Souls” setting that captures the spirit of a European summer. It’s a far cry from the typically dark and dreary spaces that most within the souls-like genre tend to occupy. Yet there’s still a level of uncanny and intrigue due to the theatrical elements that hark to some dark undertones from Italy’s ancestral past. The game is said to even be reproducing fighting techniques from the Flos Duellatorum, a 15th century Italian fencing manual that is still used today. Much more is still to come but some exciting announcements so far are the involvement of Italian voice actor, Luca Ward (Cyberpunk 2077, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell), Japanese voice actor Sugita Tomokazu (Gintama, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure) and audio director Aram Shahbazians, formerly from CD PROJEKT RED.
Coding and Decoding The Future
2023 has been a fruitful year for Jyamma Games and Enotria: The Last Song. The team were most recently at Gamescom in Cologne, where Enotria was nominated as Best Sony Playstation Game and Best Microsoft Xbox Game. They share this nomination alongside veteran game titles such as Mortal Kombat 1, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon and Tekken 8. For this indie Italian studio, of which many of their team are huge fans of these titles, it’s an incredible honor to even be judged within the same category.
Jyamma Games plans to be at PAX West this week as well as at other key showcases over the next few months. If you’re interested in following updates on Enotria: The Last Song, you can follow their English and Japanese Twitter or join their multilingual Discord.