The One True Ong Bak Tri Interview

You know and love them for their over-the-top, heinously amazing fists (and legs) of fury, but what you might not know anything about is Ong Bak Tri, a side-scrolling action video game. We managed to wrestle down Kan Supabanpot, the co-founder of Studio HIVE to ask some questions about the upcoming title. Also note: flying knees.

Andrew Whipple III: First off, thanks for spending a little time with us Kan! Ong Bak is synonymous with action and flying kicks of impenetrable doom, what can we expect
from Ong Bak Tri? Also, give us a little intel on you!

Kan Supabanpot: I’m Kan Supabanpot, co-founder of Studio HIVE and my role is to handle all business side of things here at our studio. The Ong Bak film was probably the only Thai film I saw in the cinema 2-3 times and back then I was like “wow this could turn into a videogame!”. This game is actually going to be based on a new animated feature film so you can expect over the top action scene and characters.

The calm ones always hurt people the most.

The calm ones always hurt people the most.

AW: We’ve heard word that some of the people who helped make the films are on board with the game itself, if so, whom?

KS: This is one of the great things about making this game. We get to meet our childhood heroes. Ajarn Panna Ritthikrai, the master choreographer is very gracious and helped us to design lots of cool moves in the game. Prachya Pinkeaw the original director is also very very helpful and kind enough to take time and meet with us a few times to make sure that this game has the authentic “Ong Bak Flavor” to it.

AW: About the gameplay itself; it’s side-scrolling action goodness, which is always a marvelous thing. What made you decide this was the best route to take instead of, say, following the standard 3D approach?

KS: We grew up with side-scrolling games and I thought, why don’t we have these games anymore? Other people are making awesome 3D games so I want to make an awesome side-scrolling game.

Uppercut of DOOOOOOM!

Uppercut of DOOOOOOM!

AW: Is Ong Bak Tri similar to any other side-scrolling action game out there? Can you draw comparisons and/or inspiration from anything?

KS: We are all big game geeks here but I would say games that inspired us the most for this project are Shank, God of War and Devil May Cry.

AW: Are we dealing with a story that simply serves as a premise and nothing more, or – dare I say it – are you trying to get emotional and deep?

KS: The game is going to be fun, cheesy and crazy. I don’t want the dude who talks with his fists to go emotional and deep.

AW: Since Ong Bak Tri is on multiple platforms, will the game’s different versions be similar? Usually mobile games don’t get as intricate as their console counterparts.

KS: The mobile version will be significantly different for the best gaming experience.

Fighting on narrow pathways is a staple of the side-scrolling brawler.

Fighting on narrow pathways is a staple of the side-scrolling brawler.

AW: What did it take to actually get the license to make this game?

KS: The process took about 5 years. I had the first talk with the license owner Sahamongkol a long time before I started Studio HIVE. After we were ready then I approached them again.

AW: What’s single-handedly your favorite thing about Ong Bak Tri?

KS: Flying knees.

AW: Is there any plans for co-operative or competitive multiplayer elements? If no, elaborate on why you think the single-player focus is more important.

KS: This game is designed to be single player only. I don’t think multi-player will fit well with this type of game.

Martial arts boss fight with lava in the background? Say it isn't so.

Martial arts boss fight with lava in the background? Say it isn’t so.

AW: Alright, sell it to me more than you already have. Why do I absolutely need to check out Ong Bak Tri?

KS: You get to play as Tony Jaa and his awesome muay thai skills plus over the top crazy moves! The game will be released by our partner and wordwide publisher Immanitas Entertainment this summer. PC will be the first release platform, mobile and console are planned to follow right after. Please check out the official Facebook page.