Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?!, a fighting game featuring a roster based on historical figures from Filipino history, is scheduled for Steam early access on June 12. It also currently has a free demo available. Created by Filipino developer Ranida Games, Bayani was showcased during last year’s IndieCade. As mentioned by Cliqist in a previous article, Bayani has been receiving support from fighting game champion Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez. (He also goes by “FChamp.”) He won the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 competition at the 2012 Evolution Championship Series, and continues to focus on fighting games, ranging from AAA icons like Street Fighter to indies like Bayani.

Before Bayani enters early access, Ramirez was able to talk with Cliqist about his work on the new fighter over email.

Cliqist: Could you talk about how you got into gaming?

Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez: At a very young age I was already into gaming; I feel like I was born to game, and it’s my destiny to be part of esports.

What drew you to fighting games over other genres? According to this video interview, you switched from Warcraft III to fighting games. What was that transition like?

I played RTS and fighting games both at the same time; the only time I switched full time to fighting games is when I realized that I can’t be the best in the world in RTS because I live in the USA, and the best players are in Asia.

Why did you choose to go by “Filipino Champ” or “FChamp?”

Long story, but in 2008, I entered my very first fighting game major tournament, as a ROOKIE, I registered as “Ryan Ramirez.” Then I had one of the best runs in that tournament, I was able to beat 3 “top 10” guys, and was able to get 2nd place out of 250 entrants. That was the day that people started calling me “Filipino Champ.”  

Then in 2013 the Philippines invited me to EARN my name, so they asked me to play the best player in Street Fighter 4 and Ultimate Marvel 3 in a first to 10 exhibition. I had to beat both of them to get my name officially sanctioned.

Joe (also known as Jose Maria H. Rizal) is based on real-life historical figure José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Realonda, whose writings helped trigger the Philippine Revolution in 1896.

How did you get involved with Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?! and Ranida Games?

Ranida Games asked me if I would be open to joining their amazing team. It was a no brainer for me since it’s an all Filipino fighting game; I just have to be a part of it.

Walter Manalo, managing partner at Ranida Games, said you’ve been working as a consultant and ambassador for Bayani. Could you talk more about that, and the work you’ve done for the game?

I do quite a bit, but I love the team so I don’t mind; but here are the things that I do:

  • Battle Director (Game feel, Balance, Frame data and Character concept)
  • Marketing via Social media (Tweets, Facebook posts and Live stream)
  • Influencer (Hosting, Interviews, and Public presentation)
  • Game Ambassador (Community growth and Community manager)

Manalo also said you’ve been helping esports event organizers grow the fighting game community in the Philippines. What has that been like?

It’s been great, I feel like the community has grown so much this year. Shoutouts to Playbook and Gariath Concepts for making esports possible in the Philippines.

Does it differ from community building in the United States?

Yes, very different; in USA, community building can be done through online play, and that makes it easier and convenient. But in the Philippines, people actually have to meet up and play each other offline because internet is generally bad for fighting games.

Tonio (also known as Antonilio M. Luna) is based on real-life historical figure Antonio Luna de San Pedro y Novicio Ancheta, who was seen as one of the fiercest generals. He also studied chemistry and pharmacy.

Has the experience with Bayani made you think more about game developers and game players collaborating together to create a game and community for it?  

The modern game companies are all doing this already, so I’m glad Bayani is following this trend.

Did you have previous experience with indie fighting games before Bayani?

Yes, I’ve played a lot of indie fighting game titles—Fantasy Strike, Rising Thunder, and Pocket Rumble—just to name a few.

What are your thoughts on the chances of an indie title being included at EVO? Or the possibility of a large-scale fighting game tournament that’s exclusively devoted to indie titles?

To be honest, I think it’s really impossible for an indie title to be a main title at EVO, they only have 8-10 spots available and that usually goes to the Capcom/Arcsys/Namco/NRS/Nintendo titles.

But there are over 30 big fighting game events in a year, and I’m sure indie titles can be part of that and work their way up.

What are your hopes for Bayani?

It will take some time, but I just want Bayani to be a “good” fighting game, then everything will follow.

Will Bayani receive developer support after launch, and would that include your continued involvement? 

Yes, we will continue to support the game, we owe that to the fans.

Do you have a favorite character in Bayani?

Lolang Tsora because she will play like my trademark character Dormammu/Dhalsim [Marvel Vs. Capcom/Street Fighter], and I love my Grandma.

Lolang Tsora is based on real-life historical figure Melchora Aquino de Ramos, who became known as the “Grand Woman of the Revolution” during Filipino resistance against Spanish authority.

Do you have tips on playing the game? Can it be played in a variety of ways, or does the game favor tactics like offense or defense?

The game is very easy but hard to master. It’s very complex, you can play whatever style you want because it has different characters that can cater to your playstyle.

Could you talk about your future plans or anything more about your current projects?

So many projects to name, but if you want to know more about me, you can follow me on:

Thanks for your time, and good luck with Bayani.

Ranida Games has sought support for Bayani from others alongside Ramirez. According to the developer’s imgur post detailing the game’s history, they approached Filipino-based 9 Lives Animation Studios to create an anime style intro for their fighting game. This has led to work also featured in various eye-catching trailers for Bayani. Additionally, the imgur post adds that the Filipino band Slapshock have let their song “Bandera” serve as the game’s main theme song.

Early access for Bayani will include four characters that can be played through 3 game modesversus, arcade, and trainingwith 4 stages available and 8 tracks of background music. Those who purchase early access will get the full base game of Bayani later, which will be expanded to include more music, additional stages, and a story mode with 9 characters.

Alyssa Wejebe
Alyssa Wejebe writes about games, reads about games, and plays them too. RPG, hack-and-slash, and fighting games are some of her favorite genres. She loves nonhuman characters. One of her earliest gaming memories center around battling her grandmother and younger brothers in “Super Bomberman 2” on the SNES.
Alyssa Wejebe

@AlyssaWejebe

Freelance writer/editor focusing on arts and entertainment. Bylines at @Cliqist, @NewNormative, @TechRaptr, @ArtStationHQ, @GoombaSt0mp.
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