x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gamers test Arabic version of popular internet shoot'em-up

Thousands of fans will test an Arabic version of an online video game.

DUBAI // Three thousand young video game fans have signed up to test the Arabic version of a popular online game due to be released at the start of next month.

Point Blank is an online first-person shoot'em-up, in which players guide their character around a virtual world killing enemies.

It will now have Arabic language support and other modifications to make it suitable for the region.

It is currently in a closed beta testing phase, meaning it is complete but not fully bug-free and ready for public use.

The Dubai-based publisher Tahadi has signed up a large community of players in the region - including 1,000 from the UAE - to help with that final stage of testing.

"We're working on testing to perfect the game and to optimise the network coverage," said Achraf Mirghani, the senior product manager at Tahadi.

The free-to-play title was developed by Zepetto, a South Korean firm, and first released in 2008.

Since then, regional versions have been released in Russia, America, Turkey, Thailand and the Philippines.

The game has been thoroughly tested around the world but Tahadi still needed to check how the game would operate on regional internet services.

The company has been working on translating portions of the game into Arabic - not every word, but enough that users can understand the interface - as well as editing it for content.

"We have to make sure it's localised and have the Arabic language element in it," said Mr Mirghani.

"At the same time we have to make sure we removed all the naked women and all the references that are offensive to the Arabic culture. We are collecting players' feedback about what they find offensive and what they'd like to change."

Mr Mirghani said the game was far easier to learn than some of the company's other titles, such as Runes of Might or Heroes of Gaia, which have complex interfaces.

With a learning curve that is "practically not there", he said it will be "just as simple as point, click and shoot".

Late last month, Tahadi gave players in the emirates a chance to try the game for the first time during a tournament at the popular internet cafe and gaming venue, Ezone Entertainment, in Abu Hail, at the end of last month.

There were prizes for competitors and teams that scored the most "kills".

mcroucher@thenational.ae