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Lawmage Academy: The story of a lawyer-turned-solo indie game developer

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Photo: Steam Lawmage Academy
“Knowledge of the law is like magic, and I think making an RPG that revolves around that theme would be very interesting.” – Verinius.
Lawmage Academy is a turn-based fantasy role-playing game (RPG) with retro-style graphics, and was solo-developed by a Filipino full-time lawyer, Atty. Gian Miko “Jin” Arabejo, who also goes by his developer name, Verinius.
It was inspired by RPGs like Persona 3 and 4, Octopath Traveler, and Mana Khemia, the Harry Potter books and films, and Atty. Arabejo’s own experience in law school and as a human rights lawyer.

(PHOTO: Steam Lawmage Academy)

“Back in 2018, I found a software called RPG Maker MV in Steam,” Atty. Arabejo shared. “I liked how it looked and it was free over the weekend, so I tried it out. I had fun with it, and that’s when I decided I wanted to make a game,” he added.
Atty. Arabejo decided to work on it alone because of his passion and love for games, even though he had no experience in programming, art, game design, and writing. Through self-study and online tutorials, he was able to solo-release several demos on itch.io back in 2019, and on Steam last year, and has been featured by many local and international streamers, YouTubers, and news sites.
“At first, I thought about waiting for someone to make that game. Surely someone must have thought of that, right? But I decided to just work on it myself and make the game that I really want to play,” Atty. Arabejo stated.
The game was also exhibited at the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) 2019 as part of Indie Fiesta 2019, a local games exhibit directed by International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Philippines board member Gwen Foster.
The full version of the game is planned to be release in 2022 for PC and Mac, with possible translation to Japanese and more languages in future patches.

(PHOTO: Steam Lawmage Academy)

The developer is currently collaborating with an illustrator named “Puzxle”, as well as several music track composers for the game. He also said that if ever e requires assistance with the engine’s more complicated plugins, he will find other RPG Maker developers or programmers to work with.
“Since I’m working alone on most of the aspects of the game, sometimes I do get burnt out. However, it also gives me a variety of tasks to do. When I’m tired of making pixel art, I switch to writing or level design. Cycling through different tasks to keep the project fun for me is a good way to avoid burn out. I also make sure to force myself to rest on weekends,” he said.
The game’s mechanics are quite simple: to be a Lawmage student, you need to enroll in one of four houses namely Drakewood, Foxhelm, Soulstice, and Vissage. You will spend days attending classes, learning spells, crafting potions, making friends, and going on exciting adventures. You will also train your skills and defend the continent known as “Magusgaia” from the threat of magical creatures.

(PHOTO: Steam Lawmage Academy)

The game remains a work in progress, but is fully playable and can be downloaded for free from its official website. https://verinius.itch.io/lawmage-academy – LOVELYN B. CABUSAO, INTERN

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