South African game developer Talent Digital Art (TDA), under the umbrella of Talent10 Holdings, has launched Super Dragon Punch Force 3 (SDPF3), a free-to-play, 2,5D fighting game available on iOS, Android and PC via Steam.

SDPF3 is inspired by the fictitious 2D fighting game featured in the action film “Boy Kills World”, starring Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Rothe, Sharlto Copley and produced by Sam Raimi which was filmed and produced in South Africa and officially released worldwide on 26 April 2024.

In the newly-created franchise players will master the unique styles of a diverse fighter roster – including ‘Boy’ and axe-wielding ‘June27,’ the characters portrayed by Skarsgård and Rothe respectively in Boy Kills World – joined by original game characters Marlo, Wally, Deb, SK, Jace and Yazya.

Tanya Brits, CEO of Talent Digital Art, says SDPF3 is an “easy to pick-up but difficult-to-master” game designed to be one of the best fighting game experiences to ever be produced for mobile.

Mixing an anime- and manga-inspired look and feel and numerous South African references, with simple controls and a distinct art style, Brits believes that SDPF3 fills a gap in the mobile fighting games genre.

“Visually, this is a beautiful game. Our art department has brought together incredible local talent to ensure SDPF3 stands out with its aesthetics, rivalling or even surpassing the classics we grew up playing,” says Brits.

“We’ve crafted a game that we believe will resonate both internationally and locally. From Amapiano-themed music to iconic South African landmarks and the inclusion of Zanzi Town arena, we’ve infused the game with Mzansi’s essence,” she adds.

Judd Fitzjohn, creative director on SDPF3, explains that intentional design decisions were made to differentiate the game from other fighting titles. The game boasts impressive visuals and smooth gameplay without relying on overly complex moves or excessively challenging progression, ensuring accessibility for all players.

“Don’t mistake accessibility for simplicity. Whether you’re engaging in the PvE single-player campaign or challenging other players in PvP mode, the game offers rewarding gameplay that will keep you coming back for more,” he says.

SDPF3 features cross-play between PC and mobile, and full controller support at launch. Rollout to consoles is on the cards for the future.

The name “SDPF3” pays homage to a fictional arcade game in the action-thriller movie. In the movie, the main character “Boy” obsessively plays an arcade game called Super Dragon Punch Force 2, which leads to the development of his internal “voice” and his propensity for violence.

SDPF3 builds on the fictional game, set in Zed’s Comic Shop, featuring a roster of characters, with some instantly recognisable from the movie.

According to Fitzjohn, the game serves as an integral part of the broader “universe” being crafted around the ‘Boy Kills World’ narrative. This interconnected universe will continuously expand with new lore and content, seamlessly integrating elements from the game and other related projects.

“In terms of the live service aspect that drives the overall gaming experience, we place a strong emphasis on community involvement. Our commitment lies in actively engaging our players in the ongoing development of the game’s story and content.

“We have extensive plans for introducing new content, cosmetics, player cards, arenas, characters and narrative elements. However, we heavily prioritise feedback from our community in shaping the features and additions they want to see implemented in the game.”

According to Brits, the launch of SDPF3 is not just about gaming; it’s also a positive South African news story.

Gaming in South Africa represents a significant and growing market, valued at $266-million (about R5-billion) with an estimated 26-million active players across various platforms, primarily mobile phones. This presents a unique opportunity for South Africa, says Brits.

“Game development offers a viable and potentially lucrative career path, but the high barriers to entry, particularly in access to training, pose challenges. However, we’ve witnessed abundant artistic talent locally, exemplified in the development of the game.

“This is why the Talent10 Holdings Group is heavily investing in content and initiatives like our Talent Digital Academy. South Africa’s reputation as a destination for art and film can extend to AAA gaming development with the right opportunities,” concludes Brits.