Malaysian artist draws futuristic Overwatch version of Penang

It hasn’t been too long ago since a Malaysian game streamer wowed us all by hosting a Malay wedding reception on Grand Theft Auto V. Not only did it adhere to the Movement Control Order (MCO) by keeping large gatherings online, but it also added a unique Malaysian touch to the game. 

Now another Malaysian, Penang-based illustrator Tan Qi Xyuan, is adding some local flavour to another globally popular video game – Overwatch. Responding to the 2020 Southeast Asia (SEA) Overwatch Map Design Contest, she created a colourful concept artwork of George Town, complete with Komtar, teh tarik and nasi kandar signboards, trishaws, and Peranakan shophouses. 

And it’s winning over locals, especially proud Penang langs, with its truly Malaysian details. 

Overwatch held a Southeast Asian map design contest

Overwatch competition
Image adapted from:
Blizzard Entertainment

In case you didn’t already know, Overwatch is an online team-based game where players shoot down enemies on “maps”, or battlefields. Current maps in the game include landscapes from South Korea to Antarctica which you can choose from to shoot down enemies with glee. 

This year, artists from Malaysia, as well as Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam were welcomed by Blizzard – the game developer of Overwatch – to submit Southeast Asia-themed artworks to this contest. So hopefully, we will be seeing a Southeast Asian map in the game soon – and of course, we’d love it to be a Malaysian one.

She created a futuristic Penang artwork for the contest

This is why Tan decided to come up with a concept artwork of a futuristic Penang as her contest submission to cheer Malaysia on. But while she failed to submit it before the contest deadline, she shared it on her Facebook page where her art has been gaining attention for its sheer Malaysian-ness.

Futuristic Penang for Overwatch
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The concept artwork she designed features the Komtar Building in George Town, Penang front and center while local food favourites, such as a hologram teh tarik sign and an ais kacang cart, surround it. 

There are also shoutouts to famous foodie sites in Penang, including 888 Hokkien Mee, and even a nod to the Rapid Penang public transportation system that’s been given a futuristic look. 

Red rickshaws that make loops around George Town for those wanting to give their legs a break also get a modern makeover in Tan’s artwork, with hovering, lit-up “tires”. 

Modern rickshaws
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Not straying too far from the historic, she also included heritage Peranakan shophouses and floor tiles, all of which she which she had hand-drawn and constructed painstakingly in Photoshop. 

Penang heritage buildings
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Netizens show support for futuristic Penang concept artwork

Inspired by Tan’s inventive yet authentic version of Penang, netizens came out to show their support for her artwork. 

Many made sure to applaud the details she had included, such as her modernised red rickshaws. Facebook user Chiaya Hanako also gave a much-needed shoutout to the teh tarik hologram, commenting, “Omg the details. I love the teh tarik hologram”. 

Facebook comment 1
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Many Penang langs also showed up in the comments to say how proud they are of the concept artwork, including Donny Ryuichi Tan, who commented, “I’m super proud to be a Penang lang”. 

Vanessa Wong also adds that “Penang kaki should be proud if this was made as a map” in another comment. 

Facebook comment 2
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And while Tan couldn’t submit her work in time, Caleb YuXun commented that he’d “personally give [her] a trophy”, presumably because of how much he liked her artwork. 

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The artist is an accomplished young illustrator

Hotel del Luna
Image credit:
Tan Qi Xyuan

A visual development artist, concept artist, and illustrator from Penang, Tan’s portfolio doesn’t just include Malaysia-themed work, but also has art that runs the gamut from sci-fi bounty hunter character designs and Hotel Del Luna fan art to retro-styled Japanese sea creature T-shirt prints.

Malaysian artist reimagines Penang for Overwatch map contest

Even though Tan missed the deadline to get her concept artwork in for the contest, it has no doubt been winning over Malaysians with how creative it looks. 

So while there is little chance of it showing up in the game itself, we’re proud of local talents and artists such as Tan who continue to prove that Malaysian artists boleh.  

Keep updated with news in Malaysia here: 

Cover image adapted from: 7xyuan奇璇


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