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Asad J. Malik, CEO of Jadu AR Inc. — Interview Series

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Asad Malik, JADU AR

Good news, JADU fans: Jadu AR, the firm behind the ever-changing augmented reality multiplayer fighting game, has just this moment launched its debut season on mobile devices. To learn more about the latest update, as well as touch base on its upcoming features, we caught up with CEO Asad Malik…

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Asad. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did it all start for you?

Asad: I grew up in Khewra, a small town in Pakistan where the pink rock salt comes from. At 16 I got a life changing scholarship that took me to the Netherlands for high school and eventually brought me to the US for Bennington College.

It was there that I found my obsession with AR as a creative medium. We formed a small team that created two headset based narrative AR projects: An immigration focused Hololens project, Terminal 3 (premiered at Tribeca 2018), and the first third-party Magic Leap narrative, A Jester’s Tale (premiered at Sundance 2019). These projects traveled the world throughout major festivals and art exhibitions.

When founding JADU in 2020, we shifted to mobile AR. Since the path to headset adoption was blurry and expensive, we wanted to build a solution for more people to experience the magic of AR technology. As the team grew in size and resources, our work evolved into its natural form: a mobile game.

Let’s talk about your AR game, JADU. What is it, and what can potential newcomers expect to experience in their first round?

Asad: At the core, JADU is an AR fighting game. Players fight each other with avatars they control in 3rd person that spawn in their rooms. You don’t need to be in the same physical space with others to play since our multiplayer is remote and there’s a quickly growing amount of PVE (Player vs Environment) content. 

Newcomers can expect to be surprised by how natural it feels to spatially interact with characters through your camera.

JADU® AVAs • Cinematic Trailer

We’ve also heard that JADU is on the verge of receiving a brand-new expansion in the form of a first season, too. Tell us, what else is being added to the game?

Asad: When we released the game in October, we were mostly trying to make sure a large amount of people found the immersion worth holding their phone up to play. 4.9 stars on the AppStore after 250k installs gave us the confidence to build Season 1.

With this update our world really starts to take shape. The crown jewel is our first single player campaign comprising 5 chapters worth of fights as you escape through a sci fi supermax prison. In order to progress you need to defeat increasingly difficult robot guards in AR. Each fight also comes with environmental effects that transform the player’s room with infinite elevators, prison cells in walls and elemental research facilities. Each chapter gets unlocked as the players level up through fighting each other in our PVP Arena. The campaign ends with a fiery boss fight with our first hero ChaCha TukTuk, a righteous and sturdy truck driver from my part of the world.

JADU’s character creator is also getting a big update with hundreds of new items allowing for millions of new combinations. Our cosmetic items are incredibly detailed and fully 3D. We even took the time to paint textures on individual shoelaces. Some items can be bought from the store with in game currency while others can only be drawn at random.

A new item set collection system is also getting added to the game which helps you progress towards unlocking our second hero Absynth. She’s dipped in this bionic metal armor giving her a super villain look. Her attacks use poison and she also helps players draw items.

Season 1 is en route, which is great! Tell us, do you have any plans to further expand the world of JADU in future updates or seasons?

Asad: Capitalizing on our current momentum, our team is focused on producing strong characters with original AR movesets and backstories. Expect us to build out a more expansive roster of playable Heroes this year.

Would you be ever so kind as to share a few tips for new and returning players?

Asad: One nice thing about JADU is you can mostly play sitting down. But if you want to have the best experience I would really recommend getting up and getting into it. Walk around, get closer to characters, look from different angles and don’t worry about being too gentle with your movement. (Pro tip: Use both hands.)

What’s next for the team? If you don’t mind me asking, do you have any other projects in the pipeline? If so, could you kindly tell us a bit about it/them?

Asad: JADU is shaping to be our sole focus for the foreseeable future. Good thing is that it evolves into new things quickly. We believe that our format of 3rd person avatar based gameplay with environmental effects in AR is fundamentally a more immersive way of experiencing 3D on your phone. We are confident that as the game expands we’ll be able to build out more social and interactive features into the game.

Any final words for our readers?

Asad: Definitely join our Discord. We have mods and team members available there pretty much at all times. From Tournaments to Town Halls, you get a very different level of involvement with the game.

Thanks again for your time, Asad. We’re wishing you and the team all the best for the upcoming season!

For more updates on the recent launch of JADU’s opening season, be sure to check in with the team over on their official social handle here. Alternatively, you can visit the website for more post-launch news here.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.