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Breaking Stereotypes – Faryal Hussain

Compiled by Pirah Aijaz

The gaming field is a nonconventional area for women, to work in, particularly in Pakistan, where gender discrimination takes place behind veiled customs and traditions.

However, times are changing. And leading the Change, are certain women, who are entering fields not commonly associated with women. One such Change-maker is Faryal Hussain, who is an enthusiastic Game Art Specialist and CEO of Oddsock- a 2D Art Service Studio.

She is one of the few women in Pakistan, who are working in the ‘game development industry’. Often, it is thought that boys/men are better at both playing and designing games, but Faryal is proving that women are no less, competent in this regard.

When it came to her venture, Oddsock faced continuous challenges, despite that Faryal has been defying all odds, to live her dreams.

We had the pleasure of having a tete a tete, with the highly ambitious Faryal.

Let’s hear from her firsthand, what it feels like to stand your ground and pursue your passions when it involves breaking traditions…

Faryal how did you get started with your venture

I’m a passionate woman who aspired to become a Game Artist. In trying to fulfill this dream, I started Oddsock about 2.5 years ago. We started with 1 employee but we have grown into a team of seven expert artists. That’s how the journey started.

What services are you providing? Tell us more about the projects you are involved in.

Oddsock Concepts is a dedicated 2D Art Studio that offers concepts, illustrations, cover art, and splash screen art! We have a portfolio of Artwork for multiple projects by multiple teams from around the world. We’re experts in-game asset design in a variety of Art styles and themes providing – 2D game art services to developers, working quite closely with the gaming industry. After constant efforts and struggle, Oddsock made a mark in the local market and is now recognized as the first dedicated 2D Art Services Studio in Pakistan.

Why did you choose to focus on ‘Art services’ for the gaming industry?

After working in the local gaming industry, I realized that there was a huge gap in the market. While most developers and studios were mass-producing hypercasual games, there was a very small proportion of studios who wanted to make high quality video games. Most importantly, Art was not a priority for game developers. I wanted to be able to offer Game Art services to local and International indie game development studios to empower them, so they can aim for better visuals for their games. We create illustrations and concept Art that can build on the potential of the game!

“Oddsock” is a unique name. What is the concept behind this?

It’s based on my favorite game character from Little Big Planet 2. Plus, it’s quite fitting for a one-of-a-kind, dedicated Art Studio since, its the only female led studio in the local gaming industry.

What challenges did you face while launching your business?

Every newbie faces a lot of challenges while setting up a business, likewise, our journey, had its fair share of challenges too: finding resources with the relevant skills and experience; then striking the right balance between business goals and the goals of the studio; were not easy feats, to begin with.

Could you please shed light on the scope of gaming in Pakistan

Gaming is an emerging industry in Pakistan. Many international organizations are turning to Pakistan with investments and great interest. We have over 150 game development studios and more and more are sprouting up each year. That’s a big win for us!

For women, is ‘gaming’ a good career choice in Pakistan?

“Gaming” would refer to someone who plays games, but yes, I think a career in the gaming industry, is for sure a great choice for women. I think we should break stereotypes, so that we can open the doors to boundless opportunities.

What is the most valuable lesson you learnt while, establishing your career in gaming development?

The lesson I learned while establishing my career in the gaming development industry is that, it is completely okay to be overwhelmed at times, what’s important is to come out stronger and wiser.
Listen to your gut, not everyone is out there to support you, it’s okay to make mistakes, just make sure you learn from them

Where do you see yourself in the next three years?

In the next three years, I want to see Oddsock as the main game Art hub of Pakistan.

What advice would you give to aspiring & emerging women entrepreneurs?

Go for it! Take the step! There’s so much potential for growth and so many opportunities to take advantage of. Surround yourself with good counsel and keep moving forward!

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