Garena has featured Indonesian actor and martial artist Joe Taslim as a game character in its mobile game, Free Fire. According to Garena, Taslim's character is the first-ever playable Indonesian character in the game. Named "Jota", the character is a military spy disguised as a movie stuntman who specialises in parkour. Christian Wihananto, country producer, Garena Indonesia, said having Taslim's character in Free Fire not only gets local players excited, but can also be used to highlight Indonesia to the rest of the world.
The new character was launched alongside a short animated action film earlier this month titled "Jota VS Dewi Dangdut", which was produced with Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto. The seven-minute film features Jota in gameplay on Free Fire, where he battles another character named Dewi Dangdut. The video garnered 3.7m views on YouTube at the time of writing.
In a statement to Marketing Interactive, Wihananto said creating Jota is Garena's way of engaging with the Indonesian community and showcase a part of the country to the world. Wihananto added:
Taslim is a source of pride for many Indonesians, and he has both local and global appeal as an Indonesian actor making waves in Hollywood.
Wihananto said that besides Taslim, Garena had previously featured DJ Alok, a Brazilian disc jockey, as a playable character in the game. The company also produced a Free Fire-themed music video based on Alok’s song “Vale Vale”.
Taslim, who was a former member of the Indonesian national judo team before pursuing acting full-time, has acted in films such as The Raid, Fast & Furious 6, and Star Trek Beyond. He will also be acting in an upcoming film adaptation of video game franchise Mortal Kombat. He said he is delighted to be featured as a character in the game after witnessing the popularity of the mobile game both locally and globally.
"It is also a source of pride for me to be the game’s first Indonesian character. Hopefully like me, all Free Fire players in Indonesia will be proud of the presence of a local character in Free Fire," he added.