What inspired you to develop a game that’s so different from your previous work (with Ragnarok), at least in terms of style?
HK: After developing Ragnarok and other similar games, I wanted to do something that was different enough to let me expand our boundaries. To do that I’ve spent a large amount of time reviewing other types of games, including some console titles, to come up with a list of ideas that I could extend into MMOs.
What are some of the titles that inspired you?
HK: Things like StarCraft. Basically, I wanted to integrate some of the best practices from RTS games to the RPG that I was creating.
How long did you work at Gravity?
HK: From about 1998 to 2002; so, for about 4 years.
Did you work on any non-MMO’s?
HK: Ragnarok was my last game at Gravity. Before that, I made a single-player RPG called Arcturus, and some action games called Antman 2 and Lars the Wanderer. I also managed outsourcing for some projects.
What was the biggest difference between developing MMOs and offline games?
HK: The biggest difference is that making an online game is about creating a playground for players. Rather than trying to fill everything up from the beginning, I have to leave a lot of spaces empty that can be filled as the game evolves with its players.
Do you think it’s easier or harder to develop a MMO?
HK: I feel that to make a good MMO you need to obtain various types of knowledge, from business economics, to statistics, to history, to marketing, and many others, as all those bodies of knowledge are critical to making the game as good as it can be. For example, business and economic knowledge is very important when you’re trying to create the economic system within a game. This can’t be done well unless you as a developer know how to make it work.
I guess there’s a lot of math involved in keeping the right balance.
HK: Yes - if you want to maintain the right balance, it is very important to hire the right type of experts in statistics.
How long was pre-production for this game?
HK: Because I had to plan the game and at the same time open my own company, the pre-production period took a little longer than I anticipated. Just to get started, it took me about one year.
How many people work at IMC Games?
HK: Right now there are about 100 employees, including GMs and the QA staff.
Are you working constantly to maintain this game or how do you spend your time?
HK: There are about 40 people dedicated to developing new content. And we also have a sizable group of team members dedicated to supporting each new license and market being developed/served.