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Korea Rising: Five Crucial Interviews

January 4, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 21 Next

I'm curious to know your thoughts about PlayStation 3 versus 360, considering the Sony brand has always been much stronger in Asia. Also Sony had an office here for several years, and the 360 only just launched here more recently. But you're focused on the 360. Is that western consideration, or... what is that?

SY: Not really. Honestly, I think the 360 is easier to develop for. The PS3 is a little bit harder. It's not easy to find people who have experience in previous... like PS2 or PS3. It's not easy for us to start to work on the process. Once we had a project for the PS3 called Endless Saga. We had trouble with it, and [it was cancelled].

It seems like right now, there aren't a lot of consoles out, so it's hard to justify the risk of extra development costs right now. Any interest in the handheld space yet? Like the DS and PSP?

SY: Not yet. We had a mobile game before, but it's not really...

I know Webzen is mostly focused on really large-scale games.

SY: Yeah, that's company style.

Yeah. Definitely seems like, as you say, the vision is for big blockbuster stuff. It makes sense. Speaking of which, how is the use of Unreal Engine 3 going?

SY: Unreal 3 for Huxley?

Yeah. Well, you're not on the Huxley project, but...

SY: Yeah, I'm not on it. I have some information. At the beginning, they had a really tough time to understand the engine itself. Also we were not just making an FPS game from Unreal 3. We were making an MMO/online game. As you know, the Unreal Engine is not for MMOG, right? At the beginning we had a tough time. Right now Huxley just had a [closed beta], and we're preparing for our second CBT at this moment. The understanding came a lot better than before. We get better.

The upcoming MMO FPS hybrid, Huxley

I was wondering if they're providing much support in Korean, or if it's all English language.

SY: It's all in English! (laughs)

Is that a difficult factor?

SY: They try to understand English. It's probably way better than things that are in Korean. Most of our information comes from forums. However, a lot of people don't really speak Korean.

You're working on APB with Realtime Worlds, and Red 5 on stuff. How did Webzen get in contact with and start relationships with these western developers?

SY: Because these western developers, they used to work on console games... especially a person like David Jones, the head of Realtime Worlds. He has his own objective in online games. He was looking for a partnership. I think it's kind of natural for us to meet each other, because they were looking for some online publishers, and we were looking for some good western developers. It's natural.

Through the agency, they were looking for a publisher [for] Korea. Webzen was a possible candidate. [Korea doesn't] have a lot of huge publishers, and at the time, we were looking for some really good IP from the western market. We thought that rather than make the Korean game first and then try to get into the western market, we were thinking about having some really strong western-placed developers. We met a lot of companies, and Realtime seemed suitable for us.

That's pretty smart. Still a lot of companies now are trying to bring Korean MMOs into the U.S., and they're having varying degrees of success with that, because there's a new one launching every day pretty much. Is it still a 2008 target for APB?

SY: Yeah.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 21 Next

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