BluePotion Games is an example of a significant achievement among small and medium-sized game companies. Blue Potion Games released the mobile game 'Eos Red' in South Korea in 2019. The game was a success, ranking 2nd in sales on Google Play in South Korea. And it was also successful in other Asian regions, generating about 100 billion KRW.
CEO Shin Hyun-geun, who was leading the company at the time, also played a big role in the success of 'Eos Red'. As the CEO, he also worked as a game producer and communicated directly with users. Thanks to this, users' evaluation of BluePotion Games was very good.
However, the key personnel of the 'Eos Red' development team, including CEO Shin Hyun-geun, left BluePotion Games and established a new developer company in September 2021. The company name is REDLAB Games, So, I met Hyun-geun Shin, CEO of REDLAB Games in person, and heard about the games they are currently developing and the goals of CEO Shin Hyun-geun.
Q: It has been about a year since you established the company. How have you been?
Developing an MMORPG is close to a comprehensive art. Development costs are also high. Fortunately, thanks to the performance and teamwork our organization has shown in the past, we were able to receive the investment at the same time as the company was founded. So, the development funds that can go up to the prototype were secured.
Since then, game development is progressing smoothly as Kakao Games has invested. A new base camp was set up to secure new developers, and on August 1st, we moved to a new office. We are currently developing the game in earnest.
Q: Why did you leave BluePotion Games and start a new company?
One day, I thought, ‘Can developers be fully compensated? So, I devised a structure to realize this idea.
I wanted to create a structure in which company employees share their performance by holding shares, and the growth of the company is closely linked to personal growth. And I thought about continuing the brand of trust in the murky MMORPG market. Here, due to external factors such as stock prices and capital, I decided to start a business with the dream of creating a structure that can minimize the possibility that the relationship between developers and users will deteriorate.
Q: Color Names are always included in the company name. Is this intended?
No. BluePotion Games had a parent company. So, I named it directly to reveal the identity of an MMORPG developer by connecting only the color concept of the parent company.
The game we developed was 'Eos Red', and the MMORPG we are developing now is basically a hardcore game. This game is recommended for users over the age of 18 to enjoy. In fact, 'Eos Red' was rated for teenagers, but I thought it was undesirable for teenagers to enjoy it, so I applied for an adult rating again. We have a clear direction of ‘developing a hardcore K-RPG’. In addition, the name of the company was decided as REDLAB Games with the meaning of ‘RPG Lab for Adults’.
Q: In the past, there was a parent company, but the current company does not. Has anything changed in terms of management?
There are both advantages and disadvantages. The former company was funded by the parent company and could not make independent decisions. On the other hand, independent management is possible in REDLAB Games. So we can keep our own principles when developing games.
Instead, you have to take the risk when the game doesn't go well. However, these risks are similar with or without a parent company. So, the development team is working responsibly. I think it's a good environment for game development because it's a structure where the game's achievements are shared with the developers.
Q: REDLAB Games is promoting the phrase ‘World Wide K-RPG’. What does it mean?
We have succeeded in South Korea and Taiwan. And Wemade's 'Mir4' was a worldwide success with a new concept called P2E. However, if you look closely at the success of 'Mir 4', it was successful in Southeast Asia or South America.
In K-RPG, people meet and compete, engage in economic activities, and disputes arise. These are things that people dream of in reality but cannot experience. In other words, I think that K-RPG is a game that is close to human desire.
So, I thought that if we can embody the fun of competition, economy, and fighting, we can succeed not only in South Korea but also around the world. I think that many users in North America and Europe might enjoy K-RPG. So, we set this as our final goal, and created a slogan.
Q: You also attracted investment from Kakaogames. Is there a possibility that the two companies will sign a publishing contract?
Kakaogames was the publisher of 'Eos Red'. And seeing the challenges and successes that Kakaogames has been showing recently in the game market, I have always had the thought of wanting to work with them.
Then, as we proceeded with the Series B investment, we first discussed with Kakaogames, and the investment was decided. Compared to the investment Kakaogames has made in the past, it is not that large. I see it as an investment made with the beginning of a promise to paint a big picture for the future. The next steps will be discussed in stages.
However, it is not an investment that is premised on a publishing contract between the two companies. We are considering the self operationm, but considering the recent business performance of Kakaogames, we are likely to review the publishing contract as well.
I also thought that we should think about it together when we go to the global market. In this regard, after reviewing the blockchain platform, we thought that the Bora platform would fit well with the direction our game was pursuing, so we signed an onboarding contract.
Q: Hiring good developers is also important. What does Red Lab Games promote for this purpose?
Hiring good developers is easier than it was in 2021. REDLAB Games is giving its employees the same level of benefits as a successful mid-sized company. In addition, we are paying stock options in a much better quantity and condition compared to other companies. This is part of the 'Red-Up Program' that is being implemented with the goal of growing together with the company and its employees. Usually, stock options are given after one to three years of service, but REDLAB Games gives all employees through a general meeting of shareholders.
Q: How many employees do you currently have?
Currently, the number of employees is over 30. We plan to hire another 20-30 people in the future. We are currently hiring developers from all fields.
Q: Can you tell us about the game you are currently developing?
It is a mobile MMORPG that inherits the grammar of K-RPG. Currently, the development progress is about 40%.
In addition, a sophisticated free economy system is being built to preserve the value of items owned by users. In the previous work, there was a structurally unresolved problem, so the same problem was repeated and apologies were repeated. I am designing a system that creates a structure for solving that problem.
The graphic quality also needs to be upgraded to the latest level, so we are working on it. The service platforms are mobile and PC. This has two meanings, one is to respond to macros, and the other is to prepare for global service.
Other than that, content is being developed on the principle of adding one or two interesting things rather than increasing the number and type of content.
Q: Will it be developed based on famous works like the previous work?
No. It is a original work. The world has been built enough to just choose a name for the game. The work of composing the world and telling the story is what I like the most and care about the most. I like to write, so I'm working with a professional screenwriter. I am also a PD on this project, and I am organizing these parts myself.
Q: What are the key elements of this game?
In the previous work, there was a part that was disappointing because it couldn't show a more certain image as an authentic hardcore MMORPG. Therefore, we are concentrating on creating a tense environment by increasing the freedom of battle.
The motivation for competition is profit. And as a result, the user's assets should increase. However, the biggest problem with existing games is that as time goes by, users' goods accumulate and inflation occurs. Later on, you lose more resources to inflation than you gain something.
So, we are concentrating on creating an environment where the value of the assets obtained from it is stable by creating a competitive environment. This is something that domestic users desperately wanted, and even if a P2E structure is created in the global market, whether the inflation rate can be controlled is the key.
To do this, I made it so that I can always see the estimated value of my current assets in my inventory. Users will react sensitively to changes in value, and we need to respond promptly.
Q: How good is the graphic quality?
The polygons and resolution have been increased more than four times compared to the previous work, and attention is paid to directing and special effects. It will be quite impressive even in FHD resolution due to the accumulation of experience. Also, the resolution has been increased. Accordingly, the user interface has been refined.
Q: There is still very little information about the game that has been released. Can you tell us about the story and game elements in advance
The world map has been created. It is set in a Western fantasy and contains the battles taking place on five continents with the survivors of a sunken continent. Starting with the continental Atlas that has sunk into the sea, content to dominate the land is being composed based on the northern desert, eastern wetland, western cold, southern grassland, and castle in the center of the world. By the way, the conference rooms in the new office are also named after all continents.
And our focus is on trading and the economy. Therefore, it is not a style that expands the profession. In order to preserve the value of the item, the job is to be minimized and the rate of expansion is also very conservative. All planned design and update directions are geared towards preserving the value of the item. Jobs are basically ranged strikers, melee strikers, wizards, and so on.
Q: How is the business model being prepared?
Our team was able to become independent thanks to the success of the previous work, and I think the core of it was a business model that was kind and convincing. The important word at the time was ‘keep promises’, but users did not believe it at first. We think that it is enough to set it to a level that users can fully understand.
In the end, I believe that such promises should be the environment, not just words. A game that has hundreds of developers, costs tens of billions of dollars to develop, and spends a lot of money on marketing, inevitably comes with a high-strength business model because the company must survive.
On the other hand, we promise to provide a business model that is convincing to users only when an environment and structure like ours is created, such as FHD-level graphics, a development team of 50 to 60 people, a reasonable development period of 2 years, and freedom from excessive performance pressure caused by external factors. environment that can protect It was founded to keep this promise in the first place. The business model will be structured according to the principle of preserving the value of user assets.
Q: What were the difficulties during development?
It seems to be developing smoothly so far. A challenge for many startup developers is that the game development and direction people spend their time running around looking for money. Meanwhile, the game loses direction. However, if you focus only on the game, you will not be able to solve the money. Fortunately, REDLAB Games has created an environment where they can focus on development without much difficulty. I am satisfied with the current development speed.
As a result, I have time to study economics, conflict, the philosophical basis of the birth of a nation, surplus value, and the political economy mechanism that develops from the birth of the ruling class to conflict and struggle for interests. It's because I want to make a game with a philosophy.
Q: How will you implement blockchain technology in this game?
We are not going to make anything special for the P2E version. The essence of an MMORPG is the same as that of a P2E game. The difference is where the user trades. If the Korean version is maintained well, there is no problem because there is only a system for exchanging certain resources with virtual currency and adding a system to exchange them for coins. If the essence of an MMORPG, such as in-game competition and asset trading, is well implemented in the game, the global version will also work well. If this problem is not solved in the Korean version, the global version will succeed for a while, but will fail due to inflation.
Q: When will the game be released?
Our goal is to test it in Q2 of 2023 and release it in Q3.
Q: Are you thinking about your next project?
As for the next game to be developed, I am thinking about an MMORPG that has a much more solid storyline and can fully show graphics and direction. I want to develop an MMORPG that harmonizes story and direction like ‘World of Warcraft’.
Q: Lastly, what would you say to users waiting for the game?
Sometimes there are people waiting for our game. I had a PD briefing at my previous company for two years, but I couldn't say goodbye to the users and came out. Because, It could cause damage to the former company. But there are users who are waiting. It's late, but I sincerely thank everyone who supported me. In the new work, I think of it as a connected task of continuing the promises made in the previous work and fulfilling the promises that have not been kept. I'll see you with a much better work, advanced system and content.
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