Smilegate Group CEO Herald Kwon speaks during a press conference in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday. Kwon vowed to invest in the online game title to revitalize the online game industry in Korea. / Courtesy of Smilegate
Smilegate, a local online game company, unveiled its new title "Lost Ark" on Thursday.
The company's chairman pledged to concentrate investment in the new title to revitalize the stagnated local online game market.
"For now, we plan to fully devote our energy to Lost Ark. No other title will be announced for a while," Smilegate Group Founder and CEO Herald Kwon said during a press conference at a venue in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday. "The local PC online game market has been depressed. We anticipate that Lost Ark will restore the popularity in this segment."
Lost Ark, a 3D massively-multiplayer online role-playing game, was developed by a local game developer Tripod Studio. It has an action-centric game style and adopts a non-targeting combat system and a dynamic quarter-view angle to maximize the game experience, said the developer.
Ji Won-gil, who heads both Tripod Studio and the Smilegate Group's affiliate Smilegate RPG, said more than 150 employees have worked during the last three years for the title and it plans to launch a closed-beta test next year. He did not disclose how much was invested in the development.
Established in 2002 as a small game startup here, Smilegate posted a huge hit in the Chinese market with its shooting game "Crossfire" in cooperation with the Chinese IT giant Tencent. The success made it a major game enterprise with 376 billion won sales in 2013. Lost Ark is the second major for Smilegate that it anticipates will inherit the success of Crossfire.
Ji said the game is designed to target both domestic and overseas markets.
"We tried to depict a background which has both colors of western and eastern cultures to aim at the global market," he said. "We will think over how to localize detailed parts of the game to attract foreign users."