In 2013, MMORPG 'EOS' was released in South Korea. This game emphasized the fact that it is an easy MMORPG that anyone can enjoy easily. At that time, major game companies were launching various MMORPGs such as 'Tera', 'Blade&Soul' and 'Archeage'.
Among the triple-A MMOs in South Korea, 'EOS' emphasized the fun of clearing dungeons. And ‘EOS’ got a good response in South Korea. However, 'EOS' was discontinued at the end of 2015.
'EOS' was revived in 2016. 'mrblue', a webcomics publishing company in South Korea, purchased the rights to 'EOS' and signed a game publishing contract with 'kakaogames'. And Shin, Hyun-Geun, who used to work at Smilegate, Ntreev Soft, and Neowiz, has been the key person in this process. He has joined 'mrblue' to lead the game business division.
The game business division of 'mrblue' was spun off into a separate company called ‘Blue Potion Games’ last October. And Gamevu interviewed Shin, Hyun-keun who became the CEO of ‘Blue Potion Games’.
Q: 'mrblue' spun off the game business division into a separate company last October. Why?
'mrblue' had been in the game business for one year and six months after acquiring the EOS development team. And the team has started developing a new mobile game. However, a game division is quite different from a webcomics business division in terms of organization management. And the head office and the game division office were separated from each other.
Thus, Cho, Seung-jin, the CEO of 'mrblue' decided that it would be more appropriate to spin off the game division into a separate company in order to speed up the decision-making process. And 'mrblue' is a listed company on KOSDAQ, so it is not easy to invest in game business or motivate game developers in the future. 'mrblue' has many subsidiaries in South Korea and overseas. It is natural to separate companies from each other by role and region.
Q: How did you decide on the name of the company 'Blue Portion Games'?
It was my decision. I believe it's hard to survive in the game industry unless you have a specialty. Even NCSOFT did not succeed in the casual genre. At our scale level, I think the odds are low unless we concentrate on one genre. Since we have an MMORPG IP, I tried to make the company name that reflects our goal of developing this company as a company specializing in MMORPG development and operation. And I also wanted to make a name that is related to the name of the parent company.(mrblue)
Q: You formerly served as the head of the game division of other game companies. For the first time, you became the CEO of the game company.
That is right. It is the first time for me. My experience of working at a game development company is helping me a lot. I can quickly explain the business perspective, the user's emotions and needs to the developers. I think it is my advantage.
Q: When the game division was established, there were about 35 people. What is the current number of people?
There are 50 people. It is not a large number for the company that is operating MMORPG and developing a new mobile game. We did not greatly increase the number of people, because we have been developing the new game with the same IP.
Q: Is there any ongoing activity related to the 'EOS' IP?
Based on the PC MMORPG 'EOS', we are developing a new mid-core mobile game using ‘Unity engine’. We are also discussing a console version of 'EOS' with other company.
Q: What is the difference between the 'EOS’ Mobile version that is released in China and the original? And it was released in 2018, how did you get the game approval in China?
There is not much difference from the original, it is developed for China. Since we co-developed with Chinese game company, it was considered as China game and got approved. After the launch, the response was good, and in the early stage, it achieved more than our goal. But, mobile game competition in China is fierce, and now users are getting smaller. We are preparing the winter update.
Q: ‘mrblue' signed a contract for 'Legend of Mir 2' in 2016 and 'Point Blank' in 2017.
Both of them were about webcomics business. It is common to develop a game based on comics. But these are the opposite. Since 'Point Blank' is a popular game in Southeast Asia and ‘Legend of Mir 2' is a popular game in China, ‘mrblue' tried a webtoon business in there.
Q: When are you going to develop the game based on mrblue’s IP?
We are thinking about initial concept of the game. ‘Eos Mobile’ will be launched in 2019 in South Korea, and we will start developing the game based on mrblue’s IP in late 2019. I think that it should be about one year to think about and prepare for which IP to develop into a game. I guess it could be a martial arts game.
Q: ‘mrblue' acquired the game company 'nvius'. How was the general situation?
When we acquired 'nvius', 'EOS' was not in service in South Korea and ‘EOS’ was struggling in overseas. Two years after its acquisition, it is now organized by country. These days, there are not many game companies that operate PC MMORPG. There are many companies that send us proposals about 'EOS' service. Currently, ‘Aearia Games’ publishes ‘EOS’ in North America and Europe, 'Hoga' publishes ‘EOS’ in China. And it seems to be able to release good news in other areas sooner or later. Our goal is to increase the number of service nations by two in a year.
Q: Recently, New PC MMORPGs have been released in South Korea.
We are worried about the departure of users when the masterpiece comes out. But we are not in a position to take big pies in South Korean market. Still, it's positive that these new titles will bring users back to PC games. For example, when 'EOS' was first released in South Korea, the new expansion of ‘World of Warcraft’ came out. The situation was not good. But at that time, ‘EOS’ achieved about four times the goal. And since 'EOS' was developed with Unreal Engine 2.5, new high-end games are not a direct competitor.
Q: What is the future plan for ‘EOS’?
Because of the mobile version development, the community continues to worry about the PC version. We are going to continue to develop the PC version. Users do not have to worry. We are also hiring developers for PC version. We will continue to add content that users can enjoy in the future. In 2019, we will reinforce the contents about dungeon-clearing.
Q: What is the status of 'Eos Mobile'?
The development team was set up in September 2017. They re-created ‘EOS’ for mobile devices. It's not that the original work has been moved to mobile.
The core of the original ‘EOS’ was party play and dungeon-clearing. However, this is a mobile game. So we changed the core of the game to massive-PVP(siege) and guild. The content and system have changed from the original one as we changed the core of the game.
Q: What do you think is the strength of 'Eos Mobile'?
Looking at the global market, there are more possibilities for mobile games that run smoothly on many devices, rather than mobile games that display high-quality graphics. We are developing a game that runs smoothly on many devices. We use graphics resources of the original, but it is improved considerably. We are trying to show the fun of classical MMORPG, such as fun to get good items and fun of battle.
EOS mobile does not include all seven jobs from the original. Based on the release version, Archer, Mage, and Warrior are included.
Q: What is the specification of 'EOS Mobile'?
‘Galaxy S4’ is the minimum specification. It seems that only 'Lineage M' has used open field MMORPG in mobile. We want to show the pleasure of classical MMORPG where hundreds of people gather in town and communicate and deal.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say?
We were able to create a company called ‘Blue Potion Games’ with the ‘EOS’ IP, which was possible because of the users. The development of the original ‘EOS’ continues and the mobile version is newly created thanks to the support of the users. When 'Eos Mobile' is released, please try and enjoy the game.