At this year’s Gamescom, I managed to see an upcoming online third person shooter where the objective of the game was for two warring factions to fight it out over a resource called Optimite. Developed by South Korean company Maiet Entertainment, Gunz 2 has been in development since 2010, and only recently found its way onto Steam’s Greenlight. Although the first Gunz came out ten years ago, the developer has really laboured hard to make a sequel, and with its fast action gameplay greatly improving upon the core fundamentals of the original game, many believe that Gunz 2 could be one of the last great free to play titles being released from South Korea as the country increases its attention towards the mobile gaming space.
I was able to speak with Christian Schonlein (Product Manager) of ProSiebenSat.1 Games, who told me a little bit about the game, and as to why ProSiebenSat.1 had decided to publish Gunz 2 as a free to play title.
Who is the developer of Gunz 2?
Maiet Entertainment. They are a South Korean development studio based in Seoul.
How many games have Maiet developed so far prior to Gunz 2?
Aside from Gunz 2 and Gunz 1, Maiet have developed Raiderz as well as Ace Saga.
Gunz 2 has a single player aspect. But which takes precedence, the single player or the multi-player aspect?
The multi-player PVP aspect is definitely the main aspect of the game. Gunz 2 is not geared towards games like Gears of War, which is PVE game that you play co-operatively. In Gunz 2, we set out to have a really competitive game, to the extent that we are talking with ESL as we are looking into making it an e-sport.
How much work went into the single player campaign?
In terms of development focus, most of the attention went towards the PVP aspect and ensuring that the characters were balanced within the game.
How does the South Korean MMO audience compare against UK and US audiences?
It’s really hard to compare, just due to the relative size of the countries, and also because gaming audiences are shifting right now. Korea was the number one country when it came to online gaming, but now a lot of companies are shifting their attention towards mobile gaming. As a consequence, online gaming is becoming more popular in Western areas, and less popular in Eastern areas. So there is a shift there. But right now, online gaming is bigger in the USA, but things are picking up in the UK as well.
We’re actually doing a lot of work for the UK. Our English voice recording was also done in the UK with UK studios. So the UK is actually picking up from an MMO aspect.
Why do you think so many games that come from Korea aren’t localised for Western audiences?
Back in the day, we had the situation where RPG games from Japan would never get released in Europe. Now we have a situation where so many games do get released, and I really just think it’s a cultural thing that Asia is one or two steps ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to gaming trends. Which is probably why (in the near future) mobile gaming might pick up in Western areas as well.
Even though the game is free to play, did you think about charging monthly subscription fees?
It’s mostly subjective. It wouldn’t have made sense. People who subscribe to games need to have some sort of incentive, and people who pay a monthly fee need to feel that they have more to gain as a result. Since we don’t want a game model where people pay to win, we want players to feel that they are part of an open and fair environment. I also personally don’t want to subscribe for many months, and Gunz 2 is designed for pick up and pay, quick 15 minute battles. You don’t need monthly subscriptions for months for that.
Can people buy their way into the game?
If you have the cash, you can buy all the items in the game. But it doesn’t mean that someone who has cash will have more than someone who won’t. People who pay will just be able to get items quicker. People who play the game will receive in-game currency, and they can buy the exact same items that the person who had real money bought. The people who don’t have real money, and who do receive in-game currency from playing the game, will have to wait two weeks or so before being able to afford an item.