[Hangame eX 2011] Project R1 – Return of the King

The “King” I am referring to is actually Mr Hakkyu Kim, also known as the “founding father” of Ragnarok Online when he used to be under Gravity. Years after he founded IMC Games, created Granado Espada and even longer after he developed Ragnarok Online, he is back to his original roots. Project R1 will be “back to basics” for this man as he tackles cute-looking characters again and aim to focus on building bonds between players.

Q: You are back to the cute characters designs again with Project R1.

I was thinking that if I don’t do this, no one else will create a cute-style MMO again, hence the determination to develop this game. Throughout the process of developing Granado Espada, I was thinking about creating different types of games I have not done before. In the end, I am back to my roots, but with much more experience and aiming to add new depths to such a game (Project R1).

Q: You mentioned that Project R1 emphasize on the interaction and communication between players.

This is one of the main focus I had while developing the game. R1’s main aim is not to let players go through readily made content, but to improve interaction between players. For example, a player riding a horse cart can pick up other players along his way to another location. During this point of time, there is a high chance of them talking to each other and becoming friends. It can be said that the game will not force players to party, but provide them with chances of doing so.

Q: I heard there are many female developers in IMC Games.

It wasn’t deliberate! We do have quite a few female artists, hence some designs suit our female players. There are currently more female developers than male ones in IMC Games and there is even an exclusive meeting room for females only!

Q: Which target audience is Project R1 aimed at?

The game is targeted more towards the casual players. However, if they get too engrossed and addicted to the game, it wouldn’t be casual anymore.

Q: IMC Games was developing a martial arts MMO previously, which was sandwiched between Grando Espada and Project R1. What happened?

Although the members of the development team have the same style in mind on how to develop the game, there were too many too many different views on how martial arts should be like. What we developed for this title and all the concepts are currently stored in a 32GB thumb drive and locked away in the safe. The game will be re-visited when we feel that we have a team ready to continue doing so. We have various other ideas too, including a new title we are developing as well. However, it is still in the early stages of development.

Q: Does the letter “R” in Project R1 stands for Ragnarok?

We just wanted to simplify the codenames for our projects. We currently have L1 and L2, hence the enxt one was always going to be R1.

Q: If you want to develop an online game focusing on community, why not create a social game (Facebook etc)?

To be honest, I did looked into the realm of social gaming. A friend asked me one day which word in the acronym “MMORPG” is the most important to me. I thought of “Massive”. Even if social games have many players, it is still hard to feel the presence of all players within the same game. What I want is to create a “Massive” title where players can feel that they are playing in the same game.

Q: Since Ragnarok Online was introduced, the online gaming market has changed alot.

While I recognize the changes happening, we still have a fixed group of fans (I think he is referring to Ragnarok). WHile developing Project R1, I will be seeking feedback from people around me, getting interested responses from them in the process. However, the same cannot be said for the martial arts title which we canned.

Q: How did you feel when Ragnarok Online 2 was first announced?

Since I left Gravity, Ragnarok no longer belong to me. I will be happier to be known as the creator of Granado Espada now.

Q: It seems that you had no pressure developing Project R1.

I have been developing games for the past 19 years and there was a time when I relied heavily on investments and borrowed money to develop games. Now, Project R1’s funds are from what is earned from Granado Espada, hence I can develop the game without much pressure.

Q: Project R1 seems to be ready for the Japan market with its cutesy design.

I believe there are still players who are fans of my previous works in Japan.

Q: Hangame is preparing to buy over IMC Games, your company. What are your thoughts?

In a perfect world , I would wish that IMC Games purchase all the shares as well. But a significant amount of money is involved, hence in reality it is not easy at all. I have already contacted Hangame about my thoughts, but I have yet to hear a reply from them. I still hope there is a possibility of attaining all shares by IMC Games though.


  1. The main question about these new games is, how will be the gameplay? Classical and old point & click or the new non-targeting/action mmo?

  2. *_* I want it~ The graphics seem soo cute (IMO, all games aiming to be cute should be 2D).

    Love the social aspect of the game, dunno if it will work with the western community though… ¬¬U.

    *cofcof* and since there are more females in the dev team I hope they will make some fanservice target to woman*cofcof* Ehh… it sound promising.

    =) Thanks for this as always Cinderboy.

  3. I always liked games that let you interact with palyers more.. i mean thats the reason you play onrpg instead of rpgs right?

  4. i think the reason that RO has such a loyal fan base is because pre renual, you could lvl where you wanted to, farm what you want to, build your char the way you want to. if i want to lvl from 1-99 on porings i can, if i want to farm things and sell them i can. no other games let you do this anymore.
    also you can play solo or party without much trouble depending on the class you pick. that is what i want in a game now.

  5. Agreed with the previous poster.
    RO was more sandboxy than themepark, they gave you the tools, you were warped to one of the world's main cities, and you could do anything. No NPC to follow, no tutorial, no “? quests”. So you had to seek help from other players. Also the combat of RO required skill, knowledge and teamwork. RO was the last true MMO before WoW. Nowaday's MMOs are just fast-food for everyone and their moms, the facebook generation, that have no culture and just joined the bandwagon because it's what everyone else has done. Maybe I'm just an old, bitter gamer.

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