It was back in late 2008 that news that Dungeon Fighter Online, Vindictus and Dragon Nest would be brought to America first broke. Dungeon Fighter was released in beta phase in July 2009, with official launch in June 2010. We’re nearly in the final quarter of 2010 and Vindictus has just entered beta phase and Dragon Nest is scheduled for a 2011 release. Seems like a long time between announcement and release, doesn’t it?
Well think about this: These games were originally announced nearly two years ago and are just being released now. Why haven’t the games being released after these been announced yet? I don’t know why they haven’t been announced but know that games are coming. At E3 2010 Min Kim, Vice President of Marketing at Nexon America, was asked what was next for Nexon America in terms of game publishing. He said that more games are currently in the early localization process but are not yet ready for announcement. But what games were he talking about?
I thought about what games that Nexon Korea currently publishes I would love to come to North America. I weighed the pros and cons of each game, thought about which could do well in the North American market and picked the games that I found the funnest. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Kart Rider
Kart Rider is an immensely popular online racing game developed and published by Nexon. Kart Rider has services for South Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and France. Kart Rider was officially launched in Korea on June 1, 2004 and has since become the world’s most popular online game with an unbelievable 230 million players worldwide. The game’s overwhelming success can be attributed to its Korean and Chinese services. Kart Rider is the national game of South Korea and is played by more than one third of the Korean population.
Kart Rider was launched into open beta phase in North America from October 2, 2007 to March 19, 2008 as the third game of Nexon America (after MapleStory and Audition). The game was not officially launched. It is still believed that Kart Rider will return to North America very soon.
2. Counter-Strike Online
Counter-Strike Online is an action based first person shooter developed by Nexon under license from Valve Corporation, the company behind the popular Counter-Strike series. Counter-Strike Online is free-to-play and is targeted towards Asian game markets, but with a bit of localization, I’m sure it can do well over here in the West. With services in South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and South East Asia, Counter-Strike Online is among the popular online shooters in Asia. Pioneering the now widespread “zombie” game mode, Counter-Strike Online is also one of the most innovative shooters in the world.
Although tailored for an Asian market the gameplay is impressive and I am sure that through a bit (or a lot) of localization, Nexon can successfully port Counter-Strike Online to America. Unfortunately, getting license from Nexon to publish Counter-Strike Online in North America will be close to impossible since the rest of the Counter-Strike series is still booming here and releasing a free version of the game might stop possible players from purchasing the rest of the games in the series. But still, we have a tiny bit of hope as Min Kim, Nexon America’s Vice President of Marketing, recently said that Nexon America is interested in bringing Counter-Strike Online to an American audience.
Everplanet is a casual cartoonish super fun MMO developed by NCLIPSE and published by Nexon. It is very MapleStory-like with characters, skills, enemies and even a storyline similar to MapleStory’s, but in a 3D with an innovative camera system. Everplanet is the first game to use to “globe” camera system in which your character seems to be located on a planet and as you walk, the camera moves forward giving the effect of you walking around a spherical planet rather than a flat world as in other games. In other games when you walk along, distanced objects just seem to come into view from out of no where. In Everplanet distanced objects arise from below the horizon giving the world its spherical appearance. The graphics aren’t good for the usual gamer, but if you like MapleStory graphics you’ll probably like Everplanet graphics. The graphics in Everplanet are amusing and refreshing and put a smile on my face. With countless skills, adventures and quests, Everplanet is sure to be fresh with content every time you jump on to play.
I can see Nexon America taking Everplanet over here any time. There’s nothing stopping them that I know of. Everplanet will be a sure success for the more casual gamers and may even attract some MapleStory players who want a change.
4. Kavatina Story
Kavatina Story is a 3D side-scrolling online game developed by Wizet and published by Nexon. Like Everplanet, the characters, skills and enemies are quite like MapleStory and many people even call this “MapleStory 3D”. As said before, it is not a true 3D camera system. It is side-scrolling and so the camera is bound to a set “left to right” path. It is 3D, however, because free movement is allowed from the front to the back of the set path. This camera system is nearly identical to the one used in Dungeon Fighter Online, Dragonica and Punch Monster. Gameplay is very, very similar to Dragonica, based on the flashiest skills and eye catching, fast paced combos.
As amazing as I thought the game was when I played, Kavatina Story has been temporarily put offline in Korea, its only service. It has been stated, however, that this was not due to a low playerbase, but due to the fact that large updates and advancements to the game were not possible so the game was brought down for intense content development. I hope that it is returned to Korea soon and brought to America.
Elsworld is an action 2D side-scrolling online game developed by KOG, the same developers that developed the hit Grand Chase. The game is actually very similar to Grand Chase. Ever played Fists of Fu from Outspark? You’ve basically played Elsworld, just worse. Fists of Fu is a fun, but less fun copy of Elsworld. In Elsworld, you combat monsters in an instanced dungeon through missions and perform skillful and flash combos just like in Dragonica and Grand Chase. The camera system is similar to the one used in Dragonica, Dungeon Fighter Online and Kavatina Story, except its 2D so you can’t move back or front, just left or right along a set path. Fast paced action makes combat in Elsworld very fun.
I’m actually surprised that Elsworld hasn’t already been brought over to the West. I don’t expect Nexon to publish Elsworld over here, but anything is possible and I’d like to see it in Nexon America’s hands. Fast paced action is what I desire and Elsworld sure delivers on that.