"Kim Ka-Yeon, a Planning Director in the Gaming Industry"
Kim Ka-Yeon, planning director of ALT1 participated in the development of the game "WAREN-Story"
Actress Kim Ka-Yeon is already a famous figure in the games industry. Four years ago, she began her relationship with the industry with TwelveSky (십이지천) and she is now fiancée of pro-gamer Lim Yohwan (BoxeR), a planning director of ALT1 and the madam of pro-gaming team SlayerS. At this rate, one would be forgiven for mistaking this as her original profession.
Her schedule is that busy, too. Director Kim's phone never stopped ringing during the interview in which she was to promote the game WAREN-Story (워렌전기). From live events to looking after BoxeR, to acting as the chairman of SlayerS Clan, to planning and promoting for WAREN-Story... her workload is mountainous.
What makes her this attached to gaming?
■ “I am happy because of people whom I never would have met if it were not for gaming"
How have you been recently?
Busy. From ALT1 to Starcraft 2 life has become entirely about games. If I was surrounded by entertainment industry insiders before, my surroundings are now full of gaming industry insiders. Especially people involved in eSports.
If you're asking about my online life... it's the same as always. There are a lot of people frustrated because they can't kill me (laughs)
You've become a person of the games industry.
I feel good. I've liked meeting new people, too. If I had continued being an actress, these are people I would never have been able to meet, so to meet them like this is as fascinating as it is fun.
How did you set for in the games industry?
I've said this several times before in previous interviews, but I've like 'Lineage' for a long time. But while playing it, there were parts that bored me and that's when i found 'TwelveSky'. I watched a gentleman enjoying that game in a PC Bang* and I wanted to play it.
While playing this game, I realised that it was fun but it wasn't popular at all. There were too few users and there weren't that many PC Bangs with the game installed. I thought that this was a shame so one day, I personally went to meet ALT1 (formerly Gigas Soft). When I met them, I just asked them to leave promotions to me.
What was the response like?
At first they were reluctant. Money was also a problem. I got the position by telling them that I would promote for them for two years without any payment.
Did you really do it for free?
Yup. For real. Of course, I'm now an employee and get paid a wage (laughs)
■ "I really am a director at ALT1"
Your role isn't Promotions Director but Planning Director?
I'm actually computer-illiterate, but i can speak well. I have a good imagination, too. I tend to have a lot of ideas regarding gaming, too. With WAREN-Story, I began participating as a Planning Director for real. Of course, I will be participating in the development of ALT1 games.
I don't believe you.
I'm being serious. A representative example is the 마병기 (a robot steed that fights with the user) which was my own idea. TwelveSky featured mythical creatures that accompanied the user, TwelveSky had mythical creatures you could ride so I began with the train of thought of making them more like weapons by featuring the ability to fight while riding them in WAREN-Story.
Actually, this hasn't been implemented yet but I have proposed a dropship-like aerial craft. It would give guild-members a ride together to specific areas or bring in reinforcements into a battle area. There are many other ideas aside from this, but I'm the type that talks non-stop if I get started.. (laughs)
Dropships must have come as an idea because of BoxeR, right?
Of course. Don't you think it will be fun? We split dropships into different varieties. From the basic dropship to adding stealth capability, rocket attachments, as customised by the player. Seriously, if this not WAREN-Story, I'm going to make sure to add this to the next game.
This is the first time that you have participated in game development. How does it feel to see the game for yourself?
I actually try out every single online as they come out. To know the competitors' games is to know how to make a game to beat theirs. Speaking of which, ever since TwelveSky, ALT1 games have had that realistic feel. Slashing with a blade feels like actually slicing with a blade and shooting a bow feels like actually shooting a bow. It feels like your actual hand is doing the actions. With the target audience being more mature, the intuitive interface makes it easy for the gamers to become comfortable with the gameplay, and I like this.
Online war games are fun but during the first closed beta test, everyone was of a low level and so the disorganized skirmishes were disappointing. But still, what comes next will be a bloody fight so I'm looking forward to that.
Knowing that you like Lineage, you seem to really like war.
I like the strategy and the art of war. I've always been interested since reading the 'Three Kingdoms' when I was young. At the time, there were no microphones and communications across distances must have been difficult so how did they manage to command millions of soldiers with just the sound of a drum?
Is that the reason you are stressing the war element in WAREN-Story?
Yes. I liked the war between nations in TwelveSky but the problem was that once the balance of power shifts, it's difficult to reverse it. With that in mind, war between guilds had to be the best option. To be able to gather people is a skill and so to include this means that the game couldn't be any fairer.
■ "I want to create a game with living story"
You're infamous for making a lot of enemies in every game you play.
It's because BoxeR and I are both the type to find things that other people usually don't do. We also like doing bad things...
There's a funny story from TwelveSky where if one strikes the sacred stone of an opposing nation on the battlefield, the players of that nation receive a warning message. By using this feature, I struck the sacred stone and fled as soon as enemy forces arrived before repeating this every ten minutes for over ten hours.
In the end, nobody would come to defend so I just took my time and destroyed the sacred stone by myself and fled. I used a transformation bug to go to war while flying. Anyway, there were a lot of tricks and bugs that nobody else knew about.
Are you allowed to say this as a planning director?
Doesn't everyone abuse bugs and features like this? Obviously it will be patched later but to have the initiative to have fun like this keeps the game from being boring and makes stories within the game. Incidents pile up to become history.
Once, around midnight on December 31st, when everyone else was busy celebrating the new year, I gathered all of my guild members to infiltrate and massacre a neighbouring nation's village. Then one of the victims of the attack took the incident to heart and wrote a novel on the message boards about it. Something about the screams echoing through his village or whatever~ I was greatly moved by it.
And so will you be playing WAREN-Story in the same way?
Yes. I should to secretly gathering people that I know and live life doing strange or bad things. (laughs) Even if you feel bad fighting in-game, after some time passes, it's all a memory to be looked back fondly on. When I played TwelveSky, there was a player called "AGSINCE" that I used to fight a lot with but later they disappeared and I really missed them. Don't ever be tied down by the mould: find a new way to do things and play with a light heart.
If you could summarise ALT1 into one sentence?
It's actually impossible as a developer to satisfy 100% of users. Personally, I believe that a game is a service of which 40% is created by the developer and 60% is fulfilled by the player.
From the suggestions of the players,we have patches that change the game piece by piece and events that did not exist are made. That's why I want to give voice to players' opinions in the development process. I think ALT1 is a company that actually listens to its players incredibly well. I hope that people give comments like "I want this, I want that" as opposed to "this sucks".
A final word from you as a gamer, please?
Some people comment on me as a middle-aged woman who has nothing else to do but play games. But like everyone else who plays for fun, I do that too and play hard for that reason. I wish they would drop any bias. If they feel that that's unfair, they can challenge me online any time (laugh).
And my schedule with GOMTV until October has been finalised and I don't have a single day to rest. People keep asking when the wedding will be but there's not even time for that. Please write this in your article:"Chae Jungwon, team leader of GOMTV, why are you being like this to me?"
You seem very satisfied with life right now.
It's not bad. Actually, it's fun. An actor lives various lives through a script but I live various lives through characters in games. For the past ten years, I've been meeting a friend I met during Lineage almost every day. In a way they're closer than family. Meeting good people through games. Isn't that happiness?
*PC Bang is a PC/Internet Café that is designed for online and LAN gaming common in Korea.
**Original text of interview has been supplemented with words/explanation from Kim Ka-Yeon via e-mail.
Original article: thisisgame
Translation: oniontaker @ kpopbros