GameMeca , die koreanische Seite, die uns schon des öfteren mit neuen News und Screenshots versorgt hat, hat mal wieder etwas Neues für uns:
Ein Interview mit dem Koreaner Kim Jin Hyung - seines Zeichens Concept Designer bei den Flagship Studios - geführt und ihn über seine Arbeit und sein Leben in Amerika befragt. Die netten Leutchen von HellgateGuru haben dieses Interview übersetzt und für uns alle zur Verfügung gestellt.
Kurz gesagt, Hyung ist unter anderem verantwortlich für das Design der Charaktere, der Items, der Waffen und der Stadt bzw. der Umgebung.
Zusätzlich gibt er Informationen darüber, dass derzeit ein Expansionpack zu Hellgate: London im Gespräch ist. So wäre ein Setting in Asien nicht ausgeschlossen. Allerdings muss diese Erweiterung nicht unbedingt nur in einer einzigen Stadt stattfinden, sondern es könnten mehrere Städte vertreten sein.
Hier nun das komplette Interview für euch zum Lesen:
Interview- Flagship Studios Korean Developer Kim Jin Hyung
-My Role Is To Destroy the City of London
Although ‘Hellgate:London’ concept designer Kim Jin Hyung is now currently responsible for the graphics in ‘Hellgate’, it was only a few years ago when he lived a more ordinary life in Korea. Anxious to work in the graphics field, Hyung risked opposition from his family and was determined to study abroad in the U.S. in 2002. As he was studying image advertising and animation in Los Angeles, Hyung’s works of art received much praise, and allowed him to move into the position where he is now.
GameMeca: As concept designer of ‘Hellgate’, what do you exactly do? Hyung: To put it simply, I work on designing the characters, the city, and other things of the game. For example, first think of the city of London as destroyed. Eric asked me to give the destroyed London a demonic atmosphere. So then I will have to work out a way to change London and give it that ‘Hellgate’ look. I also participate in designing the items and weapons.
-Expansion Pack, Asia Also a Consideration GameMeca: ‘Hellgate’ has reached the finishing stages of development. Are there any new projects while the completion of ‘Hellgate’ is in progress? Hyung: Right now there is some lively discussion about an expansion pack for ‘Hellgate’. I cannot exactly give any details on the setting for the expansion pack. But what I can say is that an Asia setting is in consideration, and that the setting can take place in not just one city, but in multiple cities.
GameMeca: CEO Bill Roper always mentions that the Korean users are very special to him. How does this connect with the development of ‘Hellgate’? Hyung: What Bill says is exactly that. Throughout the entire development, Bill took special consideration for the Korean users. If I were to relate a plan for the game when I first entered the company, it would be to match the taste of the Korean users in such a way that anything planned would first have to get the OK from me. Bill would even occasionally ask me about things from Korea. He asks questions ranging from currently popular Korean games to game companies like Webzen. This truly describes the kind of person Bill is (laughs).
GameMeca: There are many developers of the ‘Diablo’ series in Flagship Studios. How is their work style like? Hyung: Everyone here is extremely talented in their field. Bill is especially someone who is much, much more than just a very nice person. That is why all the fellow workers believe and follow him. He is also very well received in the business department.
Brevik has a strong sense of responsibility. He has many unique ideas, and when others think it’s impossible to implement them in the game because of time or it’s too difficult to actually program that, Brevik does not give up and continuously pushes for it to be in the game. And in the end, it becomes implemented. He also really loves games (laughs).
Eric is in charge as the main director, and there is no one in Flagship that does not like him (really!). He is very quick with decisions, and whenever something comes up he makes a decision right on the spot. And since everyone here very well knows his abilities, they believe and follow every decision he makes. And if the team had a different opinion at a certain aspect of the game, Eric asks, “I think if we did something like this, it would be better. What do you think?” rather than “No that’s not it, do it this way.” Basically, even though he is the main director, he respects the opinions of the other team members.
-Endlessly Working to Create a Masterpiece GameMeca: The members of Flagship previously developed the ‘Diablo’ masterpiece. What do you think is their hidden talent? Hyung: It is the endless pursuit to continuously make a better game, never being satisfied with the current product. We normally create a “Play Day” once a week, and all the development staff would play ‘Hellgate’ and ‘Mythos’. As we play the games, we find small bugs, annoyances, and even new ideas. We gather these thoughts and implement them into the game. We also throw out the parts we don’t like. I believe that this continuous and impelling drive gives birth to a greater and more complete game.
GameMeca: How is the working atmosphere in Flagship? Hyung: It is very flexible and unrestrained. And I am not exaggerating either (laughs). To be able to freely express your original ideas is a great feeling. Every now and then I meet my friends who work at other places, and whenever I hear their stories about their jobs, I realize that only Flagship can have this kind of unique freedom.
We also open up parties once in a while. Usually in a busy week we call it the “Crunch Week”, and sometimes they can last 2 to 3 weeks. In cases like this, an effort is made to give some resting time for about a week. We receive tickets to watch a movie or a baseball game, eat a delicious meal at a high-class restaurant, and there are times where we call in workers and have a party.
GameMeca: Were there any particular reasons for entering Flagship? Hyung: After I graduated from school in L.A., I interviewed with different companies. During this time I received the materials regarding ‘Hellgate’, and I immediately thought to myself, “This is it!” I also went inside many different companies, and I never saw an atmosphere as stylish as Flagship. The interior of the studio is decorated with red bricks and trees, and I really enjoy being here. I once was in the progress of consulting with Blizzard after interviewing with them, but because of the reasons above, I made my decision to go to Flagship.
GameMeca: Out of all the ‘Hellgate’ concept artwork you designed, what would you consider being the hardest? Hyung: Designing the town portals would be the hardest. At first, many designers created their own concepts of the town portals, and all of them did not like the designs. I had over 10 designs rejected (laughs). In the end however, I got the ‘OK’.
If you look at it at a certain way, it is possible that town portal designs do not really influence the gamers. However, the most frequent thing they see is, in fact, town portals. It is impossible to think of town portal design as unimportant.
GameMeca: It must not be easy living alone in America. Hyung: It’s not too bad. But there are two things that were quite difficult. One is the social life as a foreign student, and the other is the food. In the case where an American citizen and a foreign student compete over the same job, the American citizen will win no matter what. And due to the complications of the work visa system in America, there are many times when companies feel reluctant to hire a foreign student. However, because Flagship really enjoyed my artwork and I was drawn to Flagship myself, I believe this problem was easily solved.
I love Korean foods like ‘dduk bok ki’ (spicy rice cake sautéed with vegetables), ‘soon dae’ (sausage made of beef and bean curd stuffed in pig intestine), and ‘oh deng’ (fishcake soup), but it is hard to find them around my office area in San Francisco, and even if there were, it would not be so satisfying. There were many Korean people when I was in L.A., so eating Korean food there didn’t feel as isolated. I visited Korea recently, and I’m pretty sure that I had the most ‘oh deng’ out of my entire life during that visit (laughs).
GameMeca: What do you do in your spare time? Hyung: I enjoy watching Japanese animation. I particularly favor Satoshi Kon’s directed works, such as ‘Millennium Actress’, ‘Paprika’, and ‘Paranoia Agent’. All of his works are very unique and carry a distinctive personality with them. I also like Pixar’s animations. In fact, I applied for Pixar as well, but failed (laughs).
GameMeca: There are many Korean game developers aiming to advance their way into the U.S. If you could offer any advice for them.. Hyung: The very first thing you must do to work in the U.S. is to focus heavily on the visa. Receiving a work visa in the U.S. is complicated and takes a long time. Usually you apply for a work visa in April, and will be issued one in October 1st. That’s 6 months of waiting. The important part is, because you can only apply in April, if you miss that opportunity, you are going to wait for a year until the next chance arrives.
Also, it is hard to find employment dealing with 2D graphics these days. However, there is a great shortage and need of 3D designers. In fact, many Korean foreign students are advancing in the 3D department and have received great success.