Korean developer Webzen says they have their sights set on bringing console MMORPG's to the U.S. console market. Webzen is the company currently developing the highly anticipated MMOFPS Huxley and APB, a free form combat and driving based MMORPG which has been described as a Grand Theft Auto style MMORPG.
When it comes to the Korean MMORPG, most of us think of the zerg of Asian crossovers which usually amount to nothing more than uninteresting grind fests. Crossovers are the games where developers take successful Asian MMO's and port them to U.S. hardware and translate them (usually poorly) into English. The majority of Asian crossovers have made little, if any impact on the U.S. market.
The other form of Asian MMORPG is the Asian MMORPG in disguise, known as NCSoft. NCSoft is responsible the highly successful Guild Wars MMORPG and the Grandfather of Asian MMORPG's, Lineage and Lineage II. While NC Soft has been the most successful Korean crossover publisher with titles like Guild Wars, Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes, Webzen has yet to make any substantial headway into the American market. While NCSoft focuses on PC based MMORPG's, Webzen has focused on Console based MMORPG's.
According to Cindy Armstrong, Webzen's U.S. CEO, things are about to change as Webzen hopes to lead the way into the Console MMORPG market.
"NC Soft is a great company," Armstrong explained. "In the United States, they have done a great job of bringing new and innovated MMOGs to market , and the U.S. market is not an easy one to penetrate," she continued. "However, we also have a clear strategy for bringing MMOGs to consoles. As far as we know, not many other online games publishers have games in development for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. We think this gives us a real advantage over our competitors."
The company also runs one of Korea's more popular PC MMORPG's, MU Online, a highly involved fantasy RPG based on the legendary Continent of MU and Soul of the Ultimate Nation, in Asian markets.
When you take a look at Webzen's portfolio of console MMORPG's in development and compare it to what U.S. publishers are working on, it looks like Webzen could beat projects like Champions Online to market. Only time will tell if their zerg of Korean style MMORPG's can reign supreme over homegrown titles.