MMORPG: First, start by telling us why the publishing change? Why now, what are the goals you have for the game under Redbana’s tutelage?
Jun Hyun Kim: Basically the license for the publishing rights expired from another 3rd party publisher at the end of December 2012. We felt this was a good time to acquire the rights and use Granado Espada as our flagship title. The game actually has a strong following so there will be plenty of players when they migrate their accounts over from Sword 2.
Our goal for the game is simple: Consistent monthly updates!. We have a strong relationship with the development studio, IMC Games, and have agreed to be aggressive with producing more content than ever before. It's an ambitious goal but we are ready to pull out all the stops for the current players and to attract new ones as well. This truly is a re-birthing period for Granado Espada.
MMORPG: Sword of the New World, and then Sword 2, sure have had an up and down road across the MMO industry. What makes Redbana think they can succeed where others might have failed with the title?
Jun Hyun Kim: Again, it's our relationship with the development studio IMC Games.
Communication between a developer and publisher is key to the overall success and longevity of any title, especially with free-to-play MMO Games.
On top of specialized viral marketing, our new team will heavily focus on listening to the game community and relaying every little bit and piece of community feedback to the development studio.
The turnover speed of community feedback to development, to release will be our key to success. There's no question the free-to-play MMO market is flooded and many have failed, mainly due to souring their community with little or low- quality updates or poor monetization. Our primary goal is to keep everyone happy. It's a daunting task but we are well prepared to give the fans what they want.
MMORPG: Tell us about the process of rebuilding and rebranding Sword2. What was it like for Redbana?
Jun Hyun Kim: As we return to the original name of Granado Espada we also want to keep the continuity of the original vision of the game. Having Hakkyu Kim be a part of this rebranding process as we continue to add more content updates is truly a blessing for the game and a win-win for the die-hard fans.
MMORPG: The game has a unique Victorian art style; many players responded well to it in past incarnations. What are your plans for the future in terms of maintaining the design?
Hakkyu Kim: IMC’s graphic team is very particularly about the backdrop. To really embody Medieval European style into the development of Granado Espada, team members are actually visiting many countries in person for the sole purpose of broadening their perspectives to create new images for the game.
As the characteristic style is the strongest point of Granado Espada, we will continue to focus on this design with this type of attention to detail.
MMORPG: The game offers a wide range of class options with the Musketeer and Scout and so forth. How will the classes change, if at all?
Hakkyu Kim: We don’t plan on making any major changes to the classes for a while, but we will make minor adjustments like adding new absorbing stances for the sake of making character game play more enjoyable.
New characters will also be added in the future as we’ve done so far and as Granado Espada re-launches with an expansion pack on January 10. Lots of characters will be added alongside this rebranding as well as our assurance to not let players down with new character updating.
MMORPG: You talked about plans for monthly content: can you share some of your ideas on this?
Hakkyu Kim: Our first step is to update the “Bristia” area, which will come as the next expansion after the “launch”. We are going to move very quickly with closing the content gap with Korea’s version of Granado Espada where new content is updated rapidly. We’re also considering special content updates only for Redbana players, so we encourage all players to give any of their input and recommendations to keep Granado Espada fresh and fun to play!
MMORPG: What steps are you taking to get feedback from the Community to keep them intact?
Jun Hyun Kim: We will be very connected and engaged with our community through the game forums and a variety of social networking sites to get real player feedback.
We are committed to make sure the community within Granado Espada is a supportive, fun place to be a part of. Luckily the player community from Sword
2 are wonderful, so new users can feel comfortable the minute they enter the game.
We also have an extensive data analytic team to analyze user behavior to prepare for what the game community wants before they ask us. Again, data analysis to get to the root of the problem before it becomes cataclysmic is key to a well running game.
MMORPG: How will the game be monetized under Redbana’s profile?
Jun Hyun Kim: The game will continue to be free-to-play. We want to point out that just because there will be several large updates coming every month, the game will always stay free and will never be a pay-to-win.
The game has a unique flair, using 17th Century Era of Exploration as a backdrop, so vanity items have historically been the most popular items of the game and will be the primary make up in the cash shop.
MMORPG: Do you have any words for fans of the existing game, moving into the new branding?
Hakkyu Kim: We’re so happy to release “Granado Espada Online” on Jan. 10th and we thank all Sword2 players who have been playing for a long time. In return for all the support and interest, the Redbana team promises to keep players happy with quicker turnaround times on updates and running a large number of in-game events. Please enjoy the New Age of Exploration!
Jun Hyun Kim: We are so happy to return with original name from creator. The Redbana team has rigorously researched and planned what will make users enjoy the game as will be seen with the upcoming content updates. Please enjoy the new age of Exploration!