Interview

What Fincon learned about operating global RPGs from the success of Hello Hero and Angel Stone

What Fincon learned about operating global RPGs from the success of Hello Hero and Angel Stone

Best known for its 2013 debut RPG Hello Hero, South Korean developer Fincon is currently focused on the global rollout of its latest game Angel Stone.

An RPG with strong community and PvP elements, it builds on the knowledge the company gained with Hello Hero.

We caught up with community manager, Emilio Villarruel to find out more about Fincon's strategy.

With Hello Hero, you chose to make localized builds for different markets. What motivated your decision to do a one-build cross platform title with Angel Stone?

Emilio Villarruel: To begin, Fincon is a Korean company. With Hello Hero as our first title, we found it wise to establish our service locally before expanding globally.

With Angel Stone we've matured enough to comfortably service a one-build global title.

With different builds you have a more fragmented player base. With Angel Stone's strong emphasis on cross-platform co-op and PvP play the one-build option seemed the natural choice.

A one-platform-build is very ambitious and carries with it issues regarding localization and creation of events. How do you deal with this issue in Angel Stone?

With Hello Hero we took every opportunity to match the game world to the real world.

With Angel Stone we've matured enough to comfortably service a one-build global title.

For example, if we saw a trend towards a growing player base in the Nordic region, we responded by releasing heroes based off of Norse mythology.

With each build we could respond to local holidays with similarly themed events, e.g. matching the USA's 4th of July holiday with an event called,'Veteran Bo's Birthday' featuring a military commando hero.

These worked out great in making the game feel interactive, however required frequent maintenance and all the problems that comes with that.

With Angel Stone our focus is on long-term events which require infrequent maintenance.

This approach has changed our focus from creating a dynamic interactive gaming experience towards creating a more immersive experience - centering events around the fictional mythology of Angel Stone's world and encouraging players to explore that.

Hello Hero is fast approaching it's fifth season after nearly three years of operation. To what do you contribute its longevity, and how do you retain your user-base?

The simple answer would be in listening to our community, respecting their input, and then actively pursuing ways to satisfy the bulk of our userbase while maintaining the appeal to our hardcore fan base.

This sounds like a really generic answer, but with over 4.2 million Facebook fans as well as an active forum, there's a lot of voices with ideas of what they want in the game - the struggle is to stay just as attentive and responsive to those voices and not allow them to become white noise.

A battle in Hello Hero

In short, our relationship with our fans is like any other long-term relationship, pay attention to the little things and actively try to make them happy and you'll hopefully stay together for a long time.

The Korean mobile game market is huge, yet we don't often see many developers making the decision to directly service their titles abroad. Why do you think that is, what motivated Fincon's decision to directly service, and how does Fincon address the issues that come with it?

We try and keep an open mind when deciding whether to service directly or work with a partner.

In Angel Stone's case, the one-build option meant direct service was best.

It's not easy servicing abroad - especially in regards to community management and customer service - but we've focused on including more individuals with multilingual and multinational backgrounds to facilitate that process.

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