Devcom Highlights: Devsisters Europe's Chris O'Kelly: "We're doubling-down on bringing our IP to Western markets"

The European MD of the South Korean developer behind CookieRun: Kingdom outlines their ambitions for the brand and spin-offs to conquer the West

Devcom Highlights: Devsisters Europe's Chris O'Kelly: "We're doubling-down on bringing our IP to Western markets"

South Korean developer Devsisters, the company behind major mobile hits CookieRun: Kingdom and CookieRun: OvenBreak, has big ambitions to get a foothold in the Western market.

We got the chance to speak to Chris O’Kelly, managing director and “boss cookie” of Devsisters Europe at Devcom 2023 to get an idea of their masterplans.

Devsisters have enjoyed great success with CookieRun, from its omnipresent branding on a variety of items, such as ticket booths in Incheon, one of Korea’s largest airports, and branded snacks featuring the IP in corner stores across the country, to their successful collab with K-Pop supergroup BTS.

Now Devsisters has big plans to expand their multimedia presence. There's a new physical trading card game with major talent contributing from franchises such as Digimon and YuGiOh on the way, but even with that massive success in Korea, there’s an ambition for Devsisters to become the next company to become a major presence in the West. 

Why do Devsisters want to expand into the Western market? What do you think the region has to offer?

“We believe that the IP, CookieRun itself has a very broad appeal, I think that the message that the IP brings is very diverse and family friendly, with a slight edge of humour. We think that we got it just right so that it’ll sit well with a western audience as well. We also believe that it has the look and feel that is appreciated, if you go too much into an anime type style it will have its niche, but I believe the CookieRun ‘look’ per se and the story will appeal to a wider market. And we’ve already proved that by having success in the American market, and we want to double-down on the effort to bring the IP to other Western markets.”

My 'secret, evil masterplan' is to use success in the Western market to leverage talent in Europe for the development side of things.
Chris O'Kelly

And you believe in having physical European offices?

“We actually do three days a week at the office for the German staff, and we also have French staff that are fully remote. The most important thing is the local expertise. While you can also have that when working remotely, I can tell you post-pandemic there is actually a tendency for people to appreciate an office and appreciate face-to-face work, especially in a creative environment.

"It’s nice to see the people you work with, sometimes. We like to do three days a week, especially to start, but we could go down to one or two days a week. So far it’s much appreciated, especially post-pandemic when everyone was so isolated.”

Tell us about new games in the pipeline? What can we expect for the Western market?

“We actually have six games coming out later this year, but I’ll focus on the two coming out primarily for the Western market. One will be BRIXITY, which will also be featured at Gamescom, which is a simulation, city-builder block-building game. It’s a very ‘zen’, express yourself game.

"You can create buildings, create any kind of structure that you like and share it with the community. And also see what other people are building and buy blueprints to expand your city and level up. There’s also a personal avatar that you can customise, you can visit other cities, you can interact with other people – it’s asynchronous, so far, but it’s just a nice touch and feel.

"The next one is CookieRun: Witch’s Castle, which uses our biggest IP, CookieRun. It’s a story-based casual match2/match3 game. You unlock stars which you spend on a storyline, and unlock rooms in the Witch’s Castle which the cookies try to escape from.

"I’s kind of the origin story of Gingerbrave [the protagonist of the CookieRun universe]. You use Gingerbrave and all the other cookies you unlock in your level as ‘superpowers’, so it’s like a special boost that you fill up and use. It has the nice mix of ‘you know what to expect', but we added our own twist to it.

"We think it’ll sit quite well with the audience, it’s got a large story element which will sit well with aficionados of the IP, but I think the game itself is a very solid match2/match3 game, where everybody will feel at home if you like that particular game type.”

And what are your ambitions for Devsisters in Europe, beyond these new releases?

“My 'secret, evil masterplan' is to use success in the Western market to leverage talent in Europe for the development side of things. Now that I’ve told you about it, it isn't so secret or evil!"


Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.