UPDATE! Since this interview was conducted there has been quite a few updates in the Axis; most importantly, the announcement of Axis reaching the North American market. Our very own Chaos spoke with Jun at Jamie Systems and received this status update:
According to Jun of Jamie Systems, it is official: Realnetwork is going to publish Axis! This will be an online only version. I have no official release date as of yet. The compressed download will be about 25mb but Jun assures me there will be many things included in this package.
There are over 30 maps in the Korean full version, but the number of maps that will be included in the Realnetwork version is up in the air at this point. Expect to see many new weapons though! Jun tells me there will be over 30 weapons, including a "Linear Motor Hammer", a "Syncrotron Lance", and a "Plasma Blade".
Realnetwork will be hosting their own server, but Ladder games are not confirmed at this time. There are currently no tools which will allow fans to create their own maps, but there is a possibility for one in the future. One final note for now is that Jamie Systems is developing 2 more games at this time, but mums the word on what they are at this point.
What's more, I've been lucky enough to snag a Korean version of the full game from Jun and will be looking into a dedicated server for Axis. We will also be putting a review of the game and we have a huge HTML-ized story (complete with illustrations) that will be posted in the coming weeks as well.
Thanks a lot for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. Without further ado, let's get this show on the road!
the Junkyard: Please introduce yourself to the community.
JUN: I am a marketing manager here at Jamie system... just call me 'JUN'.
tJY: How did Jamie get started?
JUN: Jamie means 'fun' in Korean. Jamie started the game business in 1996, January.
tJY: What were some of their previous games?
JUN: Here are the product list of games which Jamie has developed:
1997.Jan. (Atria)--- RPG.
1998.Jan. (Quest for gold)---Adventure
1998.Dec. (Atria 2)--- RPG
1999.JUNE. (X-TOM)--- Full 3D flight shooting.
XTOM was the first game for us to export to the EU territories.
tJY: What do you do at Jaime and what does an average day entail?
JUN: I am a marketing manager... and have full responsibility of all the international business here. So, if I fail to make any contract with U.S publisher...... I might get fired... ^_^ (Let's save JUN.)
Since last summer, I have been trying to contact a lot of publishers... (Probably, 100 companies all over the world). For example, I sent more than 50 emails to Havasinteractive... and received some answers... after 3 months. Same as GOD (3 months)... ACTIVISION (6 months).... There are still a lot of companies... I haven't heard from. I send 30 ~ 40 emails a day, 5 international calls a day.... meet several people a day, and I attend staff meetings for daily reports.... I prepare new documents and look up all the gaming web magazines. I make some previews........ blah blah blah.... (working hours: AM 9:00 ~ P.M or AM , Monday through the week).
tJY: Is it hard developing a game in Korean, then porting it over to English?
JUN: It's not that hard working.... but requires some time... In Korea, most of programmer are not good at speaking and writing English... So, we have to translate all the letters.... To do so, it takes some time.
tJY: How does the Korean gaming market compare to that of the North American (NA) gaming market?
JUN: The U.S market is huge... however, considering the size of the country, the Korean game market can't be overlooked. (Infogrames, ACTIVISION are going to open the branch in Seoul this Spring) Let's say STARCRAFT....... More than 2 million copies have been sold here.... Now, Diablo 2 and Starcraft (still popular) are the most popular games... In Korea, there are a lot of on-line and off-line competitions being held.... So, pro-gamer is popular..... because the competition is broadcasted... on T.V.... (Mhaddy's note: "COOL!")
tJY: What's the status on the NA build?
JUN: We are having a hard time introducing AXIS into the U.S market.... For now, we can't be sure of anything... I just want to make it happen this time.. For a small developer, it is like a goal to introduce his own game into the U.S market. I don't care about the quantity... or money...............
tJY: Any plans on putting up a master server for Axis, so that players can join games at will? If so, will there be North American Mirrors?
JUN: Once the deal is done, the master sever will be set up and run by them. The big publishers will not ask us that issue... because they don't trust the small developer's server stability.
tJY: So, what separates Axis from the other games in it's genre?
JUN: As you see, the most distinguishable point in AXIS is the high speed. Even myself.... I can't enjoy any other FPS any more... because it feels so slow. And then.... the user can create his own robot... color.. and so on. Moreover, AXIS doesn't require any localization for U.S market... Since the user doesn't use the Korean windows system, then all the letters will be automatically changed into the English...... That's for all now.
tJY: What's the story behind Axis, and how will it intertwine into the game?
JUN: Actually, single player was very different from the original plan... Things didn't go that way because of some financial problems.... Please, find the attached file which is the background story.
tJY: How big will the single player campaign be?
JUN: Basically, single play mode is Skirmish. It consists of 15 stages. Whenever a player finishes each stage, he gets more parts and weapons... With the acquired weapons and parts, the player can join the multiplay. However, the ladder is different... As a player's level goes up, he can get more weapons and parts.
tJY: What made you go with the 'anime style'?
JUN: In Korea, there are a lot of robot anime style maniacs.... It's probably the Japanese influence..... But..... most of all, our designer loves the robot anime....^_^ That's how AXIS is born... (too simple?)
tJY: What kind of support have you been getting from the community - both in Korea and NA?
JUN: Now, biggest support from NA is you.... we really appreciate it! I just checked the forum..... petition?........ Wow..... I don't know what to say. In Korea, we also have a lot of fans... They want to test the balance and all other things... for nothing. If we have marketing plan, they want to participate in it for free...... For example, there was a poll... which to choose the best game of the year in Korea... Our users? They pick AXIS whenever they turn the computer on. (they are just enthusiastic.....)
tJY: A very popular thing to do nowadays with games are to create MODs. Will Axis be easy to MOD?
JUN: AXIS is not easy to Mod.... that's the biggest weak point in AXIS. We are thinking about another AXIS so that we could make it up.. Also, we want to put some a great single player campaign as we planned first.
tJY: Will the game ship with any editing tools?
JUN: Same answer as Question 14.
tJY: What are some special features or neat eye candy that has been added to the game engine?
JUN: In Korea, we already posted 2 patches including new maps. We are going to post more maps each month or so. Some maps are only for 1 on 1 matches or 2 on 2.... And there are various ways to enjoy the game (12 ways...). Also, we are going to add more weapons and much more... (still discussing.....)