Why I joined Ocean Drive Studio

Hi everyone, I am Jungsoo Lee, Head of Global Operations of Ocean Drive Studio, and President of Ocean Drive Games (which is wholly-owned US subsidiary of Ocean Drive Studio, publishing, global game service and also narrative design studio for the future titles developed by Ocean Drive Studio). Going forward I will be writing blogs to share ins and outs of the studio and communicate how our game projects are going!

I am super glad I have joined the studio as a founding member and having this opportunity to write blogs. Today, I would like to spend some time introducing myself and briefly discuss what made me decide to join the studio.

It was February 2005 – I have joined Wizet 
It’s my 16th year working for games, mainly in the area of game publishing and service. Luckily enough, my very first gaming project was MapleStory Global Service(aka GMS). It started as an experimental project, running small servers for a global audience. Surprisingly as one of the very first free to play MMORPG, the game attracted millions of players and we could establish Nexon America based on the success of the service. (there are lots of stories I can share how the early version of MapleStory was running – maybe next time with the separate post!) I have spent most of my career at Nexon America leading publishing efforts working with many different developers and partners, and my latest role was working as General Manager, overseeing the entire publishing business for the Western region for Nexon since 2017.  

Worked on this cool Item to celebrate the launch of the official open beta for the GMS

MapleStory 2 – My Passion Project 
While MapleStory 2006 – 2008 was the most successful project I have worked on (in terms of numbers), MapleStory 2 is one of the most successful projects in my gaming career, in terms of how we ran the game service. Learnings from other various projects helped me understand what should be the true focus of running game services. In the past (old MapleStory days), localization, and the customized events for the players were considered very important aspect of success of the game, but with various projects I have gone through, I could understand the focus should be on the community. When we were preparing MapleStory 2, we did review many different aspect of the game including the content and lifecycle of the game, but at the end of the day the top priority for the team became the community. While the game couldn’t last long enough due to other limitations, I am super proud of how we have worked hard to partner with the community and worked with the development studio to get things done with given time and resources we had.  

Joining Ocean Drive Studio
Strong Belief in the Philosophy of the Founding Team 
It was a very tough decision for me to leave the team at Nexon America. But after experiencing the impact of community-focused game development/game service with MapleStory 2, had to make a decision to join a new game dev studio to realize the vision of building a true community driven game development studio. Also, it has been one of my thing – joining a game development team and get involved in the game development process!

Then, why did I choose to join Ocean Drive Studio 

The biggest reason was the vision the CEO and the founding member have shared, and the fact that I can join the team as a founder(meaning I can have more influence towards the decisions we make for the game) has greatly influenced my decision. 

As Jae Kim (CEO of the Studio) has shared on the first blog – the vision for the studio is making FUN games by working with the community (SINCERITY, COMMUNICATION). With these three pillars, the founding team’s goal is to build a studio that focuses on developing a series of games that can cultivate fans for the studio. The focus is making an everlasting game development studio, building a strong community.

To share the scenario how this vision would work, let’s say the first game didn’t do well as we hoped, we will review overall feedback on the game and the make decision – 1) if the game still has potential, we would be making improvements until the game gets better or, 2) if the game has issues with its core gameplay or key systems which cannot be easily fixed, we will work on the sequel based off the learning from the first game. For both scenarios, we will be working with the community to make the right decisions, and we will be working on the same genre of the games until we have a great game.

I liked the vision, the three pillars and what kind of game studio Ocean Drive Studio wants to become. After learning all these, I made decision to join the studio.

It will take a tremendous amount of work and dedication to realize the vision we have for the studio. But I think we are already taking the right steps – such as having blogs instead of a corporate-style website, and some of the development plans already include open-development approach. While I cannot share any information related to the project yet – I will be taking time to communicate with fans and the community, how we are progressing with setting up a studio and introduce devs, and potentially high-level concepts or plans for the upcoming games until I can discuss details of the games that we are working on.

Take Care and Stay Healthy!

Jungsoo Lee


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