Posted Tue, Jul 31, 2007 by Cody Bye
Over the last few months, the ‘net has been awash with content from the Sword of the New World: Granado Espada. Everything from developer interviews to hands-on previews sprang into the limelight. The art-style of the game caught the eye of many MMOG veterans, who saw something familiarly fantastic yet altered just enough to make the game feel new. Gun-slinging was just as prevalent a combat style as swordplay, and the multi-character control system stands as a brilliant gameplay adjustment on a tired old formula.
Yet when the release date came and went with little fan faire, a few industry journalists raised our heads and wondered where the game had gone and why the press hadn’t picked up on it as actively as they had been previewing it. When I learned that Peter Cesario, producer for Sword of the New World, was going to be attending Comic-Con, I arranged for an interview at his earliest convenience.
Although there was a bunch of PR before the release of Sword of the New World, there wasn't much press just prior to the release date.
The K2 Network booth was seated inside the PC Gamer / Maximum PC gaming area, which sported the first public demo of Unreal Tournament 3 and a few other tasty gaming treats. After I got Peter’s attention, we decided to head back to a quieter area of the convention center. Cutting right to the chase, I pulled out my voice recorder and began my conversation with Peter, echoing the thoughts that the video game media had been wondering.
Peter wasn’t surprised by the question regarding the release of Sword of the New World, and he was fairly frank about the whole situation. “It’s gone fairly well,” he said. “One of the things that hurt us concerning release was the fact that we launched the same day as E3. And E3 this year garnered even more interest because it was in a new venue and the focus of the expo had changed. When E3 hits, people shift their focus on to what’s new and what’s upcoming, not so much what’s just released.
“It’s hard to realistically gauge how much that hurt us,” Peter continued. “But overall, I have to say that we’re pretty happy with the response. People that came on during beta or are trying the game now stick with it. Most of them have played MMOGs before, but when they come into Sword they find something new and different. Anything that releases around the same time as E3 just gets lost in the shuffle, but we’re doing well despite that and the retail boxes are definitely selling.”
Unlike most free-to-play games, Sword of the New World has a retail element as well, which gives a player one unique player character (UPC) per box. Each of the retail outlets has a different UPC in the box, and there are several UPCs to choose from when you download the game directly from K2 Networks.
K2 Networks was drawn to the graphics, setting, UPC, and MCC system in Sword of the New World.
As a publisher of imported Asian-market games, K2 Networks is in an interesting position compared to most other Western-based MMOG publishers. Instead of picking a game that a developer is working on, K2 Networks has, thus far, sought out games that have already achieved some success in their various markets. In the case of Sword of the New World, K2 Networks was quick to jump on the property and localize it for the Western marketplace. From my standpoint, I could understand that the multi-character control system was a huge draw for K2, but I was wondering what other aspects brought K2 to an agreement with the Sword of the New World developers.
“At first, we were definitely attracted to the setting and the graphics,” Peter said. “On top of that, we really enjoyed the unique player characters. There’s really nothing that Sword of the New World compares to in the Western market. The Baroque style is unique, the UPCs certainly are a draw, and the setting is fantastic.