Sunday, December 9, 2012

Global Gaming: Lineage (South Korea)

With each post in this mini-feature, I highlight a game from a different country around the world. Keep in mind these aren't necessarily the best or most popular games from each nation, but simply a fitting representative.

Lineage - NCsoft, 1998

While we're on the topic of massively-multiplayer online games, I thought I'd take the global gaming spotlight to South Korea. We all know Korea has a passion for certain American-developed games, but what about their own domestic industry?

South Korea is the most internet-connected country in the world, so they love online PC games, and MMOs in particular. There's no bigger name in Korean MMOs than Seoul-based NCsoft. In the West they're most famous for Guild Wars, developed by NCsoft's U.S. subsidiary ArenaNet. But back home, NCsoft's biggest titles are perhaps their Lineage series. Influenced by Blizzard's hack-and-slash looter Diablo and seminal MMO Ultima Online, Lineage at one point sported three million subscribers--impressive for a Korean game in the '90s.

Today, NCsoft's biggest effort is its 2009 MMO Aion, most notable for its twisted artistic direction compared to other MMO stalwarts like World of Warcraft and even ArenaNet's Guild Wars. With the classic subscription model for massively-multiplayer games going down the drain, we'll see if NCsoft can adapt to a new MMO landscape in the next five years.

The global gaming map so far (zoom out for full map):

View Global Gaming Spotlight in a larger map

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