Lunia戰記 is an "action arcade MMORPG" from China's CDC Games (developed by Korea's ALLM Co.) - and they're bringing the brightly colored, free-to-play model to the US early next year (just what we need!). They describe it as "much like an action arcade game, allowing players to move around using arrow keys rather than a mouse. The game can be played with a console 'D pad' style controller which makes the game familiar and easy to use for the millions of Xbox users throughout the U.S." Does this qualify as 'new and improved'? It just looks like a colorful, manga-style game to me, but I'm hardly an expert on the many incarnations of Asian free-to-play MMOs. Full press release after the jump.
ATLANTA & BEIJING—(BUSINESS WIRE)—CDC Games, a business unit of CDC Corporation and pioneer of the "free-to-play, pay for merchandise" model for online games in China, announced today that its CDC Games International (CGI) business unit plans to launch Lunia Online, a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) based on the popular manga style comic art form, for commercial availability in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2008.
Lunia Online, which was developed by Korea-based ALLM Co., Ltd., is based on the manga style of Japanese comics which is widely popular throughout the world and is currently a more than $200 million industry in the U.S. according to Publishers Weekly.
Unlike many other massively multiplayer online roll-playing games (MMORPGs) currently on the market, Lunia Online is played much like an action arcade game, allowing players to move around using arrow keys rather than a mouse. The game can be played with a console "D pad" style controller which makes the game familiar and easy to use for the millions of Xbox users throughout the U.S.
In Lunia Online, various attacks can be launched by pressing combinations of keys rather than clicking on an enemy to attack. In addition, special skills and items can be conveniently controlled with hotkeys. Unlike many other games, Lunia does not restrict its skill hotkeys to the function keys on a keyboard. This allows users to more fully customise and adapt the game controls to their personal liking.
In further contrast to many popular MMORPGs, Lunia Online also offers a detailed plotline and story to accompany game play. Battles between players and monsters take place in increasingly challenging stages which are much like chapters in the overall story. In each stage, the players accompany the three main characters: the Knight (Sieg), the Healer (Eir) and the Wizard (Dainn) in their adventure, often being required to complete certain tasks such as killing-off monsters in an area. These accomplishments advance the player through the story and are necessary to complete the stage. Animated cut scenes typically appear just before and after a stage, serving as transitions from chapter to chapter and additional sources of plot information.
Lunia has recently been test marketed in the U.S. by ALLM with favourable results and has received excellent user ratings from various game and fan sites. "We are excited to strengthen our partnership with CGI through the licensing of Lunia Online for the U.S. market," said Jong Myoung Lee, president of ALLM. "We expect Lunia Online to be well received in the U.S. market and we look forward to expanding our relationship with CGI further in the future."
"We are looking forward to launching Lunia Online for the U.S. market," said Jeffrey Longoria, president of CGI. "With our planned addition of Lunia Online, we will soon have games operating in three major markets: China, Japan and the U.S. We intend to continue working aggressively to expand our commercial portfolio further this year and in 2008, as we plan to launch many exciting new games in the coming months."
"Lunia Online breaks new ground in many new areas of the MMORPG genre," said Ron Williams, general manager of CDC Games USA, a unit of CGI. Lunia Online is less complicated to operate than the typical MMORPG because Lunia Online is designed to be played like console games that are widely familiar to U.S. players. With the popular manga style animation and a strong crossover potential with console players, we expect this game to be well received in the U.S. market."
Lunia Online is the latest in several new games backed internationally by CGI. CGI already has established sub-license agreements to publish games through leading online games providers in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.