Kim Sa-rang, a Korean actress (Secret Garden) and the 2000 winner of Miss Korea, has entered into mutual symbiosis with MMORPG DK Online: The Legend of Dragon Knights. Kim agreed to model for a DK Online photoshoot and commercial, and there are further plans for Kim to lend her voice as an NPC in the game. Kim said that she had fun with the shoot, and that she felt she “had become one of the characters in the game.”
I must note that the Elf class in DK Online does wear flowing robes/dresses, in contrast to the other three wearing armour, but I think it takes some imagination to see that what Kim is wearing in those photos correspond to the medieval-fantasy costumes featured in the game. I suppose the design of the black dress is somewhat akin to chain-mail patterns. I don’t know what the white dress symbolises; maybe the impracticality of the heels shows that while Kim’s character in the photo won’t be partaking in direct PvP, she’ll observe the conflict from a distance like a goddess of war. Kim’s pose in the final picture has her right hand cradling her left kidney, and her left hand comes up under her chin as she uses her arm to protect her chest in a defensive stance. This suggests to me that the red dress represents the pain and burden of beauty during wartime, but the fingernail paint remains a mystery to me as I can’t make out the details.
Celebrities around the world probably realised the marketing potential of video games when voice acting really took off during the last generation of consoles. Remember Onimusha 3 with Jean Reno and Takeshi Kaneshiro? Samuel L. Jackson and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Tobey Maguire and the Spiderman games. Is this a good thing? It blew my mind when I saw Jean Reno’s face on the cover of Onimusha 3, but nowadays, it seems like if you don’t have a celebrity in your triple-A game, you’re being stingy.
Regardless of the quality of the end product, celebrity synergy is a reasonably easy way to measure the funding or commercial success that projects may have, and star endorsement is an effective way that Korean game companies promote their games, as with this little game featuring Girls’ Generation. The success of DK Online remains to be seen.