How did you find this year’s PlayX4 with the theme “Beyond the Joy of Gaming”?

As an art director, I have been involved in most of the local game shows such as PlayX4, BIC, and G-Star, where I have had the chance to meet the audience. PlayX4 is the largest game show in greater Seoul, and this year's Play Expo seemed to have attracted a significant number of attendees. Many people gathered at KINTEX not only on weekends but also on weekdays. As expected, the news reported that it had achieved the “largest audience ever.”

At the exhibition hall, numerous cosplayers caught my eye. It was fun to see them dress up as their favorite characters, regardless of gender and age, and strictly staying in their character no matter the situation. One person was wearing a mascot suit of their character, and no matter how much his friend tried to make him talk, he never answered. It was a fun moment that could be called a ‘try not to laugh challenge.’ Also, the used market was quite large, so I was able to see many people visiting with interest. It was a treasure trove for game fans, with old game packs and devices as well as figurines.

When PlayX4 succeeds, our game, South Pole Bebop, can reach a larger audience. Therefore, I had high expectations for a bustling and fun atmosphere.

Check out our video above and feel the atmosphere of the last day of PlayX4.

South Pole Bebop(SPB)'s preparations to meet PlayX4 game fans?

Since this was an event taking place right ahead of Early Access, we made sure to create a comfortable experience for players. We quickly make improvements based on reviews received from in-house testing, college club tournaments, and overseas game shows. We focused on enhancing the tutorial and translating the deck cards into Korean. Additionally, we worked on improving the UI and effects to ensure that players can easily see the results of their attacks.

Before then, it took a lot of time and energy for booth operators to explain the rules and gameplay to visitors. It was quite exhausting. However, this time, the audience learned the rules naturally through the tutorial and the game progressed smoothly. It was great to be able to engage with visitors and share diverse opinions about our game.

When setting up the booth on site, we put a lot of effort into organizing the traffic flow. Since our game, South Pole Bebop, is a PvP game, we put a lot of thought into arranging the seats for visitors to experience the game. We also took safety into consideration by arranging devices and organizing wires accordingly, allowing visitors to enter and exit easily.

What visitors came to visit South Pole Bebop?

We've seen interest from students who enjoy mobile fighting as well as from people of all ages who like turn-based strategy. At the Game Developers Conference(GDC), people really liked the fact that our game is a multiplayer version of ‘Into the Breach,’ which we got inspired by, and domestic game fans also found it interesting and fascinating.There were people standing in front of the booth, carefully watching the game play video. Without fail, these people came in and enjoyed the game. One person played multiple rounds of single-player matches against AI bots and provided sharp analysis along with admiration.

Also, the siblings who had already played once came back for a rematch. When I asked them why, they said the sibling who had lost couldn't admit defeat. It was nice to meet people who truly appreciate the charm of PvP, and I felt proud that our game delivered that charm effectively.There was also an event where visitors were given draw tickets if they played games or listened to explanations of Indie Arcade participating companies. Among the visitors, there was a person with high standards who would only accept draw tickets for games that he found fun, and he wouldn't take our ticket until he had actually tried our game. After playing our game, he gave us a very positive review, saying it was really fun and well-made. Even though it was just one person's opinion, it felt like hearing the positive reviews of 10,000 people. In the end, of course, he did accept our draw ticket.

What are the most memorable reactions on-site?

As an art director, the reviews about our characters are memorable. The main characters, Mahana the Penguin and Maka the Seal, are really lovely friends. However, characters with strong personalities like Hopu the Kung-fu penguin and Momona the seal with a psychopathic-look(?) were also popular on the site. Some people even said they really liked the zombie characters and asked if they could play as zombies. We were very touched by the reviews as we had also put a lot of effort into creating the zombie characters.There were many positive reviews about our game per se, but the best comment was that the game seemed to be well balanced. During the game development, we put a lot of effort into balancing everything, such as attack details, zombie spawning, and AI bot match. As we all agree, one of the important factors that makes a game fun is the right balance, which is really hard to achieve!

Additionally, journalists from various game magazines visited the booth for reports and interviews. They even demonstrated our game with an explanation from our game designer, Kiyoon. I was impressed by the way he asked sharp questions, took detailed notes while demonstrating. You can read the demonstration report of South Pole Bebop here written by Inven!

What are the future plans of the game team and you, the father of Mahana?

As we prepare for early access on Steam around the end of June, we are committed to incorporating feedback from the Play Expo. We are also working on adding new features to the game, such as daily quests and a season pass system, to make the game more engaging. As an art director, I am working on the artwork of each project, and have plans to create unique skins as people are loving the various characters of South Pole Bebop.

In fact, our team put in a lot of effort to create these characters, including Mahana, by sharing diverse opinions and working together. At this year's PlayX4, our characters, which have a more global style, stood out among the popular Asian art styles, and I was grateful that many audiences recognized that aspect. As ‘Mahana’s father’ (laughs), I hope that the unique characteristics of each character will be well conveyed to players through their movements and visuals. We are also planning to add new characters with strong personalities, so please look forward to it!