Interviews & Opinion

Game Director Kane Jung discusses Black Anchor’s collaboration with Webzen to release its tactical RPG, Remore: Infested Kingdom, on Steam

Game Director Kane Jung discusses Black Anchor’s collaboration with Webzen to release its tactical RPG, Remore: Infested Kingdom, on Steam

Webzen, one of Korea's leading global publishers of PC and mobile games, recently announced its partnership with indie studio Black Anchor, to bring players a unique, gothic horror RPG in Remore: Infested Kingdom.

A free demo version of the the tactical, turn-based title launched today on Steam as part of Steam Next Fest, so we took the opportunity to have a one-on-one interview with Black Anchor's Game Director, Kane Jung, to learn more about the collaboration, as well as gain some insight into Korea's indie gaming scene.

First off, tell us a little bit about Black Anchor. What's your background and experience?
Black Anchor Studio, established in 2020, is the brainchild of Kane Jung along with his two co-founders, Dae-Sub Kim and Seung-Moo Chae. With over 12 years of expertise in developing free-to-play online and mobile games, we decided to embark on an exciting new venture—a single-player Indie game for the PC platform.

Prior to becoming game developers, all of us were passionate hardcore gamers. However, in creating games we found that finding a balance between the deep experience we wanted as gamers and the ongoing service required in the free-to-play landscape proved to be a challenging endeavor. It was this struggle that ultimately led us to establish our own studio—a creative space dedicated to crafting games that align with our taste and identity.

How did your partnership with Webzen come about?
Webzen reached out to us when we were exhibiting the title at G-Star, the biggest gaming convention in Korea.

Although they are famous for their large MMORPG titles, they were at that time looking for games that could provide varied experiences and appeal to a different group of core players. Thankfully, a lot of publishers were showing interest in our game at that time, but Webzen was the most passionate about the potential of the title, and that sincerity led us to make the partnership with them.


So what would you say have been the most beneficial aspects of your partnership?
Stability that helps us focus on development itself. They are providing us with all the ‘out-of-dev’ support available – QA, PR, Marketing, Community Management, and so on. We're a relatively small team, so stable service would not be easy if it were not for their support.

And the creation of Remore: Infested Kingdom, what were your inspirations for making it?
The most direct inspiration was the tabletop board game Zombicide. Even though there's an abundance of zombie apocalypse-based games, we recognized a gap in the market for turn-based games that effectively blend the immersive "thematic feeling" of survival and escape with tacticall depth. In most cases, either one of them - theme or depth - was not satisfying, at least to us as players.

We love deep tactical RPGs like XCOM or Battle Brothers, and wanted to make a game that can give a similar experience - not by copying their mechanics and simply changing the aesthetics, but by building something new that can depict and deliver the theme in the most impactful way we can imagine.

In our quest to achieve that goal, we constantly asked ourselves: "How can we make players feel like they are immersed in a medieval apocalyptic world?" Every game mechanic we've implemented is our way of answering that question, while also keeping in mind the tactical depth that we, as passionate fans of the genre, crave.


How does Remore: Infested Kingdom differ from RPG titles on the market in terms of gameplay and storytelling?
The uniqueness of the tactical session is focused on how each battle 'begins'. Every enemy has their own ‘sight’ grid, and once a player character is detected, the enemy screams out causing nearby enemies to chase and grab the survivors. The system not only enhances the ‘creature genre’ feeling, but also requires a blend of stealth/battle gameplay that’s not very common in grid-based tactical games.

Every other mechanic works on top of this - characters ‘grabbed’ by enemies cannot move, so they must somehow shake the enemy to get free. Sometimes they will have to pull an ally with a rope to rescue them from the clutches of the creatures. But on the other hand, If you attack the enemy with a two-handed axe from out of sight, you have a chance to instantly kill them.

Our title does not heavily rely on storytelling elements like branching choices or numerous cut-scenes, but we made a concerted effort to establish the medieval world of Remore as a 'historical/believable' realm.

The 'fantasy-feeling' is primarily confined to the Infested themselves, while all other elements are set within a fictional European based medieval world—devoid of magic or superpowers. Characters are intentionally fragile, necessitating careful consideration before making any decision. This fragility aligns with the overarching theme we aimed to convey.

Within this setting, players must navigate the Infestation solely with historical weapons and also the physical abilities of each character. Our aim was to give the sense of 'ordinary medieval people struggling against disaster', and we wanted players to directly experience this through various aspects of the game: the overall atmosphere, character interactions, the simple yet pressing survival mechanics, and so on.

We’re constantly showing off the game’s aspects in our dev notes over on the Steam Store page, so please check it out if you want to know more!

How would you describe the gaming environment in Korea and how supportive is the infrastructure for an indie studio?
The majority of the Korean gaming market is free-to-play, mobile-based MMORPG or character collecting games. However, the demand for more diverse genres is growing steadily and many developers are trying to meet the pleas of these types of players. There are already great indie titles both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, and even major studios are committing to new challenges in the PC/console market.

Fortunately, the infrastructure for an indie studio is very supportive here, at least in my opinion. There are many programs that support indie game studios and content start-ups, operated by the government and/or publishers. We also benefited a lot from the infra, so we earned ourselves enough time to try out many mechanics and features before... starving.


Starting from today, Remore: Infested Kingdom is being showcased at Steam Next Fest. What are the next steps for the game and for Black Anchor after the showcase?
We are planning our full release through Steam and Epic Games Store sometime in 2024, and that’s the only thing we can say with certainty for now! Our current focus is on expanding and refining the planned content while closely monitoring player feedback during showcases.

Even though the game is still in development, we think it’s really important to reveal the game and listen to player feedback as ultimately, they’re the ones who matter. Of course, if there are more chances like Steam Next Fest in that phase, we won’t hesitate to dive in! regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.