Red 5: Goodbye For Now, West! Hello China!

I don't want to go on the cart

A man once said, “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach Gym.” I have a similar phrase for companies that make MMOs:

“Those who can’t develop, develop for China.”
-Omali, MMO Fallout, on the Asian MMO Market

Now, if you’re going to accuse me of implying that the Asian MMO market is saturated with hundreds of titles that are nothing more than cookie cutter item mall clones with enough grind to turn a pepper plant into microscopic sized specks, developed by small companies that rake in huge profits of the item mall selling faster leveling and insanely rare items for cash, and then use that money to not support the product by not getting rid of the endless amount of gold farmers that will populate the server and sell to a market in the millions whose standards barely break the point of “I don’t care about lore, immersion, or anything else as long as I can kill this one NPC several thousand times over,” well I would have no idea what you are talking about. I contest your assumption that I am comparing the quality aspect of developing for the Asian market, to the literature aspect of writing a book for toddlers.

Red 5 Studios was founded by World of Warcraft veterans, including Mark Kern, Team Lead over at Blizzard, which could lead one to believe that the company would be marginally as successful as Blizzard. Thanks to some trouble hiring, despite Red 5 going as far as bribing the hopefuls with Ipod Shuffles, development at the new studio never took off the ground. A company that fits the profile of “Never was, is not, and never will be,” Red 5’s initial staff of 100 was butchered down to 65 in 2008, after the company closed its Shanghai office.

Red 5 has confirmed that they have had another round of layoffs, leaving the company with a skeleton crew of just over 30 employees. Webzen, who you will remember took control of Archlord in the Western markets, invested in Red 5 back in 2008, over an MMOFPS that the developer was working on. It now appears that the title may never be released, and Red 5 has plans for another game.

This time, rather than a worldwide release, Red 5 will be “restructuring” and focusing on releasing an MMO in the Chinese market, although they are still claiming that the MMOFPS is not down and out yet, simply shelved until a further date. Haven’t heard that before.

More on Red 5 as it appears.

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