Nexon's Shiraishi fills us in on The Grinns Tale


Have you been enjoying The Grinns Tale on Facebook? We certainly have. Its mixture of charm, adorably dark characters and combat has the game getting some good praise. We were lucky enough to get a quick interview with Fumi Shiraishi, game development director at Nexon's Los Angeles development office. He answered some of our questions about one of the unexpected hits of the summer. What was the inspiration behind the art style of the game? It's familiar, yet different.

Shiraishi: We tried a bunch of different styles very early in the preproduction process. The current the design of The Grinns Tale was a last minute experiment that our Concept Artist threw in there, but everyone loved it from the start. It also passed the "wife test," so we decided to go with it. The mix of dark grittiness and charm is something that our Concept Artist, Pramin Phatiphong, excels at. However, it wasn't easy because we had to constantly resist pressures to add more saturated colors and make everything more bright.

We notice that the game has begun to climb up the charts, quickly. What do you think is the secret to its success?

One goal we had for this project was to try to elicit emotional investment from the players. A lot of the focus in social game design has been in short-term addictive mechanics. We wanted to learn from other social games, but we also felt that players were ready for a deeper engagement. This is why we focused on creating a mood, a setting, and providing game mechanics where choices and decisions mattered. It seems that users are reacting positively to our approach, so we're very excited by that. However, we still have a lot more work to do.

Do you plan on releasing any version of The Grinns Tale for mobile gaming...tablets, smartphones, etc?

We have not made any announcements regarding this. Taking the game mobile is always an option and we think there are definitely some cool things we could do on the mobile platform. We still have a lot of work to do on The Grinns Tale, so there's no avoiding that.

Are there plans to branch out into more worlds or places to explore? After all, the theme of the game seems to be to expand.

We definitely have tons of ideas and things we want to do. Not just in terms of worlds, and areas, but also in terms of the kinds of content we want to offer. We hope to stay in communication with our users to figure out which of these ideas would be best to add.

Nexon normally publishes relatively hardcore games, what is it like venturing into the social gaming space in such a big way?

It's been a great learning experience. Most of us on the team are veterans of PC games or console games, so we're being challenged daily to learn about new technologies, new types of users, and new methods for developing and operating a game. It has been challenging and stressful, but has also been great fun.

We'd like to thank Fumi for taking the time to answer our questions about what is quickly becoming a fan favorite!

Click here to play The Grinns Tale on Facebook now >