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TERA's Chris Lee on making a Korean MMO into an American hit

Jef Reahard

The recent announcement regarding a mind-meld between En Masse Entertainment and Atari for the purposes of bringing Bluehole Studio's TERA to North America has generated a fair bit of industry buzz. Not only does it indicate an impending release date (though En Masse remains coy about anything other than a "2011" date), but it also signifies to fans of AAA Asian-themed MMOs that they'll soon have an alternative to Aion and Lineage II.

Gamasutra recently chatted up En Masse publishing vice president Chris Lee about the challenges inherent in bringing TERA to the West, and surprisingly, the "westernization" catch-phrase -- and associated deflections -- were nowhere to be found. Lee instead focused on how En Masse has a long road ahead when it comes to turning a Korean MMO into an American hit (regardless of the title's inherent quality). "One of the biggest misconceptions in the business is that a good game will sell itself," Lee says.

Lee also spoke to TERA's decision to bypass the free-to-play craze as well as the title's unique combat mechanic, which is "a large departure from traditional MMOs, regardless of region."

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