BeachHead 2000 & Pepe Moreno in China

on Sunday, 30 December 2018. Posted in BEACHHEAD, THE GAME

Pepe Moreno Talked about Development Story of Beach Head Brand in China

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This blog posting it's derived from an article published by Gamebrio magazine in April of 2016. The article was written in (Japanese, Mandarin and) English by a foreign reporter. We are aware that the article and the blog here contains spelling and grammatical errors, but for the sake of authenticity, we decided to publish the article as it appeared originally and without corrections.

Beach Head series, developed by Digital Fusion, are very classic shooter games. It’s said that the series have accumulated more than 2 billion downloads worldwide since the launch of the first product Beach Head 2000 16 years ago. Pepe Moreno, as President of Digital Fusion, is not only the creator and designer of this famous brand, but also a comic book artist and writer in Europe and in the US since the 1970s. He is also best known in the United States for his 1990 digital graphic novel, Batman: Digital Justice, published by DC Comics.

(Left: Pepe Moreno @ Hero Entertainment press room)

Digital Fusion partners with China’s Hero Entertainment to develop a mobile title based on Beach Head brand. In a recent Hero Entertainment’s internal event, Pepe Moreno made a speech sharing the development story of Beach Head series. Luo Yi, VP of YOUXITUOLUO (Gamegryo’s parent company), had an interview with him after the speech.

What made Pepe decide to work with Hero Entertainment?

Pepe was aware that many years ago, Beach Head was pirated in China to such an extend that it was like it was the No. 1 game in China. At that time, he was thinking what it meant as No. 1 in China. He always has interests and attention in China, but he has no ways to know who is doing what and has no means to understand China. Then he got a letter from Jenny from Hero Entertainment. A lot of people had contacted them but no one from China. He realized that this letter was meant something different like there was a change.

They talked about the license including the name. Pepe said it was sophisticated to him. He meant they didn’t think of piracy. They were thinking of doing something different. So the number one feeling was that it was a very honorable gesture. They didn’t have to, but they took the initiative. This is the beginning of having a good feeling towards Hero Entertainment.

(Left:Pepe Moreno, right: Ying Shuling, CEO Of Hero Entertainment)

In relationships, no matter in business or emotional relationships, it’s important to have respect. Pepe felt these people are nice. They really like what there are doing. Chinese market is a huge market for everybody, which was an important factor too.

Right now Pepe put his focus on Beach Head brand. He said, for better or worst, Beach Head is a brand. There are few brands on the market. It’s very expensive to have a brand from zero. In the early days in the US, Call of Duty, Beach Head, Blizzard, all these were in the same level. But somehow Beach Head lost its way. What they need to do right now is to catch up and hopefully become a brand like Call of Duty.

There are several games based on Beach Head brand including the VR game and the mobile version with Hero Entertainment.

How did Pepe come up with the idea of making Beach Head in early days?

Some people might have a question in mind, “As a great artist, why Pepe wanted to make games?” Pepe told YOUXITUOLUO that he wanted to make something fun, something interesting.

Pepe mentioned , as a game creator and designer, you have to follow your heart even after going through many failures. This is what a great artist should possess. After all these years, Pepe always remains young in heart.

He himself played a lot of games at that time and thought those games were pretty complex . In those early days, users played games by following the instruction manuals. In Pepe’s mind, games should be simple to play, exciting to play and quick to play. That’s how Pepe came up with the idea of making a simple shooter game without manuals. And this is also the original idea for Beach Head.

 (First manuscript of Beach Head 2000, drawn in 1999)

Pepe spent a great amount of time in communicating with the programmer about what kind of game he wanted to make, even more time than he spent on game design. With only one computer, he and his team made the first Beach Head title with a file size of only 10 megabyte. The title was rewarded the most downloaded game while also the worst game of year in the the first year of launch.

How to make one successful game after another?

How could Pepe create one successful game after another? Pepe mentioned the essence of the game always remains the same. You keep the essence and do something different each time. The heart of the game never changes. It’s not about the form. As long as you understand the game principle, you understand human nature. You’ll never miss.

It’s about regardless of who and how you do it. It has to be a good game. From a design point of perspective, you think about a game people would play. Nothing is more important than that. After you have this, you can talk about the market trends and other things.

To Pepe, it’s not about the trends today. It’s about the trends tomorrow. You cannot shoot at the moving target by aiming at it. It’s a 100 percent guarantee you are not going to shoot it. You have to predict its direction.

How you dress the game, how you sell the game, how you market the game etc are those things you need to take into considerations. This is to respect the time where consumers’ trends are . You don’t design the game for consumers’ trends. You design the game you like. If people like it, you are lucky and that’s the key.

For instance, in the next generation of Beach Head games, Pepe knows that they have to create a good game mechanic, to be addictive to people and to be able to interact with each other. In the early days of Beach Head, social medias didn’t exist . Now in mobile devices, everything is changed. Everybody has games in their hands. In Beach Head before, users played it at home or at arcade. Today, everybody is connected, so they have to think of a game that not only has the gameplay but also the motivations for people to connect with each other. They want people to play Beach Head against each other , talk to their friends and challenge other people.

All in all, the game itself has always to work. People want to play. That’s one part. Technology has changed and you want to take advantage of its development.

What does Pepe think of piracy?

There were two versions of Beach Head in early days. One was box, CD-Rom, which everyone could copy. The other was downloadable one. The downloadable one was very successfull because they invented DRM (Digital Rights Management), or so-called try-before-you-buy mechanic, inside the game. It was the idea that the game was free that led to many users download the game from the Internet. Everbody knew it was free and took it, so it was everywhere. Technically, it was only three levels for free . After that, users had to purchase in order to continue to play. One great joke of the time for them was that pirates were their sales force.

When it came into China, again it was the idea of free that made the game popular. They did it very well until it was cracked.

In those days, pirates were everywhere. If you made a game that people wanted to pirate, it was technically a good thing. Pepe said they didn’t like it but they lived with it. When Pepe designed the game, he knew it was part of it. It was very tricky. On one hand, it was very disappointing of what happened. On the other hand, you took advantage of the Internet to distribute, to move things swiftly. It was kind of the price they had to pay. Pepe said they hate the companies who did it but they don’t blame the users.

Market has changed. Pepe hopes users could get the right one instead of pirated one.

(Left: Pepe Moreno, right: Luo Yi, VP of YOUXITUOLUO)

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