‘Miko Note’, a mobile RPG developed by domestic developer Madoka and being prepared with Japanese publisher Drecom, is a game that focuses on the subject of ‘shaman’, which is common in subculture but not major in Korea. It is set in the near future where a demon called ‘Noroi’ threatens the world, and it depicts the activities of shamans fighting against them.
Although rare these days, the shaman has been a regular subject in Japanese-style works that fight against youkai. Or even in everyday life, sometimes hatsumodera was introduced as a way of giving out fortune telling when visiting a shrine on New Year’s Eve, or one of the heroines doing a part-time job as a shaman.
Concentrating on the subject matter of shaman appearing in various subcultures like this, Mikonott captures the battles and daily lives of shamans at the same time. ‘Miko Note’, which deals with the story of shamans and the main character, who usually go to school or clean a shrine, spend their daily lives, but borrow the power of the gods to fight against when Noroi appears, is being quenched for the last time before its release in Japan this winter.
Why did Mykonot choose the subject of a shaman, and what kind of charm will it present to users? We were able to hear stories from Naji-woong, CEO of Madoka, and Okamoto PD of Drecom and Kato PD of Gigbeing.
Mykonot draws a new daily life and battle with shaman
A new look of shamans who are mysterious and deeply related to everyday life will be presented.
Q. Before the interview, please introduce yourself briefly.
Representative Nai-woong: This is Naji-woong, the CEO of Madoka, who is in charge of the development of Mykonot.
Kato PD: This is Kato, a development PD and a bridge between Korean developers and Japanese publishers. I have been involved in the development of Myconnote since before, and I am happy to introduce it to users like this.
Okamoto PD: This is Drecom’s Okamoto PD. I’m in charge of publishing Mykonot’s Japanese server.
Q. When did you start developing Mykonot?
Representative Nai-woong: The original project itself was supposed to be released in 2019, but circumstances arose. After that, after signing a contract with Drecom and collaborating with it, we are preparing for release. It has been in development for about 3 years.
Q. It is unusual that you paid attention to the subject matter of a shaman. Is there any reason that led you to pay attention to this subject?
Representative Nai-woong: If you look at shamans in subcultures, they are the kind of beings who protect the gentleman and allies while warding off bad luck. And there is a mysterious image that is a bit far from everyday life. Wouldn’t shamans, who are mysterious beings who protect their daily lives, have their own daily lives? I thought it would be interesting to draw pictures of them living their daily lives.
In fact, among the subcultures known in Korea, there aren’t many shamans who are the main characters, so it’s not a major one. However, in our development team, there are many people who are obsessed with the subject matter of shamanism, so naturally, some eyes have been drawn to that.
In Korea, it is a material that is only encountered in some animations, novels, and some games, but it is a material that is relatively exposed in Japan and is also used in daily life. So, if you focus on this, I thought that people who have been interested in the subculture field for a long time will look at it with affection, or it will feel fresh to those who have recently entered the field.
Q. You emphasized not only the subject matter of shaman, but also ‘everyday life’ with them, I wonder how you captured the daily life with the characters.
Representative Nai-woong: In Japan, Magical Girl Madoka Magica and that type of work are called the new everyday world, and I think it’s closer to that. To be more specific, magical girls with certain mysterious powers appear in the midst of turbulence in daily life.
Our in-house creators like that kind of work, so that drew our attention. And recently, the thought that ‘everyday life’ can be easily shaken has made me pay more attention to the potential of this material. Before 2020, I never thought I would be walking around wearing a mask like this now. Everyday life, such as taking off the mask and freely walking around events like game shows, browsing events, drinking and playing late into the night with friends, or traveling has become a precious thing. As a result, I want to show the importance of everyday life, which was taken for granted in the past, and I am approaching it with this feeling.
Kato PD: We talked a lot with CEO Na Ji-woong about new everyday objects such as Madoka. In the process, I focused on the subject of ‘shaman’. To the general public, a shaman is a being that is separated from everyday life and is shrouded in a veil. I thought about how much fun it would be to live and spend everyday with such shamans.
Here, I wanted to create more synergy by combining these materials with a shaman, such as teenagers, youth, and cute girls. I thought that it would be interesting to share our daily lives with people we don’t see often in real life, and to draw a picture of us going through various things in our lives.
Q. This is a work dealing with the rare ‘shaman’ and ‘everyday life’. Could you introduce a little more about the worldview and background of the work?
Okamoto PD: To introduce a little more about the worldview, let’s say that it is the near future in which demons called ‘Noroi’ have taken over the world. In such a situation, shamans who want to save the world by fighting against Noroi appear, and an organization called ‘Zero’, where they gather, becomes the core of the game. The zero institution is an advanced form of a gentleman, and you can think of it as a great noroi institution.
The shaman’s main task is to fight against the Noroi by borrowing the power of the gods, but when the Noroi do not appear, they each spend their daily lives. It’s like working as a gentleman or attending school and enjoying your daily life, and when Noroi appears, you go out to fight it. By analogy, the kid who went to school is actually a shaman who fights against evil spirits? Would it feel like this? Sometimes she is an ordinary girl, but please look forward to the performances of the shaman who use the power of the gods to subdue demons and keep their daily lives.
Q. So far, three main characters have been introduced, but how many characters will appear in the release version?
Representative Nai-woong: First of all, we introduce to users mainly Yumi, Kanon, and Ren, who appeared as the main characters from the beginning. After that, other characters will appear, but we plan to release them step by step according to the Japanese server schedule.
Q. If you look at the PV released on October 28th, not only your daily life but also battles with enemies are foretold. Please briefly introduce the enemies that players and shamans will fight against in the future. And how is the battle going?
Representative Nai-woong: The existence of ‘Noroi’ can be seen as literally an original demon or a demon that has arisen for some reason. Each situation has a different cause, and they press the players and shamans in different ways. As for the typical noroi, there are also types of noroi such as the famous yokai ‘Nekomata’ and Onihime in Japan.
Kato PD: Although ‘Noroi’ is a hostile force, they also have a relationship with shamans, so they are not unconditionally annihilated, but sometimes reconcile. This part is also linked to the story, so it’s difficult to go into detail, but in any case, combat is also important in this regard.
The keyword for battle is 3D cartoon rendering, and basically, as they are shamans, they borrow the power of the gods to fight. We tried to bring out the powerful feeling of the skill that is expressed by the power of the gods through splendid directing and effects.
How did you capture the charm of the subject matter of a shaman?
The story of opening each other’s hearts in ordinary daily life, the shining charm of girls who run with their own will
Q. These days, in subculture games, characters often refer to users as commanders, commanders, doctors, teachers, etc., but what do the characters call them in Mykonot? And what kind of relationship do you have with users?
Representative Nai-woong: Since it’s a game related to a shaman, it’s called ‘Saniwa’. It is a word that refers to a person who receives an oracle from God and solves it. In Korean, what is a priest? You could say it’s similar to that.
Okamoto PD: In the movie, it is said that the shaman borrows the power of the gods to fight, but Saniwa is the being who is sent by the gods so that he can borrow that power.
As it is related to the story, to explain only the introductory part, the worldview of this Mykonot itself is a situation in which Noroi has spread all over the world due to an event that happened in Tokyo in the past. The main character is a survivor who has managed to return from a world where Noroi has spread. In that situation, he accidentally comes into contact with a shaman and realizes his power while helping them. Then, you will engage in the battle to save the world with the shaman, you can see it like this.
Q. Is there any point that differentiates Mykonot from other mobile RPGs?
Representative Nai-woong: In addition to combat, the focus was on living with the characters in their daily lives. It is also introduced in the direction that users can enjoy daily life in a space called a shrine. “Everyday at a shrine” is the catchphrase.
Okamoto PD: Mykonot’s unique worldview is the point of differentiation. Other than that, the point that differentiates it from other subculture games is the axis, depth, and method of upbringing. In general, in mobile RPGs, you need to get a good SSR character, or even if you can raise your character to SSR, it’s a direction that ends for a while. Rather, we are pursuing the fun of nurturing our favorite characters in various ways and in depth.
Q. Could you introduce the details to stimulate not only the character but also the spirit of virtue?
Representative Nai-woong: We have prepared a variety of costumes, accessories, and costumes so that you can customize your character in a variety of ways. Apparently, it was released in Japan first, and the main background is Japan, so all the gods I meet are Japanese gods.
Other than that, I think it would be fun to look for details by taking care of the details even in places you can’t see them.
Q. In addition to the recent trend of mobile RPGs, the mobile RPG trend is adopting a sub-game style that only turns on briefly and completes homework, such as daily quests, as quickly as possible.
Representative Nai-woong: It is a design that is close to the sub-game that is often referred to. Even then, it’s a routine similar to the prikone style, where you have to work hard when running with a core.
Q. If you could pick out the main content in the game as well as your daily life, what would it be?
Representative Nai-woong: First of all, there is ‘Miko Talk’ where you can interact with the shaman. These days, there are a lot of conversations in the form of messengers, so you might think of them as messengers, but it is not. It’s content that selects one of the shamans, talks with the shaman, and raises the affinity of the shaman. And each shaman has a character scenario, and by looking at the character scenario, you can find out why they became shaman and what they went through, etc.
In addition, various contents are prepared, which will be released one by one according to the Japanese schedule.
Q. You plan to release it in Japan this winter. Do you have any plans to expand your service area to other countries?
Representative Nai-woong: First of all, we want to focus on Japanese services. I want to show it to other countries as soon as possible, but I think the most important thing is to put out quality content with sincerity. So, after receiving feedback from service in Japan and stabilizing it through verification, we want to move forward gradually.
As for Mykonot’s ultimate goal, it’s not just a game, it’s the foundation of the media mix and moving forward with culture. In Japan, there are many cases in which animation has become a culture through various events, such as Uma Musume and Fate/Grand Order. Do you want to follow in the footsteps of such a role model? Of course, to say that it would be that big would be a little daunting.
Still, even on a small scale, we want to go to the stage where we can take care of users, hold events, build a culture and community that we cultivate together with users, and enjoy the media mix.
Q. If you could describe the charm of the Mykonot characters in one word?
Representative Nai-woong: It is not only a cute appearance, but also a friend-like charm that holds each story in mind and overcomes them. Sometimes, there are cases where you have to watch from the side because you are pressed by the weight of the story. We want to show that charm, where users hold hands and move forward together with girls with stories like that.
Kato PD: These days, more and more people live alone, and as a result, the feeling of enjoying life together seems to have disappeared a lot. So, I wanted to be able to feel the joy of everyday life with someone, even in games. We focused on the feeling of growing up while enjoying everyday life with girls, so I hope you enjoy its charm.
Okamoto PD: Mykonot’s character doesn’t just capture the feeling of ‘Moe’. Gratitude for the shaman who fights against the threat of Noroi, and their loveliness, things like that are the basis.
If you look at the story of each shaman, they face difficulties and troubles, and they work hard to solve them. I wonder if I can feel the sparkling charm of the girls running forward like that.
Q. Lastly, would you like to say a word to users?
Representative Nai-woong: After many twists and turns, I am now prepared to some extent and able to greet you. It is serviced in Japan first, and there are a lot of Japanese-related content because it was prepared in the Japanese region at the beginning. After that, we plan to expand our view of the world by taking care of various materials from other regions.
I know that not only Korean users who enjoy various mobile games while staying in Japan, but also many users in Korea who try to play a new game before its release in Japan when it is released in Japan. We are waiting for your sober feedback.
Kato PD: It’s been about two and a half years, but I’m preparing properly as I’ve made you wait a lot. In Korea, we are struggling in various ways to show good games, and Drecom is also trying to provide good services based on a high understanding of subculture. Please look forward to it.
Okamoto PD: We are working hard to present a work that exceeds the expectations of all of you who have been waiting for Mykonot. We are meticulously managed down to the smallest detail, and we strive to make it enjoyable for many people in Japan and around the world. Take good care of me.