Nexon talks KartRider: Drift

Announced at X019, Nexon America’s KartRider: Drift is a cross-platform, kart racer coming to Xbox One, Steam and Nexon Launcher. Originally launched for PC in 2004, KartRider has 300 million players across Asia. In South Korea, KartRider is an esports drawcard and with the move to Xbox One, KartRider: Drift has the potential to be the biggest game in the franchise yet.

Meant to players the ability to express themselves through customisation and cosmetics, KartRider allows for custom karts and characters.

We had the chance to chat to the developers of KartRider: Drift and learn all about their plans, hopes and thoughts for the game.

KartRider: Drift

PowerUp! -How different is it creating a game for PC vs Xbox One and also making it cross-platform?

Nexon – The biggest difference is the feel of the controls. The original KartRider’s controls are focused around keyboard entries. Whereas, most Xbox players use a controller.

It’s important for us to create the best experience for players using a controller while making sure there’s no difference between them and the players using a keyboard.

For cross-platform play, it’s important to ensure everything is balanced so there’s no loss or benefit based on the platform. We’re also doing our best to create a matchmaking system that’s based on skill level in order to meet our goal.

PowerUp! – What makes KartRider: Drift a good fit for console?

Nexon – KartRider: Drift is a game that is easy to learn, and offers easy controls allowing families to enjoy together.

This is what makes it a good fit for console. Players can also express their personality through kart and character customizations.

PowerUp! – Do you think you can recreate the game’s success outside of Asia?

Nexon – Our hope is that players worldwide will enjoy KartRider: Drift. Based on our 15 years of content and live operations experience, we truly hope that KartRider: Drift will become a game in which players around the globe will love and grow to master as they enjoy it with friends, family and players across the world.

PowerUp! – What draws people to KartRider?

Out of all the reasons why fans continue to play the game for so long, we can tell you the three main reasons we think why KartRider continues to succeed:

  1. It’s a game that is easy to pick-up, but very competitive
  2. A short game that maintains high excitement and can enjoy with anyone
  3. An exciting game to watch, and is full of customization with seasonal updates

PowerUp! – Of the 300 million players that play, how many do you see returning often versus those who play more casually?

Nexon – It’s about evenly split.

KartRider’s motto is “easy to learn, hard to master,” and about half of players prefer to race casually. Item Mode is a very popular mode that players enjoy, but many go for the challenge in Speed Mode mastering multiple drift techniques.

In order to use drift correctly at the right time, a lot of practice is needed.

PowerUp! – How does KartRider: Drift differentiate itself from other Kart Games, Mario Kart for example?

Nexon – KartRider: Drift touts many different customisation tools as well as the intense competitive drifting available in Speed Mode. For instance, Speed Mode strips away the RNG item system and focuses on the essence of KartRider: Drift; skill-based racing.

While KartRider: Drift offers the fun of competitive kart racing, it gives players the option to try different modes depending on their preference. 

PowerUp! – Are there plans to release KartRider: Drift on other platforms in the future; PS4, Switch, SmartPhone?

Nexon – We are focused on the PC and Xbox versions of the game at the moment, however, we are open to future possibilities and reviewing all the options

PowerUp! – Do you think the game could support esports in other regions?

Nexon – We definitely see the potential for an esports scene around KartRider: Drift, however part of why the scene around KartRider in Korea is so successful is that it grew organically around the game. In our opinion, successful scenes only develop in this way.

As such, we’ll support any esports growth around the game, there will be ranked matches for example, but we aren’t looking to try and artificially build any esports scene around this new game.

Thanks to Nexon for chatting with us.

Leo Stevenson
Leo Stevenson
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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