Is Project Windless the next PUBG? Krafton is betting big on this one

August 26, 2021

Krafton is best known as the company behind PUBG, taking the scrappy battle royale and turning it into something much bigger thanks to mobile versions, surprisingly expansive lore, and soon even a horror spinoff. Now the company is hoping to build the next big fantasy series after licensing the Korean novel The Bird That Drinks Tears by Lee Yeong-do, with the goal of creating a multimedia franchise that extends to games and beyond.

“Project Windless,” as it’s known right now, is still in its earliest stages. Krafton art director Kwang Jae Son and renowned concept artist Iain McCaig — who has worked on the likes of Star Wars and Harry Potter — are currently creating what’s described as a “visual bible” for the series. “It’s basically groundwork to first bring the book to life,” Son explains.

Son described the novel, which has a focus on Korean folklore, as “The biggest charm of [Lee Yeong-do]’s works, especially The Bird That Drinks Tears, is that everything is novel. There are races where chickens and snakes are humanized, not to mention monsters from Korean folklore. Lee Yeong-do’s stories introduce a diverse element of novelty and each element organically interacts to create a unique world. It is difficult to visualize all these elements, but I am always mesmerized by the originality of the world he created.

The beauty of this world is that it tells stories with contradictions and paradoxes. The greatest beings leave their ugliest traces, and those that you truly loved betray you. These extreme pieces of the story throw questions to the readers, which makes the book’s themes more resonant and personal. It’s quite philosophical and can be analyzed and interpreted in a variety of ways. You could find that these elements make the novel challenging, but I think that that’s what make it even greater. Depending on the values a reader holds, the theme constantly changes.”

According to McCaig, the process of visualizing the novel is similar to work he’s done in the past. “I always look for through-lines — things that connect and run throughout the entire saga — and visual themes that we can build upon and pay off later, too,” he says. “It’s part detective work, part archaeology, part treasure hunt.” The visual bible is still being worked on, and the duo expect to complete it by the end of the year. “The visual bible for The Bird That Drinks Tears will be provided to various artists, writers, and directors who will expand this work, so we are concentrating on building the world based on the story, character, and understanding of the original novel,” says Son.

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016 and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.