How Kartrider: Drift Teamed Up With Blackpink For The Ultimate K-Pop Crossover

Summary

  • Blackpink comes to KartRider: Drift with specially designed characters, karts, and cosmetics
  • Mainstream collaboration aims to catapult the KartRider franchise to new players
  • Interview with KartRider: Drift director Jaewoo Seo to discuss the why, how, and what of the collaboration

The Kartrider franchise is almost 20 years old, and what better way to celebrate than with the biggest collaboration the series has ever seen, with Blackpink entering the fray in KartRider: Drift?

That’s right, K-pop sensations Blackpink are joining KartRider: Drift for Season 5, hitting the tracks and burning rubber with a Blackpink collab exclusive supercar. From headlining Coachella music festival to hitting number 1 on the UK and US album charts, Jisoo, Jennie, Rose, and Lisa have done it all. And now, they’re donning racing gear in KartRider: Drift.

To mark the occasion, I spoke to the director of KartRider: Drift, Jaewoo Seo, to get a bit of insight into the thinking behind the collaboration.

Behind the Scenes

Getting one of the most popular K-pop groups in the world involved in your game is no easy task, so the success of the collaboration really shows just how far the franchise has come.

“As the original game was loved by players for a long time, we’re always thinking about what collaborations would provide users with new kinds of enjoyment,” Seo says. “The enormous popularity of the game  in Korea, along with the global superstardom of Blackpink, offers the perfect opportunity to spread the KartRider: Drift word around the world. The global audience really resonates with the phenomena of Blackpink. The fact that the game IP is loved by so many people in Korea was the foundation to making this collaboration happen.”

The Design Process

From there, it’s all about the teamwork between the partner and the KartRider: Drift team. Seo says there’s a lot that both teams have to get right, from the deal being signed right up to seeing Blackpink in-game.

“Once a collaboration partner is selected, we create in-game assets such as characters and karts through a collaborative process involving planning, art, business decisions, and marketing material to ensure that the assets are created in a way that utilizes the partner brand’s image and strengths, and blends seamlessly with KartRider: Drift.”

It isn’t just about creating a couple of characters and karts, though. To bring Blackpink to life in KartRider: Drift, the team had to dig deeper into the individual personalities of the band members. That’s what drew fans to Blackpink, after all.

“We didn’t just create game characters similar to each Blackpink member,” Seo explains. We worked hard to analyze their characteristics, habits, mannerisms, and tastes so that we can incorporate them into the game characters.”

There also has to be constant contact with YG Entertainment, the IP holder, to ensure that KartRider: Drift is creating the characters, karts, decals, emotes and other assets according to the original Blackpink vision, too. It takes a lot to represent pop stars properly, so with this particular collaboration, communication is key.

Blackpink in-Game

So, how does the biggest girl group in the world actually look in KartRider: Drift? As mentioned, the team worked hard to get not only the style of Blackpink right, but the vibe, too.

Here’s how it came out. Pretty good, right?

The Future of Game Collabarations

With Blackpink coming to KartRider: Drift, the only other question is what could possibly be next for the franchise? Seo isn’t giving too much away, but we hope to be able to share more exciting partnerships going forward. 

“For KartRider: Drift, the perfect collaboration is one that can be enjoyed by as many players as possible that love the game. Just as the original game often collaborated with well-known brands, KartRider: Drift,  is always open to collaborating with brands that are recognized in the global market,” Seo adds.

“We’re always looking out for recognized global brands to work with, so stay tuned for what KartRider: Drift has in store going forward.”

Play KartRider: Drift for free now for cross-platform karting action with Blackpink!

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KartRider: Drift is the only online free-to-play, cross-platform kart racer with deep kart and character customization in stunning high-definition and vibrant Dolby Atmos®. Eight players can race online in up to teams of four and face off in item or drift focused races with karts and characters you personalize.

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Source: Xbox Blog