Spotlight on Leeanne M. Krecic: Let's Play and What's Next

At her panel on the final day of New York Comic Con 2023, Leeanne M. Krecic candidly answered questions about her work, interests, and what to expect from her in the coming months. As a reader and fan of her work, the insight provided was both enlightening and fun to listen to.

On the last day of NYCC 2023, Rocketship Entertainment hosted a panel spotlighting the creator of the immensely popular webtoon Let’s Play. This romantic drama series about a love triangle in the world of game developers has racked up over 680 million views and over 1 million subscribers on Naver’s WEBTOON app.

Krecic’s NYCC spotlight panel was moderated by Tom Akel, CEO and Publisher of Rocketship Entertainment and included guest panelists Linda Sejic, creator of Punderworld and Blood Stain; Sungho Lee, head of Business Development for US and EU for Manta Comics, and Leeanne M. Krecic herself!

The highlight of the panel was the announcement of a new fantasy romance series by Krecic launching next year on Manta called Dragon King Oath. They also announced an anime adaptation of Let’s Play that’s being produced by OLM, Inc. On top of that, they also announced a new omnibus edition of Let’s Play that will collect the entire first season in a single printed book. Below is a transcript of the Q&A session of the panel after the announcements were made.

AKEL: So at this point, we can open it up for questions.

Q: So I just started reading Let’s Play about a couple months ago, I think in January. It was something that I was just reading on my commute to work, and I just quickly fell in love with the series. I thought the characters were all so human. There was something about your storytelling that really resonated with me, so I wanted to thank you very much. I wanted to ask what was the inspiration for making the guy who speaks Welsh, Charles.

KRECIC: The inspiration behind Charles? There are two things. One is his name, it actually comes from Charles Emerson Winchester from MAS*H. He’s a very dapper Bostonian, blonde kind of gentleman.

And then one of the reasons why I picked Welsh was that I have family from Wales. I’m actually from the Midwest, born and raised, but I always feel like Wales is kind of like our Midwest in the US to the UK. A lot of people think the Midwest is flyover country, or a bunch of hicks, and I feel like that can really relate to people in Wales. So I love the idea of this gentleman, who is from Wales, but he is dapper; he is gentlemanly; and the exact opposite of negative stereotypes that people have about people from Wales. I think that a lot of people who learn about his character really find it interesting and fascinating, like “I want to learn more about Wales because it seems like a really cool place.” So it’s kind of there to drum up some interest, and I love to hear it really.

Q: Well, it worked!

KRECIC: Thank you!

Q: I’m actually very interested in Dragon King Oath! Can you tell us if it’ll be one season, or more than one?

Leeann M. Krecic's Dragon King Oath, exclusively on Manta

KRECIC: I believe that’s gonna be broken down into two seasons. I already have the story plotted out for 100 episodes. I do want to return the Let’s Play and finish it. If there is interest in Dragon King Oath, then I might do a spin off or continuation of it. It’s set up that there could be multiple plots, especially in the world.

Q: So, how should we prepare for that? Do we download the app now? Will we get notifications on it when it releases?

KRECIC: That’s a great question. (looks at Sungho) 

LEE: So we are actually working with her to find the right way to introduce this great comic to you guys. So stay tuned, we’ll be reaching out through her communities and channel, and our channels as well to lead up to the moment it becomes available.

KRECIC: And if you haven’t checked out Manta, I would check it out! I actually signed up with the platform because I actually enjoyed Manta, and I liked their (subscription) model and how its structured. I have really enjoyed working with the team–just like their care and consideration. I’ve been very pleased working with them. So if you haven’t already checked out Manta, I would highly recommend to go download it now.

AKEL: And just tell tell you about the subscription model, it’s like all you can eat on a monthly subscription for everything on the platform.

LEE: It’s unlimited access to more than 200,000 episodes.

AKEL: For the flat subscription fee ($4.99/month).

Q: I love when reading Let’s Play, the emotions that they’re feeling get represented. Like they get anthropomorphized or some kind of visual to them. One I think of is when Charles’s control has changed. Like yes, we are going to break these chains. I love all that representation of just what you’re feeling. What does what it looks like, when anxiety hits, where did that come from? Because it’s just so compelling!

KRECIC: One of the inspirations behind basically making them personifications of the story is because I used to struggle all the time with anxiety when I was younger. Depression also runs in my family, but I think that’s like we need a firmware update. That’s what’s going on when it comes to depression, but I never felt like depression was me. Or that anxiety was me. It was like something I had to battle. So it was easier for me to think that’s something I have to live with. It’s not who I am.

So in a visual sense with the comments, I made them these personifications because it’s as if sometimes I really just feel like they’re working around you, waiting for you to be vulnerable to attack. It felt like it was so much easier to show what they’re struggling with and how they deal with it–but also make it comical in some ways because it really can’t be absurd to some degree. So that was a lot of the inspiration for it. 

Q: Mental health is really important in this comic, but there’s also physical health like how Sam has asthma–how she was born, and I think with Marshall’s heart condition. What was the research like? Did you have a doctor on the side that could help me out with that?

KRECIC: Well, I do have a therapist that I consult with for the mental health side because I don’t want to give advice that is potentially harmful. So I have a clear, professional opinion in that regard.

So for Sam’s failing health in terms of respiratory issues, that was actually based on a young woman who I was very close with as a friend, like a little sister to me. She was born with horrible scoliosis. She had a lot of problems with her breathing capabilities, and she passed about a year and a half before I started working on this. And so Sam’s struggle with her respiratory system is somewhat based on her struggle, because for me, it’s a way for my friend to live on. She was only 19 when she passed away, and now she’s kind of living as an adult. What would her life have been like if she had overcome it?

The sort of thing with Marshall’s was takotsubo cardiomyopathy. It’s basically brokenhearted syndrome. I felt like that was a very interesting human element. If anybody who’s going to be afflicted by that, it’s going to be the person who is like 80% Golden Retriever energy. Because all he wants is to make everybody happy, and his happiness always comes last. However, I will say that the hereditary aspect of his condition will be relevant in the future. 

Q: Hi, I just want to first say thank you so much for creating Let’s Play. You know, just to keep going with it, it’s a very beautiful bright spot in my life. I love the emotions. And so I know you might be able to answer this question, but will they still be in the animated version? Would they still be like a very big part of it?

AKEL: Well, you know, in any adaptation, it’s gonna have its own team. So that team is going to define some of those things. But I think obviously, the intent here is to be as true to the series as completely possible, while still making it work. The same way you can see a Marvel film adapted from a comic book. That’s kind of the best answer we can get.

KRECIC: It’s a great question. But there’s a confidential curtain. Thank you.

Q: Hi, hello, thank you for everything. I’m really excited for the new series. Just kind of seeing the artwork and similarities between characters but also a lot of differences. Is there like a certain trope that you really like to enjoy besides that romantic fantasy, or maybe plotline like to work with?

KRECIC: I mean, I love painting stereotypes and turning them on their head. Like with Let’s Play, we had Monica when she debuted, I think it was episode 12. If you looked at the comments when she released everybody’s all, “Oh my god, don’t stand too close to heat honey, plastic melts!” And that was the top voted comment on that episode.

Then we come to find out she’s actually a pretty cool person who’s taking care of Sam and helping her become an adult. You go back to that episode on Webtoon, and most of the comments have been deleted. It’s just tons of them.

And I love having these characters that come out where people get like, “I got your number I know exactly what you are,” and then you’re like, “What a cool idea,” and I just kind of I enjoy doing that. I love anime, I love manga, but I do think it can be very formulaic sometimes, and I do like to kind of nod at it and play off of that. I would love breaking the fourth wall like the Kool Aid man, just slamming right through it into dust. I’m probably not going to do that much Dragon King Oath at all, because it’s more of a contained fantasy environment. For Let’s Play, I feel like we’re all just kind of playing the game.

Q: I really love your artwork, I read every episode so I’m really happy that you’re doing a very different story now. I know that when Let’s Play first started it was more wholesome and then afterwards it got more spicy, what kind of caused that shift?

KRECIC: I always planned on it being spicy. Before I had become an untouchable creator, they approached me and asked where I wanted to take it, so I asked “is that cool?” And they’re like “Yeah, that’s cool.” But I didn’t want to just be like “boom, spice!” right out the window, right at the beginning because I just love the slow burn.

I think for a long time I was trying to respect the 14-and-up aspect of it. Then after we started dealing with a lot more adult–I don’t say adult in an erotic sense–but you know, careers, marriage and those issues that it just started becoming more focused on an older audience in that respect.

Once it was flagged as an 18+ series, I’m like, “alright, well, I’m feeling 18 and I’m now might as well lean into it.” So that’s why I kind of went there, if I’m not worried about the 14 age range anymore, then I’m gonna appeal to the older audience.

Q: Oh, by the way, I love the the spice! Wasn’t complaining about it!

Q: I love the whole confidence that sparkles from Sam, thank you. Hi, I remember you from last year. I went up to your booth and I was so excited to see you there, and I got your autograph.

I don’t know if you’re able to answer this, but I know that you’re working with Manta now. What does that mean for your 100 and something episodes (of Let’s Play) on Webtoon? Are those going to be taken off and put on Manta? Or are they just going to continue to stay there?

AKEL: So there is no Platinum Partner for Let’s Play season four. So where that will be hosted, I sincerely don’t know yet. When that decision is made, we’ll get to decide what she wants to do with existing content. But the new series is on Manta, though. Thank you for the question.

Q: Um, question about age range, you just brought up for Let’s Play, but what will it be for Dragon King Oath?

KRECIC: I don’t know fully. There’s gonna be themes and plot points that I just don’t feel like the 14 to 16 age range (of reader) or a teenager would really fully be able to grasp, or enjoy as much; but I don’t plan on it being erotic or anything like that. So I would, I would say comfortably 16. Not just so they can understand the story or an aspect of it. 

Q: I’ve been having this debate with a lot of my friends, the hearts on Let’s Play logo. Whose hearts are they? Are they Sam, because I’ve seen them come alive with Charles when he let his guard down–the heart came back up? I’m very confused about this one aspect.

KRECIC: Very good question. So when we see hearts, hearts are dependent on the individual. So Charles has hearts that are different from Sam’s hearts. Those hearts in the title I’m never gonna say who they belong to. Everybody’s hearts are dependent on different things. Sam’s is self confidence. So when she feels more confident she gets more hearts, Charles’s is his ability to love, to let himself be vulnerable again. Marshall’s I believe are dark right now, hollow and that is because he is. He is overcome with grief over his own actions that he can’t even love himself right now. Then you have Link who has one massive heart that just lands on the top. That’s he’s just a big lion who has a lot of love to give, and Angela’s are encased in shields because she’s careful. So everybody’s hearts. It’s like everybody’s there representing everybody’s plot point, in a way. 

SEJIC: I always felt that Marshall’s hearts are because he was too much. And he’s not getting enough from others, to fill his energy back.

KRECIC: I know. I mean, that’s a very good way of looking at it. It’s pretty accurate actually. Spoilers.

Q: Hi, firstly, thank you for coming here. I actually started reading Let’s Play last week. For the omnibus, what will be the format? Will it be a paperback or hardcover?

AKEL: It’s definitely hardcover. We usually tend to release both formats. For this we just have a lot but either way both will be available eventually.

KRECIC: Thank you for reading, welcome to the family.

Q: So considering some of the episodes have music, are there plans to involve the music in the anime?

Slideshow image announcing that the webcomic Let's Play is getting an anime adaptation by OLM, Inc; studio behind Pokemon, Berserk (1997), and more recently Komi Can't Communicate, Summer Time Rendering, and Oddtaxi.
OLM, Inc. is a Japanese animation studio who has built their reputation through long running TV anime series such as Pokemon and Yokai-Watch, but also make seasonal shows such as Komi Can’t Communicate and Oddtaxi.

KRECIC: I can’t answer for the anime. Now I will say that the music that I wrote back in the before time, that is featured with Ruminate.

We are working on Everdate, which is in development. We are going to try, we have a composer who’s writing music for Everdate on the expansion. We’re going to take those songs and make them thematically from the composer, so we’re going to try to work them into that part. In terms of the automatic answer, that’s fine.

Q: Is there anything you can tease about the story direction of season four? Something that you’ve already thought about or worked on?

KRECIC: You know, anytime somebody asks me, “What is the big teaser you can get for season four of Let’s Play,” I’m gonna I always say there’s going to be a pregnancy scare. And then there’s a debate like okay, potential here and then someone’s like, is it Sam’s mom and that’s where I go, “No, no. No.” That’s usually what I respond with. I think that’s pretty intense tease if I’m honest.

Let's Play will return Fall 2025

AKEL: How many people are familiar with Everdate? Have you guys seen the game or not? Why don’t you explain it, Leeanne.

KRECIC: So Everdate is part visual novel, part card game. But when I say card game, it’s more like a deck builder. But I’ve been corrected. It’s not quite deck building. As you’re playing the game, you have the visual novel side where you can play any one of the canonical 12 characters Let’s Play, dating other canonical characters in there and aligning with their sexuality and things. You get to learn about these characters, like you get to date Umed and you get to learn about their likes and dislikes. So we finally get to put the spotlight on the supporting characters and learn things about them that you normally wouldn’t.

The actual date itself is a card game where you’re matching icons and affinities, and you’re overcoming challenges at locations. So like you might go to the zoo and you’re having these cards of interaction that you’re playing against, then it might start raining so you have to play cards to adjust with that. We’ve been in development, I have a team and worked things out–we actually have printouts and are playing the card aspects physically.

I think we’re really really happy with where it’s at. It was terrifying because we’re building it with Unity, and there was that bombshell that got dropped in the middle of last month. But I’m very excited with where the game is going. I think it’s gonna be great. 

Everdate - Let's Play: The Dating Game by Mongie Studios

AKEL: For those of us who started earlier this year. It’s fully funded, it’s coming out. PC and Macs, it’s everything on but PlayStation. It’ll be on on iOS, Android, Xbox, which is essentially almost every platform, except PS5 just because–

KRECIC: You have to do so many changes to software.

AKEL: Also, the beta is coming soon.

KRECIC: I think we’re sending out NDAs for the alpha testers soon.

AKEL: A retail release for that to be able to download is Spring.

Q: I started reading (Let’s Play) about a year ago. I was reading and I felt like I was catching up on stuff from years ago. I noticed that the story was very condensed, like it’s all happening, as well as the decision to not expand it over a longer period of time. Was like one week.

KRECIC: Well, I think it takes place over four months.

Q: I love it. Yeah, at the beginning it felt like it was all like a few days.

KRECIC: Yeah, it was. It absolutely was for me, when there’s a big batch of time jumps, I’m always thinking, what would happen in that time? Like how did this happen? Did these people only interact once every four weeks or what have you? It just felt to me like this chaos happened for Sam, with her game release and somebody moving in right next door to her. It all immediately needed to happen in a very short period of time. That’s how it felt natural for me.

Q: So I’m a backer for Everdate, I’m super excited. I think I’m also signed up to do the beta. This is just a general question to everyone about video games, because Linda said that she’s also a video gamer. What’s the video game that you love recommending or what are you playing right now? Especially this audience, what would you say this audience should be playing?

SEJIC: I’m playing Genshin Impact, but don’t play that, I think it will suck all your time. So I have to time myself while playing. Also, I tried Baldur’s Gate III and it’s amazing. Timing my cell phone feels bad because I have to get back to making comics. Those are the two games I currently like.

KRECIC: Yes, I too have been moved by Baldur’s Gate. I don’t have time for it. But you know what, what’s actually keeping me from playing Baldur’s Gate III all the time is that I really, really, really want to romance Gale. He’s super broken, and if he’s in your group consistently the guy falls in love with you too fast. You skip all his romance and then he just springs up with you. He doesn’t think anything about putting people on pedestals and just worships them–and I’m just like, “fine. I’ll just wait until it’s fixed,” but I don’t have the time to play unfortunately. But I do recommend Rock and Stone. Deep Rock Galactic, it’s a great game and it’s you get it done in like 15 minutes.

SEJIC: I was trying to romance Astarion, and Gail just kept interrupting.

LEE: So I have a 13-year old son, and I was trying to talk to him about a game. He was like “Dad, I’m disappointed” He likes Valorant, like FPS games. He says I’m not allowed to play any kind of game!

AKEL: I play games on my phone, mostly. A lot of mobile games, like when Marvel Snap came out I said, “you know. I’m probably gonna play this game.” But my son loves Baldur’s Gate III. He literally comes down while I’m at my desk trying to get work done and starts going and telling me everything that’s happening in the game. I feel almost obligated to be a good father. I’m going to have to play that game.

AKEL: Yeah I haven’t really played Baldur’s Gate since it was on like, Windows 3.2. 

Q: Great answers! I wanted to recommend Stray Gods.

AKEL: Five minutes left. Any other questions? I think we might still have a few.

Q: So okay, romance, it’s a giant part of all of these things. What would you say is one of the best romance stories that you’ve heard, like a movie or comic or what have you and what do you think is one of the worst?

KRECIC: Uhh, I mean, not a huge fan of Twilight…  I tried… The best romance story?

AKEL: You have to say your husband…

KRECIC: My husband! Is the finest ever told! We met while playing Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, and we were best friends for years. Then we were both single and started dating and we’ve been 19 years. 

Q: [clapping]

Say I Love You vol. 1 by Kanae Hazuki
Say I Love You. © Kanae Hazuki/Kodansha Ltd.

KRECIC: but yeah, I love manga romance. Say I Love You (by Kanae Hazuki, from Kodansha) is nice if I’m honest. I enjoy the anime too, and there’s there’s a lot of good ones but I do think Say I Love You guys has a nice place in my heart

Q: Specifically because you brought up Romance Fantasy earlier–I read a lot of romance fantasy too, like on every platform, especially Manta, like Under The Oak Tree is one of my favorites.

KRECIC: Great! Yeah, I was reading that. And when Manta contacted me I was like, “Do you know the creator?” 

Q: That’s awesome! Do you have any recommendations for that specific sphere of comics? 

KRECIC: Well, okay, oh, shoot. I wish I looked at that. There’s a series that just wrapped up on Manta, maybe you remember the title, a young woman has half her face burnt?

LEE: Oh, yeah, The Tainted Half

A drawn artwork showing the profile of a woman holding a knife to a long-haired muscular man's neck as he wraps his hand in her hair, and another blade is being pointed at her from above.
Cover art for The Tainted Half, available on the Manta app

KRECIC: It’s actually a really interesting story. If you have a woman who is legendary, like a descendant of basically angels, that came from it’s Korean. What would you say that era is called referred to as historical Korea. She is supposed to be descended on these angels. This Emperor wishes to make her part of his harem. When she arrives, half her face has been burned, so he wanted her because she was a legendary beauty, but her mother burned her face before she was taken away. Then her people were all killed, so she’s the last one. There’s a lot of parts of that story that I was like, “Whoa,” because some of the reveals and that’s great! And the art is amazing. So I would highly recommend to all look that up.

AKEL: Everyone download Manta!

KRECIC: I really like the platform. One of the things as a creator that I really appreciate is that you can’t leave comments on it. I know that may sound weird, as a consumer that may sound kind of bad. But it can be really hard for creators with feedback because it can really just eat away at your soul. You could just say “don’t read the feedback,” but then you’re still gonna read the feedback anyway. The stuff that squeaks through is usually the really squeaky wheels, which is like really angry, upset people.

SEJIC: Sometimes you will get a lot of comments and there will be just one comment that really hits you. And then you’re trying to recover from it for like two days

KRECIC: I mean, it’s, you know, I had conversations with the San Diego Comic Con with a teacher who teaches high school creative writing, and he said, “Do you have any advice that I could give my students?” I said, “How do you give critique to your students for their story?” Because when we sit together, we, you know, give a compliment sandwich. We tell them what you like, and then what they could do better. And then we followed up with another compliment and I’m like, “Cool. That’s not the real world.”

Now I’m not saying put them in a roundtable and make them cry! But it would be great to say, just so you understand. This is an academic, controlled environment, and people in the real world are not going to care about your feelings. They’re going to misinterpret something you wrote or said, or they’re going to look for the negative when it’s not there. They’re gonna just try to take you down a peg. And really, ultimately, it’s not you, it’s them.

AKEL: So I went out to art school at Parsons, and they did not hold back. But it’s good, it steels you for that.

KRECIC: I just think that preparing young writers is very important, because it can be draining when you’re not prepared. The internet’s a very hostile place right now for the chronically online, and I think that the world needs a lot of love right now. If you can control your consumption of feedback, so it doesn’t tear down your creative energy or motivation and things like that, it can help a lot.

LEE: From my perspective, we have a Korean version of these comics platforms. There’s normally a comment section, as you mentioned, and there are hostile sorts of comments, but there’s no way around it in Korea. If it’s removed, my company will fail the very next day. So, it’s almost impossible to remove the comments but obviously we learned that it’s a net good for creators, even for readers, right?

With Manta, the idea is to meet demand with a kind of clean environment, where everyone can come and enjoy the content. A place where they’re coming to the platform just to read instead of wasting your time judging somebody or going “why are you reading this? You shouldn’t read this” and stuff like that which is happening in other places.

AKEL: That’s why we have Reddit, right?

KRECIC: Yeah, I have my Subreddits curated like, “dads who did not want pets” and “tough guys holding pets”

AKEL: I think we are really good on time, like 60 seconds left. So just before we get out of here, is there anything else that you guys want to say? I know where you are, like Linda, where are you in this alley?

SEJIC: K-27, that’s the number of the table

KRECIC: I’m on multiple social medias. Except I’m moving away from Twitter for obvious reasons, and I wanted to thank everybody so much for coming to the panel. I really appreciate it and thanks for bringing my work.

LEE: Download Manta right now! You can be the first to get updates on Dragon King Oath!

AKEL: Thank you all so much for coming. We hope you’re excited by these announcements and enjoy the rest of the convention.

You can get the latest updates on Leeann Krecic‘s projects at her website, For what’s next with her book and game projects, visit Rocketship Entertainment.  And to hear first when Dragon King Oath will debut on Manta and to enjoy all-you-can-read webtoons from your mobile devices, visit