This Is Game Interview: 47 Q&A Part 2

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PD Jae-Hyun Bae

Production Director of B&S Jae-Hyun Bae

Q25: In the trailer, a character grew something from his back as he was casting a skill.
Bae: The Gon race’s race-specific skill triggered it.  I would like to make the race-specific skills varied and deep.  The scene–towards the end of the video–in which the girl is surrounded by flowers is also a race-specific skill. If you look closely, you will see some characters(especially a female midget) and others that are not introduced yet.

Q26: There are a lot of components to action(PVP).  What are you focusing on the most?
Bae: The extent to which player can control in relation to the time and situation is very important.  The state(defense, parry, position) between the opponent and yourself and your interaction is also crucial.  We will develop the game with these thoughts in mind.
Kim: There’s an emphasis on feedback between characters.  We will show players a variety of actions.  Tactics matter and the combats will take your breath away.

Q27: Do characters’ body parts take different damage?
Bae: No. However, the attack angle matters.  The damage will depend on from which position you are attacking the opponent.

Q28: The video only shows one-sided attacks.  Is it filmed that way, or is the combat turn-based?
Bae: We were controlling the characters during the filming.  It’s too difficult to film when both characters are fighting.  For the purpose of the trailer, we filmed one sided attack.  The actual game scenes will be packed with intensive actions.  Players must move constantly and use skills strategically.
Kim: As I said earlier, the developers were playing against one another.  There are times when players attack each other [in game] simultaneously; the first blow might give an advantage to the player.

Q29: Skill effects are very stylish.  It seems like the combat took a long time due to the amount of animation.
Bae: You could say that. However, the trailer shows skills used in succession.  I am not sure if they are considered combos, but, definitely, more than one skill was used.  Blade & Soul have a short combat period compared to other MMOPRGs.

Q30: Regarding the attack on the opponent on ground, is that skill only available when the opponent character is in the state of “confusion”?
Bae: We are testing with different implementations.

Q31: How are you going to implement the controls?
Bae: That’s one of the hot topics within the development team.  We are still in discussion whether to include skill-keys or make separate keys(**NOTE: I am not sure what he’s talking about here. The description is vague).  What we definitely know is that the game will not have skill-window on the bottom of the screen like other MMORPGS.

Q32: How do you move the character? With WASD keys or mouse?
Bae: Both

Q33: There was a scene of a player using “swift jump” skill.  Can players use all the background objects?
Kim: The first thing I wanted to avoid was the wallpaper like background which you can see but not explore.  I hate the concept of players following a predetermined path.  I want the environment to be accesible and interactive with players.  We are making areas where you can only access with the “swift jump” skill.

Q34: What type of quests are in Blade & Soul?
Bae: Goals and scenario make up the quests. Many MMORPGs have “vending-machine” quests: “kill X number of mobs.”  This is boring.  Blade & Soul will resolve the problem of “I want to follow the story line, but why am I talking to this vending machine.”  I want the game to overcome that limitation.  It’s one of the topics of discussion within the team.

Q35: Would you say that there’s less emphasis on gears?
Kim: There would be a different implementation of gears, not less.

Q36: In order to be a master–an experienced martial artist–one must train.  How is this interpreted in game?
Bae: In martial-arts genre, there’s always a master–a sensei/teacher–who teaches you the skills.   I would like to recreate that experience of “learning.”  I don’t like the idea of “buying” skill books.

Q37: How about the game economy?
Bae: We never thought about it in detail.  We are, at the moment, focusing on the action and combat aspect of the game.  Game economy has a low priority in the development.  We could work on it later in the development cycle.

Q38: Is this game for solo play oriented? or party play?
Bae: There are differences among classes.  However, unlike the classic RPG class structure, I would like to overlap the archetypes for the classes in Blade & Soul.  Solo play is not always fun, there will be some parts of the game which needs party play to enjoy.

Q39: In Lineage series, siege battles were the attraction.  What features are in Blade & Soul?
Bae: I came up with the idea of siege battles and structured it.  I know the good and bad sides of it.  Blade & Soul will not have siege battles.  They tend to exclude a portion of the player base except a few.  The game must be enjoyable for everyone.

Q40: Are there a lot of cooperative content?
Bae: MMOs should involve cooperation, but Blade & Soul will emphasize an individual aspect.  The world and the game will revolve around the player.

Q41: How will potions and gears affect the game?
Bae: Blade & Soul is a MMO, thus gears are important.  But, the item system in Blade & Soul is completely different and weapon strengthening/enchanting systems are in place.  The team is working on a replacement feature for potions.

Q42: During the presentation, you said “we did everything MMORPG industry told us not to.”  What are you talking about specifically?
Bae: I am talking about everything in the trailer.  The industry said we can’t grab, push, pull, float, “swift jump”, etc. are all  big no-nos.  Developers know better.

Q43: Why do you think other games didn’t implement those features?
Bae: There’s a saying that the elephant in a circus could escape easily breaking the shackles.  Noone in the industry tried.  Developers will literally commit suicide trying to implement the combat system while maintaing the security of the game; preventing exploits and hacks.

Blade & Soul developers came this far with hard work and patience.  At the moment, the simple combat system takes more animation than any console combat games.  It’s not a coincidence the team is named Blood Lust.(smile)

Q44: Is there a special reason why you choose Unreal Engine 3?
Bae: Simply, it’s a good engine.  My motto is “produce rapidly.”  I choose the engine to rapidly develop this game.  The engine allows us to express the concepts easily.
Kim: Specifically, the engine allows us to use lighting and shading easily. It is flexible.  We made adjustments to the rendering engine.

AD Hyung-taek Kim

Art Director of B&S Hyung-Taek Kim

Q45: Other game titles from NCsoft are using Unreal Engine 3, do you share your analysis, tips, and tricks?
Bae: Of course, the games are different, but we do share know-hows and information about the engine.  The engine is excellent, but there is a limit to a game written merely in scripts.  The way to success is analyzing the source and adjusting it to match the concept of the game.

Q46: There is a rumor that Blade & Soul is NCsoft’s PS3 MMO?
Bae: There’s nothing specific about the plan.  We only have 60 developers which is just enough to make the PC version.  I would like to [make a PS3 version], but some things can’t be done.  We are discussing with other platform companies as well.

Q47: When will be the release?
Bae: (smile) I really don’t know. I hope we don’t this year [closed beta].  We developed for about two years and 50% is complete.  I don’t know what the developers think.
Kim: I think only 20% is done. (smile)

end of the interview

[EDIT] I changed the weird skill name “mid-air-dash” to more accepted “swift jump”

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