• Revast
    [center][left][color="Gray"]For those of you who are a little late on your B&S news, here's an old interview that was released a little over a year ago with NC's Blade & Soul chief art designer and development director. It may be (very) old news but it's fresh here at the new B&S Dojo!

    Keep in mind this interview is somewhat dated, a lot of the games details have been changed in the development process. You'll notice some changes when i post their latest GStar 2009 interview video.[/color]

    [/left][color="White"][b]
    [img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4029/4324938965_9f1a3bce87_o.jpg[/img][/b][/color]
    [size="1"][color="DimGray"]Chef Art Deisgner [/color][/size][size="1"][color="DimGray"]Hyung-Taek Kim (left), Development Director Jae-Hyun Bae (right)[/color]
    [/size][/center]
    [color="White"][b]
    Q1: How did you decide on the concept[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: From MMORPG, a player should experience a variety of concepts. So, instead deeply developing one concept, I tried to include a several. Also, instead of limiting the theme to the traditional martial arts genre, I added my own identity to it.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q2: So, is this a completely new genre of MMORPG?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: In Korea, the martial arts genre is heavily influenced by the Chinese culture. However, we incorporated a lot of cultural images from different nations in Blade & Soul: Russia, Mongolia, Taiwan, etc. The current product is a combination of these and our creativity.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q3: Many gamers voice that the art style of Blade & Soul remind them of other games, such as Magna Carta.[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: I like my previous works and their style. I did not work [on Blade & Soul] with a different style in mind; instead, I merely thought of improving the previous works. In the case of Blade & Soul, it expresses well the ideas of the illustrator.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q4: Lineage II received much criticism for its mature material. Blade & Soul seems to demand a similar level of maturity from the gamers. Would it be appropriate as a rated 15+ game?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Lineage II was talked about because of its clothing, but it was not a big issue. As a producer, it’s a difficult position to be in, but something one should overcome. The only nation in which we encountered problems was China. There will be pressures in Korea, but we must endure it. We could always change the rating or make adjustment to the contents.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q5: Are you planning to make changes to the contents or the rating?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: It depends on the situation; we should probably work on both.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: We focused on certain areas because the game is in a developmental cycle. But, because the game’s focus is in neither sexuality nor violence, it won’t be too difficult to receive 15+ rating.
    [color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: There’s no guarantee that the game will succeed with emphasis on sexual contents. No game did and we don’t plan to.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q6: What is game representative Taek-Jin Kim’s opinion?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: He suggested a removal of one character due to excessive skin exposure. Besides that he really liked the “swift jump” skill.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q7: To which regional market would the game appeal the most?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: It’s a difficult question to answer. The game might be well-received in Europe, but might not in Japan. However, when we demonstrated to employees from off-shore offices, they liked it.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: While following the games revealed in E3 2008, I realized that many western gamers are not used to seeing orient-themed games. Our focus is to make a great game. We will worry about localization later.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q8: Why oriental martial-arts MMORPG? Why now?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Because I wanted to. (smiles)[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q9: Why?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: After Lineage II, I decided to stop making MMORPGs because they are massive and difficult to develop. I wanted to try something easier, but those were just as difficult. Eventually, I came back to making MMORPG. I like both martial-arts and science fiction. I decided work on a martial-arts game.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: There are a lot of things you can do in the world of martial arts if you look behind the visuals. I wanted to recreate the intense action from Chinese martial-arts movies which inspired me. The allure of martial-ars world is the variety and limitlessness.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q10: What’s your definition of the “martial-arts genre”?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: I have a lot to talk about this topic. There are a lot of novels, legends, history to draw ideas from. Thus, there is no real “definition” of the genre. I think the lack of games in the genre is limiting the definition of it. I think that the genre comes down to, obviously, the component of action.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q11: In any MMORPG the storyline is crucial. What percentage of the game content covers the story?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: We are focusing mostly on combats(PVP) and quests. You could say that these two make up Blade & Soul. It’s about half and half. The story would be narrated through quests.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q12: Could you elaborate on the storyline which is based on the Korean genesis.[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Not only the Korean genesis, but a number of legends and anecdotes from Mongolia, Cambodia, Japan, and China are included in the story.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q13: According to a source, the game will include characters from Korean legends?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Only one race will follow Korean legends.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q14: In the story, players will be against gods, how will you narrate this? Also, how will you connect with the notion of clans in the martial arts realm?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Guilds and kingdoms fit more with the Middle Age fantasy genre. For the genre of martial arts, individuals and heroes are more fitting. Unlike the gods in Greek mythology, the gods in Blade & Soul would be closer beings [to humans] such as mountain gods or dragon king.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q15: Is there an ending to the storyline?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Yes.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q16: Is the trailer video made out of in-game footage?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Yes. The only editing done to the video is the slow-motion effect during “swift jump” and the removal of version stamp. Of course, for demonstration purposes, some characters were standing still not fighting back. Besides those, the video is a 100% compilation of in-game footage's.
    [u][color="Silver"]Kim[/color]:[/u] Currently, developers are playing pre-alpha version of the game. The trailer you saw today was a footage of their actual in-game play.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q17: If developers are playing the game, up-to how many players can play simultaneously?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: 30~40 players tested on one map.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q18: I am curious whether the world is seamless or instanced.[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: It is not seamless, but it uses streaming method. Gamers will experience the same gameplay as if they were in a seamless world.
    Kim: There won’t be much loading because the maps are huge.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q19: In the trailer, there is a scene where a character attacks multiple mobs with one skill. Will it be a good skill to aggro mobs?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: It’s not a typical skill, but there are time when it is needed; for example, in order to save team members by sacrificing yourself. You can think of it as a finishing skill. We used the skill purposely to show off the capabilities of Blade & Soul. The character of the developer who used the skill died soon after. (smile)[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q20: Are cooking and resource gathering a major part of the game?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: There are a few, but with an oriental twist. Players will be able to make wine or pottery.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q21: Could you tell us more about the two races Jin and Gon?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: Jin is the closest to the mankind. Culturally, they are similar to us, and use the most tools. Gon is about 2.3m(7.5ft) and is physically stronger.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q22: There were midgets in the video; are they a playable race?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: They are part of a race and we will release more information regarding the races later.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q23: Some of the raindrops landed on the camera; how does weather affect the game play?
    [/b][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u]:[/color] Rain changes the environmental setting, spawning more monsters, etc.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u]:[/color] The rain drops on the screen is from an in-game footage. We are also planning to let weather influence quests.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q24: One character wore glasses; to what extent is character customizing possible?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Middle-Age fantasy genres emphasizes armor and weapon stats. However, martial-arts games focus on individual and weapon(sword) development. Development of weapon(**NOTE:as in proficiency of the character or the weapon itself gaining experience) will be crucial in the early game. Based on this concept, we are developing the character customization.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q25: In the trailer, a character grew something from his back as he was casting a skill.[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q26: There are a lot of components to action(PVP). What are you focusing on the most?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q27: Do characters’ body parts take different damage?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: No. However, the attack angle matters. The damage will depend on from which position you are attacking the opponent.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q28: The video only shows one-sided attacks. Is it filmed that way, or is the combat turn-based?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q29: Skill effects are very stylish. It seems like the combat took a long time due to the amount of animation[/b].
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q30: Regarding the attack on the opponent on ground, is that skill only available when the opponent character is in the state of “confusion”?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: We are testing with different implementations.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q31: How are you going to implement the controls?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q32: How do you move the character? With WASD keys or mouse?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: Both[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q33: There was a scene of a player using “swift jump” skill. Can players use all the background objects?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: 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 accessible and interactive with players. We are making areas where you can only access with the “swift jump” skill.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q34: What type of quests are in Blade & Soul?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q35: Would you say that there’s less emphasis on gears?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: There would be a different implementation of gears, not less.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q36: In order to be a master–an experienced martial artist–one must train. How is this interpreted in game?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q37: How about the game economy?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q38: Is this game for solo play oriented? or party play?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q39: In Lineage series, siege battles were the attraction. What features are in Blade & Soul?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q40: Are there a lot of cooperative content?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: MMOs should involve cooperation, but Blade & Soul will emphasize an individual aspect. The world and the game will revolve around the player.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q41: How will potions and gears affect the game?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q42: During the presentation, you said “we did everything MMORPG industry told us not to.” What are you talking about specifically?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q43: Why do you think other games didn’t implement those features?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: There’s a saying that the elephant in a circus could escape easily breaking the shackles. No one in the industry tried. Developers will literally commit suicide trying to implement the combat system while maintaining the security of the game; preventing exploits and hacks.[/color][/color]
    [color="White"][color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: [/color][/color][color="Gray"]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)[/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q44: Is there a special reason why you choose Unreal Engine 3?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: Specifically, the engine allows us to use lighting and shading easily. It is flexible. We made adjustments to the rendering engine.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q45: Other game titles from NCsoft are using Unreal Engine 3, do you share your analysis, tips, and tricks?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q46: There is a rumor that Blade & Soul is NCsoft’s PS3 MMO?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: 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.[/color][/color]

    [color="White"][b]Q47: When will be the release?[/b]
    [color="Gray"][color="Silver"][u]Bae[/u][/color]: (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.
    [color="Silver"][u]Kim[/u][/color]: I think only 20% is done. (smile)


    [/color][/color][color="Gray"] [size="3"][color="#ffa500"][b]Update: [/b](12/16/09)[/color][/size]

    I just found eleven more Q&A's from the August 2008 Interview with Kim and Bae. See previous news post for full Q&A, posted [url="http://www.bladeandsouldojo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27"]here[/url]. Keep in mind these Q&A's are over a year old. Many things could have changed in the development process. The interview posted above is fairly new and you can already notice some changes.[/color]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: In the video, a character was able to climb and run vertically?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: There are several skills like that(**NOTE: he’s referring to “swift jump” skill which I lamely called mid-air-dash skill). With them, players will be able to jump from cliffs and reach the other side and run a long distance instantly. This will in effect remove the stress of traveling in game. There is a clear difference in creating a large world and having a lot of content.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: What’s the meaning behind the title “Blade & Soul”?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: I meant it literally. In martial-arts genre, the sword is the most important component. Blade & Soul means that the piece of iron interacts with the soul of the owner.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: What’s the system requirements for the game?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: The hardware specification is important [to the success of any game]. Developers know that. Surprisingly, the requirements will be low. I bought my computer 2 years ago and haven’t upgraded yet. It will be a while until the release of Blade & Soul, and wouldn’t gamers upgrade their machines for Starcraft 2? (smile)[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: Since you developed Lineage 2, what are some similarities between L2 and B&S?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: I was the lead developer in Lineage 2 project and am currently the production director of Blade & Soul. They are similar in genre; they are both MMORPG. However, I want to try something different. Combats, gears, items, and quests will be very different from that of conventional MMORPGs.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: The game stresses a lot of action–or PVP. But, I highly doubt you can start PVP at level 1. Is there a level cap? And, when or at what level can players enjoy the PVP action and how much?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: Everybody has a different experience with games. Adjusting that cut-off line is a very delicate subject. We can’t solve it by simply adding a tutorial so we’ll see what happens in beta tests.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: What’s the general storyline?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: We’ll release more information about the world later on. Simply put, 4 races, in the post-genesis world, fight against gods to revert the world back to the state before the genesis.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: How important are consumable items such as potions and gears?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: [...] We are focusing more on weapons(swords) than armors. That’s more martial-art-like. There will also be enchantment or strengthening options. Instead of potions, we are looking into healing skills. There is no specific healer class. Status–as in HP and MP–will be maintained through different methods.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: Will there be mounts?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: We planned it. However, we have not worked out the details. We are not going to include free flying. Basically, we will leave [the option of traveling] up to the user. For example, if you are a low level and want to cross a river, you have to find a bridge. However, at a higher level, you can just jump over the river. [...] This is the main difference between martial-arts and fantasy genres.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: Will NCsoft introduce Blade & Soul in foreign markets?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: We are in the phase of development and never considered marketing elements. So far, the interaction among the foreign offices and the headquarter was limited to sharing what we created here(Korea). To our surprise, the game was well received in other countries. The game is still premature, and it is too early to share it with foreign testers. If we reach that point, we will consider it.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: Are you planning to reveal more characters?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: There are 8 classes and 2 are revealed today(**NOTE: This is confusing. There was no mention of any class in the video, but two races. But, he previously said there will be 4 races… huh?). We showed you two classes: one that uses sword and another that uses fists.[/size]

    [size="2"][color="White"][b]Q: Is there a mage or healer class?[/b][/color]
    [color="Silver"][b]A[/b][/color]: We will not follow the traditional RPG class system: tank, healer, ranged DPS, and melee DPS. Our classes will be blends of these archetypes.[/size]