Remember the Pearl Abyss Connect 2019 at G-STAR 2019? Pearl Abyss revealed a whole host of projects which we can look forward to in the future. We’re sure you have lots of burning questions, and we managed to ask some of them in a Q&A session with the lead producers of Crimson Desert and Shadow Arena! We have Jason Jung and Kwangsam Kim respectively, so let’s get into it. Read about Crimson Desert here.
SHADOW ARENA WITH LEAD PRODUCER KWANGSAM KIM
The battle royale genre is pretty saturated these days, and Shadow Arena will be joining them. Kim thinks of battle royale as more of a “rule” for a playing a game, saying the direction can change depending on a game’s foundation. Instead of being based on the FPS genre and using the battle royale rule, Shadow Arena is based off action gameplay, with battle royale used as a matching system.
He talks about focusing on a level of maturity in developing the game as a PvP online action game. RPG characteristics are brought in from the parent game Black Desert, which lets people think of the game as MOBA – with regards to PvE content – and then players take advantage of the PvP side through battles and monsters as applied in the game.
Shadow Arena was previously a part of Black Desert Online. Kim explains how the game mode back then had its systems bound to Black Desert. In order to evolve Shadow Arena closer to an action game, it had to be independent of Black Desert. Modifying even basic controls, attack or defense formulas, or decision making systems, would affect Black Desert. To evolve Shadow Arena, it had to be standalone.
“Modifying [various systems] would affect Black Desert, so to evolve Shadow Arena, it HAD to be standalone.”
Likewise, he also believed the separation necessary – in both name and as a standalone – to improve its accessibility. Accessibility meant introducing Shadow Arena to not just Black Desert players, but also new gamers in general. He reiterates Shadow Arena being a completely independent game, developed from scratch, that originated from Black Desert.
You’ll be playing as “concepts of characters”, not classes per se. Named NPCs from Black Desert will be appearing as characters in Shadow Arena. There are classes rooted in the characters, he concurs, so they have similarities with the corresponding classes in Black Desert. However, the skills tailored to the character’s personalities do not have similar in Black Desert, and completely different characters that don’t have class counterparts in the parent game may appear. He reiterates how Shadow Arena is a game based of its parent game’s NPCs, and how he’d like to take the opportunity to illuminate the view of the world and history through the perspective of the famous NPCs.
“You play as concepts of characters. Completely different characters without class counterparts in Black Desert may appear.”
While Black Desert is a great action game with its systems becoming the foundation of Shadow Arena, Kim wishes to point out that Shadow Arena has been reborn into its own: from the action system, workshops, characters, and so forth. The rapid development and feedback system experience gained from the parent game will be maintained as well.
You might be thinking, the combat system is probably quite a concern on its own for Shadow Arena. Kim muses how it’s not a fighting game, but elements of it can make it seem so. “What are the fun elements of fighting games? What makes the RPG battles different?” RPGs would want you to make the most damage in time, while Kim considers the key to action games is to find ways to stop or alternate attacks, and how much you can deal during the opportunity.
“Modern 3D combat action tends to focus on combos and aerial combos, which are similar to making maximum damage in RPGs. It is key to choose and respond to gains and losses with instant judgment. The most important difference between Black Desert and Shadow Arena is that the attacks can be canceled at once unless you have a special ability.”
Akin to other battle royale games, the idea of esports would come out. However, Kim believes talking about such things before the game is even ready is merely an illusion. His priority is to secure the players, have them enjoy the game and love it. The characters currently revealed are the default ones, and they plan to show characters beyond imagination.
It’s probably fair to expect the game to bear some framework from its predecessor mode. Kim feels Shadow Arena has “given up” on being Black Desert, so certain systems, like skill cancels after entering two or more status effect skills, have been removed. While that may be the base of Black Desert, he no longer considers it the standard of the era.
Likewise, each character’s features have been strengthened. Jordine, for example, is not the same Warrior he is in Black Desert. The same skills may be there, but the characteristics are different, or a different skill could appear too. They wish to release as many characters as possible for Shadow Arena. He thinks 50 is ideal, but he’s doesn’t know what would happen after that. He hints at unusual characters, or hard to classify ones. So far, they are looking to release characters based on existing Black Desert ones, and gradually increase the number of unique characters from there.
Shadow Arena, if you’ve seen the demo at G-STAR 2019, or seen Closed Beta Test footage, it is in third person view. They are open to supporting various platforms, that including mobile. The game will allow you to enjoy in-depth PvP battles alongside an RPG-type battle royale. He can’t answer if Black Spirit will be in the game, but well, Kim says they will be doing their best to create more content and excitement for you fans, so do stay tuned!
To cap things off, we’ll end it with a story of how Kim joined Pearl Abyss. The man has been developing games for a long time, and thought of aiming for the top of the world. He’d worked as a professor, making indie games. He didn’t join Pearl Abyss because he thought it was a mainstream company. Pearl Abyss Chairman, Dae-il Kim, asked him one day:
“Do you want to challenge yourself to [be at] the top of the world?”
It seems to have sparked something in Kim. He explains he wanted to go further, not satisfied at being at the top in just Korea. This drive is what Pearl Abyss is looking at too. He does suggest he might return to developing indies once he reaches that peak. The experience from back then is what he considers an important asset now. He can gain even more experience, and be able to work with such a big team. He hasn’t given up his dream, and he doesn’t look like he will let go of it anytime soon.
We’ll look forward to hearing more of Shadow Arena from Kwangsam Kim!