A few days ago, NetEase Connect 2022 revealed new details for NARAKA: BLADEPOINT Mobile and the game’s new hero, Takeda Nobutada. We reached out to Ray Kwan, Lead Producer at 24 Entertainment, the studio behind the game, to learn more about these new offerings.
NARAKA: BLADEPOINT Mobile
GamerBraves: What are some compromises that you had to make in order to port the PC version of NARAKA: BLADEPOINT to mobile platforms?
Ray Kwan: Mobile players tend to invest less in, and have lower requirements for, mobile games (as opposed to PC titles). A limitation of mobile devices is that touchscreens aren’t suited for complex controls. Yet the demands placed upon the quality of the game and its graphics are still the same. That’s why our end goal is to provide the mobile market with an experience rivaling that of NARAKA: BLADEPOINT on PC. Whether we’re talking about the visuals, controls, gameplay; we’re doing all we can to reflect that of the PC edition. We say reflect here and not copy or compromise, as we’re solely focused on improving and developing our game to give players the awesome feel of truly unchained battles in the palms of their hands.
GB: What adjustments have to be made in order to accommodate the smaller screen size and touchscreen movement controls for mobile?
RK: Our dev team has come up with all kinds of creative solutions for this in NARAKA Mobile. First, we’re committed to keeping combat controls easy to use and responsive. Providing a range of complex actions all within the confines of a touchscreen device is certainly a challenge, and we’ve achieved some impressive results in that field already. We’ve also adjusted the in-game camera, ensuring it works fluidly with NARAKA’s fast-paced combination of ranged and melee combat.
GB: Is the character customization of the mobile version as in-depth as the PC version, or has it been simplified?
RK: Character customization on mobile is going to be just as fleshed-out as the PC edition! Our face editor is a considerable selling point, and a way to personalize heroes that’s been warmly received by our players. You have the freedom to create any kind of character you want, and even share it with your friends if you feel like it, too.
GB: Can mobile players play in the same match with PC players, or do they have separate servers? Also, could PC players sync their accounts to the mobile version and continue their progress?
RK: NARAKA Mobile is made to be a complete product in its own right, not just a mobile version of the original. It has its own server, and PC progress won’t carry over to the mobile edition.
GB: Considering you have to purchase the game to play it on PC, will you also have to purchase the game to play on mobile or will it be free-to-play?
RK: A key reason why we ended up making NARAKA a paid instead of free game was to make it more costly for cheaters. Given mobile gamers’ spending habits and how this issue is more easily dealt with on the mobile platform, NARAKA Mobile will be free to play.
The New Hero, Takeda Nobutada
GB: Could you share more on what makes the new hero interesting? What is your favourite aspect of the new hero?
RK: We’re of the opinion that Takeda’s really brought a breath of fresh air to the game; in terms of his appearance, skill set, and more.
The relationship between Takeda, Kurumi and Tarka are closely intertwined too. Both Takeda and Tarka make appearances in Kurumi’s storyline, and I’m sure those who know their lore will have spotted them immediately! Takeda looks similar to a samurai and has a noble samurai air to his personality, too. Yet he’s a warrior unlike any other on account of the demon that resides within him. It’s due to the mighty spirit within his body that he’s often known as the ‘Demon Vessel’. There’s a whole lot of interplay between Takeda and this inner demon of his, something that our designers have spent a lot of effort developing: you’ll be able to experience it yourself following the update on May 21st.
GB: What is the inspiration for the new hero? What is the design philosophy behind the character design and skill set for the new hero?
RK: I think I see what you’re getting at with this question! While our hero Takeda and his skills may indeed bring JoJo’s ‘stands’ to mind, we didn’t take direct inspiration from that in designing him. It’s true, though, that JoJo’s a huge work and has influenced all kinds of creative media for over two decades now. (By ‘JoJo’ I mean JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, an era-defining manga and TV series. I’m a big fan of the artist behind it, Hirohiko Araki, and have collected everything he’s made!)
At present we’re designing our characters first; solidifying their backstories and characteristics before going on to create their skills. This is why we’re splitting our efforts between ensuring Takeda’s playability and working on this double-identity aspect mentioned earlier: the spirit living within him. It takes much trial and error to end up with a final product.
GB: How long has the new hero been in development? Could you share more on the process of balancing the hero with the rest of the roster?
RK: There’s a large variation between heroes in terms of how long it takes to go from early designs to completion. Some are straightforward and almost design themselves, while others need repeated revisions and adjustments. Take Takeda for example, his design process was pretty smooth sailing in the beginning, but it grew more taxing as time went on. What draws you to him is how he’s both good and evil, united in the same physical form, he’s got these two sides to him. The problem is: how do you express a complex concept like that in such fast-paced combat? It’s a new experience for us. On the whole though, we’re happy with this process and the feedback we’ve had from our playerbase.
Whenever we introduce a new hero to the mix, we’ve got to consider how they’ll impact NARAKA’s balance, and how they’ll work together with the current roster. This gets trickier as the hero pool grows, of course. It’s our heroes that form the core of the whole game, though, and our developers have grown used to it. For instance: Kurumi’s Sacred Circle heals but can be turned into an offensive technique by other heroes; Valda Cui can bind her foes; Tianhai is able to transform into a giant Vajra to snatch up enemies; Wuchen can even teleport, bringing down entire teams… So there’s all kinds of different team dynamics, which is part of NARAKA’s charm.
GB: Will the mobile version have any exclusive heroes or game modes?
RK: We’ll first be bringing across all the currently-available PC heroes and modes to the mobile version. As for any exclusive to this edition: keep your eyes peeled!
The Future of NARAKA
GB: Will all the current and future content for the PC version of NARAKA: BLADEPOINT, in terms of updates and events, be in sync with the mobile version or will there be a disparity between both PC and mobile versions?
RK: Like we said before, NARAKA Mobile is intended to be a stand-alone product. Given the vast differences in the mobile/PC edition controls, and the fact crossplay isn’t available, there’s really no need for content between the two to be synced together.
We’ll be doing all we can to port all content from the PC edition to mobile. However, it’s entirely possible that some mobile optimizations will have to be made to make this possible. The PC edition’s already built up a lot of its own content, too, so moving it over to mobile is certainly not an overnight process. We’ll adopt a suitable schedule and introduce content onto mobile in phases.
GB: With NARAKA: BLADEPOINT going mobile, what is the possibility of featuring collaboration with other IPs, as is the case with other battle royale games?
RK: We’ve already received a glowing reception for the crossovers put out on the PC edition already: including the likes of Bruce Lee, Fall Guys, Shadow Warrior and more! Expect additional crossovers in future on the mobile version too!
GB: Is there anything you’ll want to share with your players/potential players or want them to know about?
We’ll be sharing our development progress with you all as it happens, and will update you on when testing will be held!
Thank you Ray for your time and for shedding more light on the mobile version and the new hero, Takeda Nobutada! Also, thanks NetEase Games for this opportunity!
As mentioned by Ray above, feel free to follow NARAKA: Bladepoint Mobile’s social media accounts to stay updated. While waiting for the mobile version of the game to come out, you can check out the PC version on Steam to learn more.