You can really tell how much Pearl Abyss is pushing the Hashashin, first announcing him at their first global Heidel Ball: AT HOME event, and releasing him simultaneously across platforms for Black Desert. The mobile edition of the game has often needed to wait for PC/console content, considering the sheer amount of updates the game has received over the years. Instead of prattling on about the release, we’ll leave it to Black Desert‘s executive producer, Jaehee Kim, to talk about Hashashin’s release, and give a glimpse into the future of the MMORPG.
This seems to be the first time that a new class has been updated simultaneously on PC and mobile. What motivated you to do that?
Yes, it is. This is our first time attempting such an update, and could only be executed because we saw potential. It has been six years since the first launch of “Black Desert” in Korea, and more than two years have passed since the first release of “Black Desert Mobile” also in Korea. As a result, we have accumulated much more know-how regarding game service. We were in the middle of developing a new class for Black Desert when it was suggested having our mobile studios get involved in the development too. This ended up happening quite quickly. Using this opportunity as an experience, I would definitely like to make further simultaneous worldwide launches in the future.
It must not have been easy for two different studios to simultaneously update new content. Were there any memorable episodes that you could share with us?
Both the PC and mobile studios have a well-established process that can apply developments quickly. However, for global services, it takes a certain amount of added time to translate text into each country’s native language. In particular, in the case of Hashashin, we prepared translations to apply to all platforms. It would have been difficult had it not been for the skill and dedication of our employees from various departments, such as the Localization Center, who have the know-how accumulated through localizing Black Desert and Black Desert Mobile over many years. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my gratitude to everyone.
In the case of the mobile studios, this was a class that was completely unexpected. I know there was another class that they originally planned, but when we talked about Hashashin, the mobile studios were able to develop the class quickly and within schedule knowing that Hashashin was a better option for our users. I realized then just how much knowledge and experience we had accumulated. In addition, by sharing the concept with each other and creating it at the same time, different styles of the character emerged for each platform.
What was the motivation behind creating the Hashashin class? The name ‘Hashashin’ itself means ‘Assassin’ and originates from Middle Eastern etymology.
As Black Desert and Black Desert Mobile are serviced all over the world, it made us consider the various cultures of the Adventurers we come into contact with., As such, it was our Adventurers in Turkey & MENA that provided the initial inspiration for the conception of the Hashashin. As a result, we were able to create a charming character that could appeal to users across the world. In addition to Turkey and MENA, we will strive to continue incorporating other diverse cultures in our own way to the world of Black Desert.
We are also curious about Hashashin’s skills. How difficult will it be to control this class?
With Hashashin, we focused more on character management than character manipulation. For example, you can create special ‘areas’ to your benefit within a battlefield by means of his unique skills. For instance, the “Hourglass of Defiance” skill allows you to return to the desired point at any time, while “Hourglass of Death” and “Arid Assault” attack targets in the air. Although the difficulty level of controlling Hashashin is not particularly low, users who enjoy character management will have a new experience that they haven’t had with any of the existing Black Desert classes before.
What efforts are being made to ensure users continue to have a positive, long term experience with Black Desert? What are your plans for future operations and services?
We are always thinking of ways to grow and settle new users into Black Desert, and this is something that we have begun paying even more attention to lately. As the number of streamers and YouTubers has increased recently, they are helping users to engage in creative activities by exerting a positive influence. In the case of North America, I am grateful that there are streamers to introduce the Black Desert IP alongside Black Desert console and mobile.
For PC, stabilization is a top priority for everything from content to service. Since the service has been around for a long time, there is a lot of content, so our concern is to figure out how new content will be incorporated into existing content.
Both Hashashin and the Season Server are providing a new experience for new and existing users alike. Since our intended goals have been well received, I would like to continue presenting various content based further on stabilization.
As mentioned earlier, it’s been quite a while since Black Desert was first released. What can you tell us about future, large-scale updates such as the Great Desert and the Great Ocean?
We’re always on the lookout for new updates that deliver on the needs of our users. The Great Desert and the Great Ocean are both good examples of this.
Take the Great Ocean, for instance. It offers an opportunity for users to expand their reach across a wide area on a ship. But in addition to that, we also plan to introduce new features to take into account the various needs of our users across the globe, like the bartering system we added in the Great Ocean.
We’re also continuously improving our content through focused efforts to optimize and stabilize the game. Not to mention, we’re still discussing ways to introduce new expansions to the world as well. Our team will continue to strive to ensure that all of our content satisfies the needs of our users. However, greater content diversity and the introduction of vast territories will require more attention to the optimization process, which is expected to increase lead time to development. However, we would never give up but continue our efforts to optimize content and introduce new territorial expansions to the game.
Considering the latest development process of all studios, can we look forward to more cases like Hashashin in the future?
Of course. The addition of Hashashin taught us that our organization was capable of so much more. Through Hashashin, we were able to simultaneously introduce content that had previously been released separately at the same time. This has not only allowed us to take on new ideas and challenges but also pushed us to challenge ourselves beyond our limits. I believe that one day, we will be able to add content to all platforms across the world at the same time.
I heard Pearl Abyss’ next-generation game engine will only be applied to its new titles. Will there be any improvements to Black Desert’s engine?
Black Desert’s engine has been improved through optimization, performance and graphics improvement, and provision of various options. In particular, we worked on the Remastered version to provide quality differentiated from the existing one.
Quality improvement is important, but considering that it is an MMORPG genre, a lot of attention should be paid to optimization. This is because the world of an MMORPG requires several new content updates. For example, there was an inquiry reporting a lag that occurred during every Siege War. Although we provided the server specifications, there were some areas that still needed improvement. Therefore, we are looking for a way to optimize the game more fundamentally and radically.
How are you planning to direct the development of the Black Desert IP in the future?
The Black Desert IP is an important asset for Pearl Abyss on all platforms, and is an asset that we will continue to expand. There is still room for improvement and it is our lifelong goal to keep fixing, improving, and providing great performance.
We work hard every week, but sometimes certain issues take as longer to handle than expected. Nevertheless, we never give up. As we never give up, we are able to try new ideas little by little. In the future, we will continue to pursue new ideas while taking care of existing content.
Last but not least, is there anything you would like to say to our Adventurers?
Black Desert is a game IP that can be enjoyed through any platform, such as PC, mobile, and console thanks to the support of all our Adventurers around the world. I would really like to take this opportunity at this point to say thank you to our Adventurers for that. The Hashashin update allows us to reach a larger, more diverse userbase and enable both new and existing Adventurers to enjoy the same character on various platforms together.
Our goal for the future is to provide entertainment while continuing to challenge ourselves with new ideas in a way that only Pearl Abyss can. Adventurers’ feedback is very important for Pearl Abyss and Black Desert to achieve this goal. I would like to ask users to please continue giving us great opinions through our community page on the official website. We will continue striving to become a game and IP loved for a long time.
Between crossover content and branching into Shadow Arena, Black Desert as an IP should remain a major player for years yet to come. With next-gen home consoles also seeing impending release, Black Desert being available there doesn’t seem like a very hard sell, does it? Maybe even a Nintendo Switch version, considering the MMORPG being available on mobile devices? We’ll have to see where else the IP can go!