Published on February 17th, 2013 | by cinderboy3
Blast Breaker Online – An interview with the Thailand developers
It may seem unique and surprising at first that Blast Breaker Online is developed by a studio in Thailand, a country not exactly known for its development prowess but rather the beautiful temples and tomyum soup. While the Free-to-Play market is growing at an exponential speed there, most of the titles are licensed from either China or South Korea.
First revealed last week, what made the team decide to venture into the game development scene? And what exactly is the studio aiming for with Blast Breaker Online? More in the interview article below!
Q: Kindly introduce yourself to the readers.
A: Hello everyone, my name is Nontawat Thanakiatkrai normally seen in the TH community as XsiChan or Xsicho. I’m one of the lead content designer and my responsibilities range from designing the systems, designing actions, scripts, and appearances of characters and NPCs, designing Blasters (monsters).
I could say most of the designs are first done by me before being implemented or re-drawn by our programmers and illustrators. Aside from that, I’m also working as the proofreader and translator of both Thai and English for our team as well. Nice to meet you!
Q: Can you give us a brief introduction of Unext Digitals Plus?
A: Unext Digitals Plus Co., Ltd. was founded in September 2011 with the aim of developing solely online games. We hope that we will be able to create a new experience in the online gaming industry-both creating and playing- and both-inside Thailand and overseas. You can check more about us including our contacts at www.unextplus.com.
Q: I am really curious about the game development scene in Thailand. Is it still a non-existent industry, or were there new studios popping up over the past few years?
A: On these matters, let me first announce that I’m sorry as I lack the accurate information on these matters and so I will be talking from only my perspective.
Personally, I think that the game development industry in Thailand is still as quiet as a grave. We do have some studios surging out of the waters once in a while during the past few years (BigBugStudio-12Tails Online, FungustStudio-Enmorph Online) but it is only just a very few of us to survive.
The reasons might be that these industries lack support from any sides except publishers and gamers and people would mostly still view gaming as one of the “bad” things. These things might have cause new game development studios to not be able to cause any stir up in the industry but I do believe that there will be more developers who have a heart and strong mindset able to withstand these factors and emerge to follow their dream just like us.
Q: Why the decision to develop online games, rather than single player PC or console titles?
A: The reason is that each and every member of the studio loves to play games with our friends. With that in mind, the genre that would allow us to play, to fight, to help each other endlessly is online games. Aside from that, we also see problems with developing a PC or console game which would need a great amount of funding as well as more members in our team to create a PC or console game that could meet our standards, which are high.
We feel that if we still lack these factors, the game we developed will not generate as much fun as we wanted so we decide to stick to the online game genre in which we can further develop and add in new contents as we wanted for as long as we want.
Q: Let us talk about Blast Breaker Online. The game is going an anime side-scrolling style. Any specifics on why this genre was chosen?
A: The main reason would be that there are varying amount of content in each genre of games. If we made a full-3D-MMORPG in an Open World environment, the amount of content needed to make a good game would be very high and we would need a great amount of time as well as funding to support the development as well as a great number of people working on it.
With what limited assets we have now, we have agreed on working with a game with scales fitting us, thus the genre of Sidescrolling Action which would be suitable for what assets we have. On a note with the anime-style, it is because our team has a background and much influenced by these styles of art.
Q: From the teaser trailer, I see shadows of games such as Grand Chase and Elsword, which are quite popular in Thailand and some overseas countries. Any worries about being compared?
A: The main reason we are being compared, I guess, would be because Blast Breaker Online uses a 3D cel-shade with anime-styles like those games, but we are confident enough to say that we don’t worry about these things as we knew from the start that after releasing our game, comments on our work would be a normal thing.
We knew the comments beforehand and we have already planned new characters and contents which would defer greatly from those games but we have chosen these first 3 characters as we have discussed that these 3 are the basics of every RPG, a melee character, a ranged character, and a mage. When we enter the open beta stage, we promise a new character that uses fists to cause mayhem and more with our own styles following quickly.
Q: We have only seen glimpses of combat and a rather simple background environment. What other features can we expect from the game upon launch?
A: As you have expected, yes we do have a large amount of features waiting to create new experiences to the genre of Sidescrolling – Action, not just entering missions and attacking monsters.
Blast Breaker Online aims mainly at the RPG part of MMORPG as we have created lore and stories of each character and the world to the amount that we could possibly write a short novel for them and players would be able to choose on which path their character would take. This is also a reason we tried to create a distinguished character design in which every character would have a somewhat different feel, a different way to spend their gauges, and a different story and starting point.
Aside from that, we have the Freedom Map system in which we will let players set out and explore the world of Blast Breaker without having to receive missions and fight monsters, frankly, it’s that we’re trying to put a simulated open-world system into our game.
On the matter of these missions, we have designed a great variety of mission goals in which players can choose from, not just killing and grinding off monsters. In example, we have a mission for players to protect objectives, rescuing or retrieving objectives, covert operations where players will be one-shotted to death if detected, and various traps and tricks you can play with in the environment.
Of course, basic functions and features of an MMORPG are still there, customizing characters, fashion avatars, forging, upgrading, trading, auctioning, Blast Breaker got them all. More will be unveiled in the future, just wait and see
Q: Out of a 100% gauge, how many % is development for Blast Breaker Online done currently?
A: I would also like to us ourselves on what percentage are we on. Well, if it’s up to what I wanted people to experience in the closed beta period, I’d say we have already come to about 80% of what we would like to release in the closed beta period. I say this as I wanted our players to get a good first impression and experience a great amount of content we have prepared. Let’s just hope we can finish our goals as quickly as possible.
Q: I take it that the game will be a Free-to-Play title, with the regular cash item shop?
A: Yes, we are going with the Microtransaction Free-2-Play method but Blast Breaker would not be Pay-2-Win. We try to filter the Cash Shop to have the least amount of Gameplay-affecting-items as possible. Most of these gameplay things are about PVE and we have already thought out about the balance between players as we would like to, if able, create fair competitions and plays between those who have paid for our games those who enjoy playing it freely.
Q: Are any deals signed with publishers yet? And are there plans to bring the title overseas?
A: I’m truly sorry to inform that I am not able to answer the first question due to business matters, however, I would like to address the second question as following: Blast Breaker Online is designed to handle “World Wide” players with a tool to quickly switch language inside the game and a tool to easily localized the client into various languages for the ease of any publishers wishing to license Blast Breaker Online.