I hesitated to post this article, purely because of the low-resolution video which irked me immensely. But still, I decided to go ahead, with the video below showing 3 different instanced dungeons from Swordsman Online, each with different plots, mechanics and traps. Chinese media website 17173.com managed to interview the game’s lead, which is translated and summarized below.
Q: When will Swordsman Online finally launch (in China)?
A: The game is currently scheduled to launch in 3Q next year. Before that, we will be having various test phases to collect feedback, including the Vanguard Test which just ended at our HQ.
Q: Why such a long wait, despite being revealed way back in 2008?
A: A lot of time was used to develop the engine, Angelica III, which is China’s first next-generation 3D game engine. The current results proved that the time and manpower resources were worth it. We also spent much time on innovating some of the game features and technologies, such as identity masking, miracle quests and guild functions. The feature we are most proud of is no doubt the combat system. We believe that for a martial arts game, combat is the most important aspect, and the resources used on this aspect is enough for us to develop 2 other games.
Q: What is the main selling point for Swordsman Online’s combat?
A: The philosophy we had while designing the combat system is to “equality between action and strategy”, which will encourage players to create their own set of combos and change according to each fight’s requirements. Despite the various mechanics we added, such as grappling and defense break, we are confident players will have a smooth combat experience without confusing them.
Q: The early trailers and screenshots showed Swordsman Online as a 2.5D isometric game (Diablo, Torchlight). Why is it full 3D with 360 degrees view now?
A: Swordsman Online was all along a full 3D title, and there will be these 2 camera views for players to choose from.
Q: While it is possible for everyone to be the novel’s protagonist, Linghu Chong, how will players be able to assume the role of their favorite characters?
A: This is where the identity mask system comes in. This system will allow players to play the role of famous characters from the novel, and view the martial arts world from their perspective, even gaining their past memories. For example, players may get to experience how a rare skill was learned when assuming the role of powerful characters. Of course, various requirements must be met before these roles can be assumed.
Q: What is the role of Dongfang Bubai (Invincible East) in Swordsman Online?
A: Dongfang Bubai will be focus in 1 of the main quest’s storyline. We do know that the novel by Louis Cha left several character’s storyline on a cliffhanger, thus we have seek the aid of several accomplished authors and writers to script the missing angles.
Q: There were steel robots, guns and cannons in Swordsman Online. Are these items supposed to be even in there? Is Swordsman Online a fantasy or martial arts title?
A: We did add in some extra content, but still stayed true to the novel. For the guns and cannons, Swordsman Online took place during the Ming Dynasty, and firearms during that period is already a common technology. What we did is exaggerate the combat effects. For the steel robots, they were really created by the Mo Family, where the members were all skilled siege engineers. These robots were confiscated by the East Factory for its own use. The giant scorpion is actually a sacred creature created and reared by the 5 Fairies Sect.
Q: What about the ultimate skills, such as Dugu Nine Swords, Sunflower Manual, Bixie Swords Manual and Star Absorbing Skill?
A: They can all be obtained in the game, but of course with very harsh requirements. For example, players must gain the ability to assume the role of its practitioner, find out the location of the manual, and then train to match requirements.