Kingdom Under Fire II – Exclusive interview with developer Blueside

Since being announced a few years back, interest for Kingdom Under Fire II has risen substantially. Old fans of the prior games in the series, and new online gaming fans alike are clamoring for more  details, especially since the game is looking at a global launch next year.

Kingdom Under Fire II - Game image

In this interview, we will be chatting with Korean developer, Blueside, about the Kingdom Under Fire II game itself and more. Whatever happened to the Xbox version? Is the PS3 version being canned? Where are the North American and Europe servers? Sit back, relax and enjoy the read!

 

Q: Hi there, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your company, Blueside.

A: I am Sang Youn Lee, Executive Producer of Kingdom Under Fire II. I have developed Kingdom Under Fire I, Kingdom Under Fire : the Crusaders and N3. I worked with Blueside since Kingdom Under Fire : the Crusaders with Blueside and after that I participated in development of Kingdom Under Fire : Heroes, N3 and Kingdom Under Fire : Circle of Doom. During under development of Kingdom Under Fire II, Blueside took over Phantagram in 2010.

Sang Youn Lee, Executive Producer

Q: When did development for Kingdom Under Fire II actually started?

A: When we started development in early 2008, we focused on console single platform. However, since September 2009, we changed the direction of development from console platform standalone game to PC platform MMOG and started developing the game based on server technology.

Since mid-2011, we decided on the game’s direction as MMORPG, which is the current platform of Kingdom Under Fire II for further development and expansion. To make the long story short, we started the development on September 2009 and change the direction of development totally from the early plan in 2011. Now we are on the final stage of development.

Q: What factors led to Blueside deciding on making a MMO out of the KUF franchise and for the PC Windows platform?

A: There are many reasons but the biggest reason is that the basic element of Kingdom Under Fire II series is going into the war. We thought making lots of people have war at the same time creates extreme fun.

Developing a MMO was the best choice to make players enjoy this game continuously and repeatedly. Obviously PC is the most proper platform for MMO games and that’s why we are developing based on PC.

Kingdom Under Fire II - Battle screenshot

Q: For now, it seems the confirmed platforms are PC Windows, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. What will be the main differences between these 3 versions? Will there be any cross-platform feature?

A: It’s true we are under developing as PC, PS3 and PS4 platform but development for the PS3 platform is temporarily postponed as PS4 is proving to be a great hit among consumers. So we are currently focusing on PC and PS4. We might develop Kingdom Under Fire II on the Xbox One platform in the future.

Technically cross-platform technology which makes people enjoy the game on different platforms is not impossible. Actually, we can access Kingdom Under Fire II with PS3 and PC at the same time (cross-platform) for development in the office.

However, we decide not to allow this because of business reasons. First of all, payment option is very different based on platform and user’s support control is quite different from each other. So if this happens it may cause lots of chaos in the game.

As so. we decided not to make players access in different platforms at the same time, and we are working hard to make each platform’s version has its unique features in terms of  content and technology.

Kingdom Under Fire II PlayStation 4 poster

Q: I presume that all 3 versions will be Free-to-Play with a cash item shop? And what sort of items will be sold in the cash item shop?

A: Basically there will be Free-to-Play with a cash item shop but we are also considering console package sales. We are planning to sell hundreds of items on cash shop. There will be costumes, materials, items with special functions and so on.

Kingdom Under Fire II - Cash shop

Q: Whatever happened with the Xbox version ? And will the Mac platform be considered down the road?

A: At the beginning, we started development as a story-based game for Xbox 360. However, development for Xbox 360 version stopped as we changed the direction of development (MMOG for PC platform). Later, we had discussions with Microsoft to develop Kingdom Under Fire II for Xbox 360 as a MMO but we reached the conclusion that it is impossible due to Microsoft’s policy.

So we focused on developing the game as a PS3 title. In 2012, we got the suggestion from Sony to develop Kingdom Under Fire II as a PS4 title and thus, we have developed the game as PS4 title since then. About Mac platform, we haven’t consider about that.

Q:  The “Blueside Engine” used was built from scratch. What are the main reasons why 3rd party softwares such as Unreal Engine and CryEngine were not used? Were they considered before by the team?

A: Blueside Engine was the only solution to express the grand size of armies with high quality graphics, which is the main feature of Kingdom Under Fire II. It’s impossible in other commercial game engines. In Blueside Engine, 10,000 units with 3,000~5,000 polygons on normal map can be expressed in one screen with more than 30fps.

It’s difficult to express more than 100 units with these specs with other engines. As we already know it’s hard to develop with other engines, hence we focused on development of Blueside Engine since the beginning.

 

Q: Please briefly describe to us the storyline in KUF2, and what role will gamers play in this epic conflict.

A: Kingdom Under Fire II is about the story of Bersia continent after about 120 years has passed since Crusaders. Hironeiden, the strong nation in the past, has lots of difficulty inside. On the contrary, Ecclesia became the strong nation.

Regnier, the powerful hero in Crusaders, disappeared to somewhere and became legend. Encablossa sent mighty one called Celes to Bersia in order to regain the Age of Darkness and destroy the Age of Light. Players become a mercenary and participate in war to protect the world in the Age of Light from Celes.

Q: How big is the game world for Kingdom Under Fire II? Is there an open, public town for players to trade and communicate? Are all battle maps instanced?

A: Yes. Kingdom Under Fire II has MMORPG structure in total view. There are several large cities including a central city for trade. In fields, players can create communities with other players through collection, trade and hunts. As each open field is connected to lots of mission maps, players can move quickly to each mission maps.

Also they can move to different areas by battalion easily in the world map. Battle maps – we called Mission map – is a form of instant dungeon as you guessed. There are also 2 types of battle map, PvP and PvE.

Q: I see that there are 3 characters (Berserker, Gunslinger, Spellsword) available at launch. Other than having different skills, how is each character different from the other?

A: Berserker has a huge bastard sword and is a powerful tanker with wide attack range. This character has powerful stamina and wipe out mass enemies at the melee combat. With his rage, he can powerful deathblow so even beginners can control this character easily.

Gunslinger is a very technical character which participates in battle with gun and sword. Players can feel it’s tricky to control this character but once they become used to him, this character is most efficient in combat during battles at both action play and troop control. Gunslinger is especially strong in controlling troops, hence players can make more powerful and agile troops.

In the case of Spellsword, this character has weak stamina but can use lots of magic with fastest and splendid skills.

 

Q: How about weapons and equipments? How are they obtained and is there an upgrade system?

A: Players can get them by hunting in regular field or strong boss monsters in mission map or gain as reward by completing quests. Purchasing in cash item in cash store is also available. All weapons and armours can be upgraded by regular enchanting or socketing with magic stone. Also totally new equipment can be manufactured by compounding various  materials.

Q: Can you please explain to us how troops can be hired? And exactly how many types are there, and what are their roles?

A: At first opening service in the SEA region, about 140 kinds of troops will be prepared. After a month, approximately 10 troops will be additionally updated. Players can recruit troops from troop recruiter NPC or by recruiting item.

Kingdom Under Fire II - Massive troop numbers

Q: When troops die, do they re-spawn later or do players have to purchase them again?

A: Troops don’t disappear when they are dead. When players leave the battle field, they can recover troops at the open field or world map. However if players keep making the same troop to participate in the battle, troops lose their morale or get health weaken. So players have to take care of troops and pay attention on managing them.

Q: Is it possible to get more powerful troops through upgrading or hiring better ones?

A: Players can train troops and upgrade them by using various methods. Fully upgraded troop can be transferred to other type of troops though there are some prerequisite. The requirements are different from each troops. Through job transfer, players can make totally new troop which has different role or much stronger than before.

Q: Airships and some really awesome siege machines were prominent in the various trailers. Are these troops which cam be hired as well?

A: Flying unit troops or machines such as Bomberwing, Steamtower, Balista and Organ Cannon can be recruited and controlled by players. Basic Battaloon which players can ride can be purchased in the game. Player will get Battaloon through quest in the beginning but can purchase better ones in the store.

Kingdom Under Fire II - Aerial units

Q: I see that both characters and troops have different skill systems. How different are the 2 types of skills during combat? And how many skills are there available for each?

A: Characters has each special skill and so does troop. How to combine skills in the battle field will be the strategic point. There are more than hundreds of skills. You will see.

Kingdom Under Fire II - Skill window

Q: I see from the latest Shining Spring trailer that there is a 3-man mode. Are there other PvE modes available, such as 1-man, 2-man and vice versa?

A: Absolutely. In the latter half of the game, there are lots of missions which players have to participate with other players. As you already have seen in the videos, 16 players participated in invasion mode. But if you have very powerful troops and extremely good at controlling than others, you can clear the mission single-handedly.

 

Q: Let us talk about PvP. Despite having quite a number of awesome trailers, all of them are about PvE raids. What can you tell us about KUF2’s PvP system? Will it be ready at launch?

A: There are two big branches in PvP mode – Hero action PvP and Strategic PvP. Hero action PvP is fighting against other players with nothing but Hero’s ability. Strategic PvP is fighting against other players with multiple troops.  In case of Strategic PvP, very skilful control is needed to control multiple troops.

If you feel difficulty in controlling multiple troops, there is MOBA type PvP which you use AI to control troops. There are more various mode of PvP than I answered. There is grand size of PvP which multiple users made teams and have battle.  All these PvP modes can be seen in Blueside office. We haven’t opened all elements at the same time since SEA service but will show in public gradually as updated contents.

Q: From my point of view, the instant switch between RTS and RPG mode is really awesome. How did the idea came about?

A: Blueside has developed switching modes for a long time. There were many requirements since developing Crusaders and the former Kingdom Under Fire series as action strategy genre. When we first tried action strategy genre, it was our biggest issue to make switch between action mode and strategy mode easily.

In the case of Crusaders, it relied on the imagination of players as RTS mode used mini map heavily, not like the instinct switch in Kingdom Under Fire II. In the case of Kingdom Under Fire II, we focused on controlling the action and strategy directly in the battle field and it is well embodied. I think the current method is ideal to get the situation of battle field and enjoy the game.

Q: The minimum system requirement was announced as 4GB ram, a GeForce 9800GT 512 MB and 15 GB of HDD space. Will there be further optimizations done?

A: I think you have a wrong information. The system requirement you said is much higher than our current system requirement. Our minimum requirement is 2GB ram, Geforce 7600gt 256mb. We have released the video relate to this system requirement before.

We are still doing optimizing work so the system requirement for Kingdom Under Fire II will be lower in the future. Current recommendation system for Kingdom Under Fire II is 2GB ram, 9600gt 512mb.

Kingdom Under Fire II - System requirements

Q: What about gamers with much better computer systems? Will there be an “ultra” settings mode?

A: If players enjoy game with highest graphic option status with high system computer, they can see the extremely detailed texture and high quality graphic. Last November, we made experiencing booth with 3 monitor in Gstar game show and people enjoyed the game with 5760*1080 resolution.

To play game with this big size of resolution with highest graphic option, computer must has high system. When the system is higher, bigger resolution is possible in Kingdom Under Fire II. Player can enjoy the battle field in wide view.

Q: Are there any other features will you like to highlight?

A: As you already know, action play like real battle and strategy with grand size of troops is the highlight of Kingdom Under Fire II. This is the biggest feature in Kingdom Under Fire II and no other games have showed this kind of technical ability. Now and forever, I am very sure that this will be difficult for any other companies to do the same thing.

Q:  A few regional servers have already been confirmed, but the North America and Europe servers (PC) have yet to be confirmed. Is there any progress about a potential publisher?

A: We already made publishing contracts with most of countries except North America and Europe. Currently, we are having full discussions with many major publishers. We will soon announce the good news to players in North America and Europe.

Q: What kind of content updates can players expect down the road? Will there be new characters, maps or features?

A: There will be new update on every month and every quarter. We have been preparing for new content for the future, as new character, new area, new game mode and new troops.

 

Q: Please tell us something about Kingdom Under Fire Online 2 which has yet to be announced to the public.

A: If you want me to be a spoiler, it’s too early, haha 🙂 Well, what I can say now will be… Players will be able to access Kingdom Under Fire II through mobile devices. One more thing will be that we have developed graphics data of Kingdom Under Fire II for next generation. This means you will see the better graphic in next generation console such as PS4 or Xbox One.

Q: I understand that Blueside has already started work on its new game. Any hints on what is it about and is it for the PC ?

A: A hint will be that Blueside has always insisted PC game market will be developed more while lots of people said the focus should bhe on mobile games market. As always, Blueside is focused on developing high-end games. Now you can guess what kind of platform we are targeting on for next project. Also the new game will not be under the Kingdom Under Fire II franchise.

Q: Before ending this interview, please say something to our readers from around the world.

A: Thank you for all gamers who have been waiting Kingdom Under Fire II for a long time. To make it a better game, to make a brand new genre, there were several trials and we needed lots of time. Eventually there were lots of changes. Finally we are at the last stage. We spent more time than we expected but we are really here. Please support Kingdom Under Fire II.