Age of Wushu 2 – Producer reveals more details about new sandbox title

The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations is nearing its end in China, and to start the new lunar year off is an interview with the producer of Snail Games’ highly-anticipated wuxia sequel, Age of Wushu 2. I have partially translated the interview questions and answers, and you can  have a good read below! There is currently no launch nor beta phases scheduled for this Unreal Engine 4 sandbox title.

Q: What major differences are there between Age of Wushu and Age of Wushu 2?

A: The biggest different is in game genre. While Age of Wushu is a traditional MMORPG where content is packed for the gamers, while Age of Wushu 2 is a sandbox title where players have to discover things and create new content. In Age of Wushu, players are given targets to complete assassination quests. In Age of Wushu 2, players must come up with innovative ideas to get close to the target and scout his defenses, such as getting airborne with 10 sky lanterns tied to the body.

Q: What other new innovations can be found in Age of Wushu 2?

A: Age of Wushu 2 itself is an innovative product, hence it is hard to talk about specifics. An example is the sky lantern mentioned previously. In most online games, these are just decorations with no actual use. In Age of Wushu 2, players can also tie their characters to a few sky lanterns to get airborne. The setting of Age of Wushu 2 is more real-life than fantasy. hence players cannot stay airborne infinitely.

Other than being used to get airborne and perform scouting missions, sky lanterns can be used to send signals, light up areas, and even sent to bombard locations with gunpowder attached. Hence, there is no static usage for different elements, it is up to players on how they are used.

Q: Why did Snail Games consider mixing both wuxia (martial arts) and sandbox into one single game?

A: Sandbox is a new trend in the online games market. We came across sandbox titles during the early days of developing Age of Wushu, but at that time this genre was not mature enough for the market. In recent years, sandbox games have become more mainstream, and that really inspired us. We also tried to position Age of Wushu as a sandbox + MMO game in the early days, but the mixture of these 2 genres caused much imbalance in the game. Hence, Age of Wushu 2 is more focused on “sandbox”, with MMORPG as the foundation. With this structure, the gaming experience in the sequel will be different from the prequel, and the business model will also be different.

Q: As a sandbox titles, will there still be story scenarios in Age of Wushu 2?

A: Yes, there are still story scenarios. We felt the need to still include stories in the game, since these are what contribute to the culture of Chinese wuxia (martial arts). While people in the game have different stories, there are no elements such as primary or secondary storylines. The game will place players in the ancient city of Suzhou, and from there players must choose their own paths.

Q: Players who are used to having a main storyline to follow might not get used to this sandbox genre. Are there any features to ease the transition?

A: This is most probably more on having a clear tutorial and new player guide. Other than that, the game will provide players with some guides through in-game books or manuals. We are confident the sandbox genre will not cause a huge alarm to the players, since there are already many playing games such as Minecraft (published in China by NetEase).

Q: Can you tell us about the life skills system in Age of Wushu 2?

A: Life skills will be opened to all players without any restrictions, and there is no need to go learn them or focus on just one occupation. As long as players are skilled enough in any life skills and have the materials to create new items, the sky is the limit.

Q: “Survival” is a key element in sandbox games. How will Age of Wushu 2 implement this system?

A: There are 2 kinds of survival structures. The first is environment, where players get acquainted with nature in sparsely-populated areas. They can occupy a spot in the mountains and become its owner, which will cause some stress in the living beasts in the area, hence leading to different encounters. The game itself will not be too harsh on players, an death only occurs only after a few days of starvation. However, there will still be wild fruits for players to solve their hunger issues.

The second is social, which is challenging as players portray someone from the modern world who was brought back to the olden days, where building relationships is very different. When NPCs see someone who is oddly dressed and not from around the area, they might refuse to interact with the character. Since society is a place where the strong wins, players might even need to give protection fees. However, they can become stronger in status and start collecting protection fees instead!

Q: How do players get new equipment?

A: Through crafting or looting players you kill. The latter will cause other NPCs or players to track you down and capture you.

Q: What is the combat system like in Age of Wushu 2?

A: In Age of Wushu, since it is a MMORPG, more focused is placed on strategies and guessing what move is coming next. In Age of Wushu 2, the combat is more factual, and players can only react once the skill or movement has been performed by his opponent (emphasis on real-time reaction). The team hopes to utilize more of the mouse and joystick when performing skills, and not just pressing on the number keys.

Q: Will there be different wuxia school in Age of Wushu 2?

A: Yes, there are many NPCs and schools in the game, but players are mostly interacting with them. For example, a player might have a good relationship with several NPC disciples of a certain school. One day, when the player join the same school and the school leader happens to pass away, there might be a voting panel to select a new leader. Due to a better relationship, the player has a better chance of being elected.

Q: Compared to sandbox titles from the Western developers, what differences are there in a wuxia sandbox title such as Age of Wushu 2?

A: Western sandbox titles are skewered more towards 2 themes, which are sci-fi and fantasy RPG. These games are focused more on building better weapons to make characters stronger. In Age of Wushu 2, true to the spirit of wuxia, it is more important to focus on strengthening the character through mental and physical training.

Western sandbox titles are also more about interacting with nature (mining, crafting, etc), while Age of Wushu 2 adds in another social interaction layer. For example, players usually go to mine for minerals; in Age of Wushu 2, players might get free minerals by becoming good friends with the mine’s NPC owner. If the mine’s owner is on terms with a player, different paths might open up as well.