Over the past couple of weeks, publisher Kakao Games and developer XLGAMES have slowly released new details about their upcoming mobile MMORPG, Moonlight Sculptor. Yesterday, the legendary founder of XLGAMES, Jake Song, took part in the game’s preview event. If you did not know, Jake Song is one of the masterminds behind Lineage, one of the first MMORPG to have over 2 million subscribers. Jake Song took part in a Q&A session with various Korean media websites, and here is a brief summary of selected questions.
Q: How involved are you in the development of Moonlight Sculptor?
A: I was in-charge of the game’s overall direction and also worked on server and client programming at the beginning. But in the middle of development, I started overseeing the overall coordination of the development team instead. The game is now in its fine tuning phase, and I am taking part in it.
Q: When will Moonlight Sculptor launch (in South Korea)?
A: The development team is performing a final polish on the game right now, and the it is better to ask Kakao Games about the schedule. I believe it will be in the 4th quarter.
Q: Is the worldview of Moonlight Sculptor similar to that of the novel’s?
A: The novel focuses on what happens to the main character when he enters the virtual world. While creative writing can be done with a novel, it is hard to implement everything into a mobile game due to real-world restrictions. Rather than following the novel faithfully, players can reenact what happens in the novel, but with new game elements.
Q: The Moonlight Sculptor novel contains lots of content. Is everything going to be in the mobile MMORPG version?
A: As the novel has been serialized for a long time, not everything will be in the game from the beginning. We will gradually update the game with new content. Of course, there will be features and elements not found in the novel as well.
Q: Fans of the original novel are often fascinated by the systems and features found in the story. What can you tell us about this?
A: There are many technically difficult parts to implement straight from the novel, but our team has tried to follow the motive and story progress as much as possible. However, it is impossible to fulfill some systems and features, and I hope fans will understand it.
Q: XLGAMES did not have success in the mobile market before (it actually made a couple of mobile games).
A: I know that the previous results were not good, and we will try to do better this time.
Q: What is Moonlight Sculptor’s unique point which makes it stand out from the saturating mobile MMORPG market?
A: The game’s cute graphics will make it stand apart from the many live-action mobile titles, and it provides players with a sense of adventure in the open-field map.
Q: Why was this cute visual style chosen?
A: This was decided by our game director. Considering the current market situation, there is much competition in the live-action genre, hence we settled on this visual comfortably.
Q: Based on the concept art, Moonlight Sculptor looks casual and light, but the open-field map makes it sound pretty hardcore. Could you explain the nature of the game in more details, perhaps comparing it with ArcheAge?
A: Moonlight Sculptor is very different from ArcheAge, with the main difference being the cute visuals which are aimed at all players. There is housing system in the game as well, which players can enjoy casually unlike ArcheAge.
Q: Royal Road (the game which the novel is based on) has 9 races and 32 classes. How much of those will we see in the game?
A: To be honest, not all are implemented. We will talk more about this on a later date.
Q: In the novel, it seems that life chores (cooking, sculpting, etc) is more important than combat. Is this the same within the game?
A: Similar to most MMORPG titles, there is housing, crafting, gathering, cooking, etc, but it’s not like in the novel. In the game, there is more focus on combat and hunting. But like in the novel, players can choose to cook all day long.
Q: Did the author of the novel, Heesung Nam, gave the team any specific orders regarding the game’s development?
A: There were no requests made by him, and he trusts the team completely.
Q: Do characters in the original novel appear in the game?
A: Yes, they will appear as NPCs mainly to guide players through the game story.
Q: How long was the development phase thus far for Moonlight Sculptor?
A: It took us just over 3 years, but we did started with a small team, so it took longer than usual.
Q: With Lineage M dominating the market, and also Lineage 2M on the horizon, do you think that you are fighting against your own legacy?
A: We are here to talk about Moonlight Sculptor, so it is inappropriate for me to comment on other company’s games. If possible, we are focusing on developing games that are comfortable for users in the current market.
Q: When will we get to know more about the game?
A: I believe Kakao Games will hold a public event soon to reveal the actual gameplay of Moonlight Sculptor. I am pretty relaxed today (laughs).
Q: Will you be working with Kakao Games on the global publishing of Moonlight Sculptor?
A: I will try to do well on the global stage with Kakao Games. But now I will do my best in Korea first.