Since being announced last year by developer Pearl Abyss and stunning gamers primarily with its visuals, Crimson Desert has been one of the most anticipated games for 2021. Once rumored to be the sequel to Black Desert Online, it was later clarified that Crimson Desert shares the same world view, but not as a sequel. It has also evolved from a MMORPG to somewhat of a hybrid single-player and online title. Following the recent interview article provided by Pearl Abyss, we at MMO Culture just had to conduct a follow-up interview. Read on!
Pearl Abyss General
Q: 2020 was a tough year for everyone and all industries. How has the pandemic affected Pearl Abyss’ schedule and how did the company adapt?
A: With the spread of COVID-19, there have been many changes in the games industry as well. For example, as offline events have been canceled, direct communication opportunities with our users have been limited. However, we have planned events to communicate with even more users through online channels. We invited users from all over the world to live-streaming events that we traditionally used to host at offline venues.
This allowed us to continue global communication systematically by utilizing subtitles and simultaneous interpreting in various languages. Internally, we are currently working from home to ensure our own health and safety. For some employees who inevitably have to work at the office, we are doing our best to follow quarantine procedures, such as installing a full body sterilizer and a heat detection camera at the entrance of the office.
Q: Not many people overseas know about the new headquarters office building which Pearl Abyss is building. Please tell us more about it and how it will help Pearl Abyss moving forward.
A: Pearl Abyss has expanded in size as a company due to a continuous increase in staff. With the aim of moving in the first half of 2022, a new office building is currently being built in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do and is expected to be able to accomodate about 1600 employees. In line with our corporate philosophy of, “We pursue the best efforts and provide the best rewards,” various facilities such as a fitness center, daycare center, and digital library will be built to raise employee welfare and work efficiency. The new building will provide the best environment for developing and servicing various projects in the future.
Q: What can we expect from Pearl Abyss in terms of overseas expansion in 2021?
A: Currently, Pearl Abyss offers Black Desert on all platforms to 40 million people in 150 countries around the world, and we are continuing to expand in overseas markets by self-publishing our games. From February this year, Black Desert Online in North America and Europe is scheduled to start direct services. Also, we are aiming to release Crimson Desert globally in the fourth quarter of this year.
Q: Obviously, Crimson Desert is going to be on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. How about the new generation of consoles such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X? Will there be a different version to match the powered-up specs?
A: Crimson Desert will support next-generation devices such as PS5 and Xbox Series X. In addition, we aim to let users play on as many platforms as possible.
Q: Crimson Desert is built on an upgraded version of the Black Desert engine. Is there a concern that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will not be able to handle the game?
A: Crimson Desert is not being developed on an upgraded version of Black Desert’s engine, but rather on our completely new, next-generation game engine. Pearl Abyss has many years know-how in developing and optimizing our proprietary engine, and we will do our best to ensure that users can enjoy Crimson Desert on a number of devices, including next-generation devices.
Single-Player and Multiplayer
Q: From the previous article, we understand that Crimson Desert is now a single-player experience with an online multiplayer mode. Are there any other games which uses the same system which players can refer to?
A: When it comes to single player and multiplayer modes, it’s difficult to talk about other games that might have the same system as Crimson Desert. Internally, we believe that “Crimson Desert is a genre of its own.” Crimson Desert doesn’t have seperate single player and multiplayer modes that are independent of one another, but rather the two are organically connected to provide a unique gameplay experience. But of course, those who wish to play a purely single player game, can do so too.
Q: With the change from a traditional MMORPG, does that mean that Crimson Desert is no longer considered a massive multiplayer online (MMO) title in terms of genre?
A: It is not a traditional MMORPG, but rather an open world action-adventure game based on a narrative-focused single player campaign. There is also a multiplayer mode, and player’s will find that the single player and multiplayer experiences are both connected. Crimson Desert was previously introduced as an MMORPG, but the genre has changed in order to better express the narrative, story, and action we are striving for.
Q: Is cross-platform play considered for the multiplayer mode?
A: We cannot comment on cross-platform support at this stage in development, but it is certainly a direction we are considering so that as many users as possible can enjoy playing the game across various platforms.
Q: It was mentioned that it is optional to engage in the multiplayer mode. Does that mean that there is no multiplayer-exclusive content in Crimson Desert?
A: There won’t be exclusively multiplayer content. Gameplay will be based on single player play that is organically linked to the game’s multiplayer mode. This makes it possible for players to play the game in a style of their choosing.
Q: In the gameplay trailer, we saw a scene which is like a castle siege. Can it be presumed that players might get to experience some traditional MMORPG gameplay features?
A: Although sieges will exist, players may find that they differ from existing forms of faction vs. faction sieges. We are preparing various types of PvP content and large-scale battles such as the siege battle shown in our gameplay trailer. It is, however, too early to comment on the scale of participants for such content, as the content is still in development.
Q: Crimson Desert’s protagonist is Macduff, and we have seen him in quite a few trailers and promotional materials already. One thing which struck us was how he looked similar throughout the materials. Are there ways for players to customize his aesthetics and perhaps body equipment?
A: Macduff’s cosmetic appearance can be changed depending on the gear that’s equipped, but his face is not customizable in order to convey the story more naturally. However, in addition to the main story, you can create a separate character in “Another Journey (tentative name)”. When you do so, you can customize the appearance of that character using Pearl Abyss’ advanced customization system.
Q: With regards to the puzzles, riddles, and challenges scattered throughout Crimson Desert, will less experienced gamers be intimidated and put-off by them?
A: We are doing a lot of research so that even users with little gaming experience can adapt quickly and enjoy the game. The deeper you dig in the world of Crimson Desert, the easier and more accessible the world becomes, providing an adventure that will satisfy players regardless of their experience.
Q: How did the idea of incorporating wrestling and Taekwondo moves in Crimson Desert came about? And is it something which is acknowledged as a sport in the world of Pywel?
A: We are sure everyone has played wrestling games in an arcade at some point. We get a lot of ideas in such games and we also do a lot of research. Weapons are also a feature of Crimson Desert, but then so are elements of tag-and-play combat. When it came to fighting with mercenaries, we thought about what features would be necessary and developed them accordingly. The Taekwondo kick was motion-captured by a student of an actual national Taekwondo athlete, and the wrestling moves were performed by an actual wrestler. You can see the mercenaries fighting with various combat skills, such as bare-fist fighting, in the gameplay trailer. However, these disciplines are not recognized as a sport in the world of Pywel.
Q: It seems that there is a major focus on melee combat, be it with weapons or wrestling moves, Will these moves be effective against large enemy groups as compared to an AOE magic spell?
A: They are going to be effective when you disable your opponents in small-scale battles which are different from the mass destruction of magic spells. However, you must have large-scale attacks carefully as they require a lot of resources in the world of Crimson Desert.
Q: With so many movement mechanics and a large open world to explore, might there be secret locations or encounters hidden throughout the game?
A: There will, of course, be various hidden places to explore and random encounters to be had. The nature of this content will vary, but we have tried to design it in a manner that does not prove too stressful for players to enjoy.
Q: With Crimson Desert shifting to be more story-focused around a single-player game, can players expect an actual ending to the game upon completion?
A: Although single player mode has an ending, players can continue to play the game through what we’re calling “Another Journey (name subject to change).” This mode can be played whenever the player wants, without seeing the single player ending, and is organically connected to single player mode so that players may enjoy a unique gameplay experience.
That is all for this interview! While the MMO Culture team still has many questions, some are better left to be asked when Crimson Desert is nearing its launch in Winter 2021. Special thanks to the Pearl Abyss team for graciously accepting and answering the questions!
Crimson Desert website: https://crimsondesert.pearlabyss.com/
Crimson Desert Facebook: https://facebook.com/CrimsonDesert