First announced in December 2018, Uncharted Waters Origin is a joint project between LINE Games (publisher), Koei Tecmo (IP owner), and studio Motif (developer). Based on the epic naval adventure franchise Unchartered Waters, this PC and mobile MMORPG was scheduled to launch in 2020 during the IP’s 30th anniversary. However, it was delayed and Closed Beta is now confirmed to begin on 28 January in South Korea. Here are some loosely translated points from an interview with the development studio, Motif!
Originally scheduled to launch in 2020 to meet with Uncharted Waters’ 30th anniversary, Uncharted Waters Origin was delayed due to the implications of COVID-19. Rather than forcing the game out to meet the schedule, it was decided that a delay is the best option.
The number of employees at Motif has grown from 30 to 60 working on Uncharted Waters Origin (powered by Unreal Engine 4) since its announcement, and still recruiting. This is not including the people from LINE Games and Koei Tecmo.
Altogether, about 559 people have worked on Uncharted Waters Origin (that is an oddly specific number given), many which have spent different amount of time (freelancers etc). They come from 11 countries including Korea, Japan, China, France, Russia, and the UK.
Uncharted Waters Origin is definitely still an online multiplayer game, but players are encouraged to go through the single-player focused story tutorial mode which is not compulsory. Every action taken in single-player or multiplayer mode affects each other organically, such as item prices and relationship between countries.
Uncharted Waters Origin is not a port of the original, but a new game which can accommodate both fans and new players can enjoy in harmony. No matter which role players choose, such as adventurer, explorer, pirate, or merchant, the aim is to allow everyone to create their own playing pace or style.
There will be offline functions in the game, such as ships continue to sail while the game is off. However, the speed will be 50% slower. The aim is to give more benefits to players who play in real-time.
Luck is an invisible stat in the original Uncharted Waters, and it will also be in Uncharted Waters Origin. The only way to estimate the Luck value is to head to the fortune teller NPC, but even then there won’t be a proper value provided. Luck can be increased temporarily by donating or praying at a religious buildings, gain through equipment, tools, and even ship parts. However, the backend settings and balance will be different from the original.
End content such as investments, commerce (guild) etc will make sure the ways to utilize gold will be “endless.” Increasing the number of alliance ports is very important in Uncharted Waters Origin which can be obtained through battles or investments. Depending on the alliance port’s country, the resources and content which can be enjoyed will be different. The availability of alliance ports will also help players sail in a specific area without being attacked or even monopolize the trade of certain items.
While there is PVP, excessive raiding of other players will result in a penalty as well. The team will monitor this and make sure there is balance.
There will be no direct trading between players in the game. The core system of trade in Uncharted Waters Origin is between players and the game, which will then affect other players.
The focus now is on developing the naval content, and land navigation is on the backseat.
For the official launch, players can choose from 4 different characters to start with, including Ernst Von Bohr (Ernest Lopez) from Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. In the Closed Beta, there will be an additional 10 admirals to recruit (25 planned now for official and post launch updates). It seems that other than Ernst Von Bohr, all other characters are new to the series.
The monetization methods, or business model, has yet to be confirmed. Talks are still ongoing with publisher LINE Games (which footed the expenses of this project). Rather than going to gacha loot box route, it is possible to have different paid-time subscriptions to fit different players’ situations.
With the advice of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, cities such as Lisbon will be named as Lisboa, and Istanbul as Constantinople to reflect the 16th century accuracy the game is based on.