KOG presented Kurtzpel at G-Star, just like last year. Kurtzpel is one of the very few PC action games that were showcased at G-Star 2018, and is the game that people definitely want to try out.
Many things have changed since last year. This year’s demo play offered PvE whereas last year’s demo only had PvP, and more content like time attack raid, animation, and story development has been added. Also, a new feature where the character can switch weapons has been added, allowing for more dynamic action.
KOG’s goal is to make a “Battle Action” game. PvP will be very important, but PvE content will alleviate the fatigue of PvP. Animated scenes and cinematics will make the story development more engaging.
Below is our interview with the director for Kurtzpel at KOG. He shared the story of developing Kurtzpel as a “Dual Action” game that uses the switch system and the dual cost system.
Q. KOG has presented Kurtzpel two years in a row in G-Star. How do you feel about it, and what are the things that you want from this year’s G-Star?
I’m happy that I was able to present Kurtzpel this year as well. PvP has been revamped, and the basic structure for PvE has been built. It would be really great if a lot of people play Kurtzpel and give us feedback.
We haven’t been in any events other than last year’s G-Star, but we’ve been sharing the progress through social media. We receive a lot of feedback from social media. We haven’t started any marketing yet and cannot respond to every piece of feedback, but the devs are always monitoring the social media page. We try to follow the feedback unless it is completely off from our direction.
Q. In other games developed by KOG, the players choose pre-made character. Kurtzpel is the first game where the players can customize their characters. Why does Kurtzpel use a character customization system?
Choosing a pre-made character has its own pros. Games like Grand Chase and Elsword have attractive characters and let the users play them, but this will not deliver the feeling that the player himself/herself is in the gameworld. Also, when a new character comes out players have to start all over again or they don’t even try the new character if they only care about their original main.
So we decided to develop a game where one character is capable of all types of action. Everyone has their own preference, so there has to be a customization system for appearance and weapons.
Q. The character preference system reminds us of the character recommendation system that was in many old school online PC games.
When developing characters, the devs think about their personalities and traits first and then design a look that match those traits. The same rule applies for the players.
We thought it would be nice to let the players choose the character’s personality as well as looks when the players are creating an avatar that represents them in the gameworld. The character preference system shows 3 to 4 presets that match the character’s personality, allowing for faster and simpler character customization.
There used to be a system where the character’s base stats follow its personality, but in this case players might have to choose the personality type that they don’t want for better stats. We want to avoid this. The character’s voice and motion also change based on the character’s personality, but the amount of Karma will be the same for all characters.
Q. Why did you present three types of content separately, instead of showing one build as a whole?
We presented only one type of build last year because we only had PvP to show. But this year, the game’s base structure is done and we can now show how the game flows. We thought there must be users who want to try different content or try both PvE and PvP, so we prepared three types of demos.
We have normal PvE - including early gameplay and time attack PvE - and PvP. All three of them were similarly popular. The users who wanted to try out new features and customization liked the normal PvE demo more.
Q. The interface looks more like a console game rather than a PC game. The menu is deep and unlike many other PC games there was a “cancel previous selection” button.
We designed the interface based on a gamepad. The interface is designed based on the OX and the AB buttons, so it still looks like a console interface. We are closely monitoring the comments on the interface. Kurtzpel will be a multi-platform game, so we are trying to make the gamepad-based interface more mouse-friendly.
The game will be 100% playable with a gamepad. That’s why the menu has so much depth. The menu does not have to be this deep for a mouse-based interface. The first platform that Kurtzpel will be launched on is Steam. If you have used the Steam Game Controller the controls will be easy.
But we are still trying to make the game smoothly playable with a mouse. The interface will be optimized until the last moment.
Q. Do you have any plans for a global release of the game?
We do, but we don’t know what’s going to happen if we get a publisher. In North America and Europe the game will be released via Steam. For other countries, it will be different depending on the contract. We can’t assure anything right now, and things might change depending on the situation.
Q. Please elaborate more on the “dual action” feature. The Karma system allows the characters to use all types of weapons, but why should the character use only two types of weapons during combat?
The dual action feature lets the character use two types of Karma. We didn’t want to make the combat more complicated. Of course, the character can use multiple types of weapons, but can only choose two among them during combat. There are 20 to 30 types of weapons, but every weapon will be either Breaker or Slayer. It is the players’ choice as to which Karma they will use. But only two types of weapons can be used in single battle.
The Slayer weapons are DPS weapons, and the Breaker weapons have defensive abilities and can break the enemy’s defense.
When designing the weapons, we had to think about the player’s role. Weapons like the Greatsword have high defensive ability and it is hard to break super armor with a bow. Usually Slayer weapons are weak against Breaker weapons in PvP.
Q. If Breaker weapons are more powerful than Slayer weapons in PvP, PvP balance might suffer.
More people chose Breaker weapons since the camera perspective is limited and the character gets hit a lot, but there were also a lot of people who preferred Slayer weapons. In fact, we designed the combat to be easier for Breakers in 1vs1 fights if you don’t switch. However, Breaker weapons are not capable of finishing off the enemies whereas Slayer weapons can deal a huge amount of damage. If you get used to the controls, Slayer weapons will be stronger. But Breaker weapons will be easier to use in the beginning.
Also, you can still switch weapons while attacking, so the best way is to knock back the opponent with a Breaker and deal damage with a Slayer. But the PvP is 2vs2, so you might get knocked down when holding a Slayer. Prediction and situational awareness will be important in PvP. You have to maintain your combo as long as possible by mixing different skills and managing skill resources.
Q. When attacking, command attacks consume energy and skill attacks consume mana. It looks like the goal is to maintain a combo by combining the two types of attack well. Is this part of the “dual action” system as well?
That is correct. In many games, at first we use keyboard commands but as the game progresses we just spam mana potions and skill quickslots. The original concept we wanted was to gain mana by using keyboard commands and use skills with that mana, but it didn’t work out.
So the next thing we tried is adding a new resource called energy. Energy is consumed when you use commands, and you cannot use anymore command attacks if you have 0 energy. Skills will consume mana, which does not regenerate naturally. You can regain your mana by consuming energy, so the strategy is to regain mana by using command attacks. Energy will be recharged quickly.
The core element of combat is to manage the two resources well and maintain a combo. So Kurtzpel is about dual action and dual resources.
Q. It seems like PvP will be the main feature for Kurtzpel.
PvP is the core feature, but PvE is important as well. PvP can be stressful. It consumes a lot of energy so you have to take a break once in a while. We thought PvE could give the players something fun that would serve as a break for hard PvP.
PvE in Kurtzpel is different from PvE in other games. In other games, PvE is a means for story development. Kurtzpel is a battle action game, so PvE should be a battle as well.
The story will progress through dialogue and cinematics, and PvE purely focuses on the battle with a boss monster. The battle between players will always change, but PvE battles will remain the same. We wanted to add a feature where players can try multiple times and learn.
But of course, Kurtzpel is a PvP-centered action game.
Q. The prologue animated cinematic was pretty long.
Kurtzpel does not tell a lot of story in the game because the game is centered around combat. Animated cinematics was one of the things that we chose to use in order to make the game’s storyline more engaging.
Kurtzpel is an action game, but we did not want to give up the lore of the universe and the stories that the NPCs have. Conversation with NPCs is not available in the demo play, but with that the players can learn about the universe and the stories that each NPC has. The Karma system will later connect to an amity system so you can be friends with the NPCs naturally.
Q. Kurtzpel has a lot of outstanding features so it could have been a new IP. Why did you make the universe a parallel universe of Grand Chase?
Grand Chase had ceased operation when we started developing Kurtzpel. Grand Chase is the game that made KOG what it is today, but to be honest, it wasn’t a well-recognized IP. We didn’t make the game a parallel universe of Grand Chase because of the IP.
We want to make the IP grow, and create a new universe based on the IP. At first we were all just people who loved battle action games, but later we had to make the game more like a dungeon-based RPG game to meet the popular demand. We want to start from the base, and create a battle action game while expanding the universe.
Kurtzpel is related to Grand Chase, but they don’t share the same universe. It’s more like a reinterpreted Grand Chase universe. The story will be darker and more serious, so if you liked Grand Chase you might not like the story of Kurtzpel. The story will be different, and not all the characters are the same. Some stories will be exclusive to Kurtzpel, but those who played Grand Chase will feel nostalgic when they play Kurtzpel.
In some ways, it can be seen as a different side of Grand Chase or the untold stories. It’s not a next chapter of Grand Chase, but a reconstructed story that will bring back memories of Grand Chase.
Q. How is the test in North America going?
When we released the teaser last year, NA and Europe showed a lot of interest in the game. SA and Russia liked the game too, but G-Star is only being held in Korea so we wanted to give them a chance to try the game.
The test version is exactly the same as the version that is available in G-Star. The internet connection speed is very important for PvP so the test version was only available in NA. We selected a certain number of players among those who applied for the test. The test will end when G-Star ends.
Q. How far along is the development, and when will the game be released?
We want to release it this year, but during G-Star we noticed too many things that have to be improved. But it won’t take too long. We are thinking about the first half of next year. We have more content prepared than what we presented in G-Star, like a new race.
Balance must be adjusted again, and there should be a beta test. Interface should be improved, but it will definitely support gamepads. The game was initially designed based on gamepad controls. Our goal is to make the game 100% playable with the Steam Game Controller. Of course, the game will be improved to be more keyboard and mouse-friendly as I mentioned before, but you can play the game simply by connecting a gamepad to your PC.