[G-Star 2019] Pearl Abyss's Q&A Session About Their New Games

Pearl Abyss held the ‘Pearl Abyss Connect 2019’ at G-Star and announced several new games.


Four new games were announced at Pearl Abyss Connect 2019 and all of those games aimed to be launched on both PC and console platforms. Starting from Shadow Arena, which is a spinoff from Black Desert Online, Plan 8 which is created with Minh Le, the father of Counter-Strike, collectible open-world MMO DokeV, and Crimson World, Pearl Abyss’ next flagship MMORPG. 


As introduced in the teaser site, details and new trailers were revealed at the scene. After about an hour of presentation, Pearl Abyss had a Q&A session. Kim Gwang-sam of Shadow Arena, Jeong Hwan-gyeong of Crimson Desert, and Pearl Abyss strategic planning director, Ham Yeong-chul spoke to the media.

When you introduced Crimson Desert, you mentioned it being a ‘next-generation MMORPG’. What’s different compared to the former MMORPG games?


We found the solution to combine the direction of MMORPG content and the massive storytelling of the console platforms. The development direction was a bit different from the former MMORPGs, so we called it that. All videos released today were in-game videos taken with our own engine.

What’s different with Plan 8 from the other MMO FPS games?


Plan 8 is a shooting game that combines the MMO elements of Pearl Abyss with exosuit gear and action. From the setup, it’s connected to the whole system and it may be in the format that hasn’t been seen before.

Before, you introduced Crimson Desert as a prequel. As much as Black Desert Online also has a very serious story, users may have to learn a lot.


We did say that Crimson Desert is a prequel, it’s not that the story solves secrets or has foreshadowing on Black Desert. It is true that the background is ages before Black Desert, but the story isn’t quite connected. I don’t think that would be a big issue.

When will the games be launched?


We’re aiming to launch Shadow Arena within the first half of next year, and we’re thinking of a simultaneous global launch. Crimson Desert and DokeV will have beta test in 2020, and we’ll be preparing a global test with English and Korean build. Plan 8 will follow that.

We heard that DokeV was originally planned as a mobile game. Why did you change to console/PC?


Other than Shadow Arena, the three games use the new engine we developed. DokeV will be walking the path of Black Desert in the mobile market since it’s a red ocean now. We changed it because we thought it would be better to improve the IP to have a global impact and then move on to other platforms. You would know if you see the game style, but DokeV is a game that prioritizes quality. The required specs are higher than the current equipment; we’ll have to see.

The storytelling for Crimson Desert seems strong. What would the difference be compared to former MMORPGs that the users would feel?


The visual storytelling using cinematic videos will be a lot stronger than former MMORPG games. The scenario and storytelling with the Crimson Desert keyword are combined - it’s difficult to say at this point.

If it’s an MMORPG, does the player see from the outside or is it a character within?


Party and solo battles will be available and player switching is possible. That’s all I can say for now.

You said that Shadow Arena is an improvement from the Black Desert Online’s action. It’s important to create tension as a battle royale genre. If it gets too long, the tempo would get too slow. How did you manage to solve that?


This is the main concern for Shadow Arena. If you ask is Shadow Arena a fighting game? Then I can answer no, but if you ask if it’s similar to the characteristics fighting games have, I can say yes.


This could depend on where the fun is in fighting games, but the point in RPG’s battles and action games battles are what’s different. In terms of RPG, battles are usually about who deals more damage without being interfered. In terms of action games, there would be ways to prevent attacks or bypass them. How to find opportunities and how to deal damage in those chances. This is action games’ battles.


Many people often misunderstand when it’s said that a game is aimed towards the fighting genre. Usually, the fighting game genre has combos or airborne combos. The airborne combos are in a way similar to the RPG games’ way of dealing damage. What we mean by aiming for fighting games is about making instant decisions, what’s favorable, reacting to benefits and losses, etc.

Shadow Arena prioritized these elements. The biggest difference from Black Desert is that attacks can be stopped. Users who are used to Black Desert may be frustrated by this. Everything can be stopped by a single regular attack. So when to use skills, how long the time is between skills, how many regular attacks are possible, etc are very important. How to down the enemy and moving around at the end of the range is also important. If a combo hits, big damage is dealt. But there are intersections within the combos. In this matter, the action from Black Desert has improved.


However, we had to give up some parts because of this. Side-view fighting games have high-mid-low attacks and blocking, but it’s not easy to do that in this style-view game. We had to choose a different direction. So there is no blocking in Shadow Arena. Mostly, there aren’t. We designed it so that it can be stopped in different ways and twisted the game; it’s very different from Black Desert.

Then can we consider Shadow Arena as an independent game made with Black Desert IP? What’s the biggest connection with the original?


It depends. First, Black Desert Online and Shadow Arena are games serviced with different clients and different rules. So in that matter, it is independent, but the stories, characters, settings are connected to Black Desert. There’s a high chance of it being connected closely. As a game, it’s different.

It’s hard to see what kind of game DokeV is with only the video. Can you explain a bit more in detail?


We put in more information in the video than you’d think. Like why a player jumps with an umbrella, why they take out a vacuum cleaner after landing, or why DokeVs appear and fight together, etc. You can change the character’s clothes, there are concepts like housing. You can see it that they are in the plays. The game style is collecting DokeVs and enjoying MMO features.

Crimson Desert seems to be aiming more at the global market compared to Black Desert. There haven’t been high-quality MMORPGs. What do you expect from it?


If we were asked this question before we started Black Desert, I would have said a smaller outcome. We’re aiming for global multiplatform with Crimson Desert, Plan 8, and Shadow Arena. I have quite high expectations.

Shadow Arena seems to be turned into an esport someday. When do you think it’ll happen? For that to happen, you would need to add many characters. Would characters from Crimson Desert be added in the future?


We do have plans to add characters from Crimson Desert. While developing Shadow Arena, we’re thinking of combining not only the Black Desert IP but the Pearl Abyss IP as well.


As for esports, the premise to have the base secured. If there’s no solid base, shouting out esports doesn’t make it active. If the base is solidified and many players enjoy playing it, it would naturally become an esport, and I think that’s how it should happen. More characters will be added in the future. The six characters we showed you today are characters prepared for the CBT. The six characters are balanced and there are a lot more to come.

Would DokeV enjoyable as easily as a mobile game? It seems that you’ve put a lot of thought into the BGM as well.


Our goal is to make a game that the whole family can enjoy together. What we intend is to have parents asking their child, “How about playing this together?” at a store. We want to make a game that any people of any age or gender can enjoy. The developers have families and children as well. One of the most important points is that can they suggest and play this game with their children.


As for the music, we put in a lot of thought about if it would suit our game well. The reason we named our game DokeV is because of its own uniqueness. People may think of the K-drama, but there aren’t any games with that name. As for the global market, it seemed original and even more unique. So we selected the music to express the uniqueness of our game more.

What was added to the original and improved in Shadow Arena?


The base is similar to its original form. However, the roots are different. The original Shadow Arena was an attempt to create a battle royale genre within Black Desert, but I can say that we gave up being Black Desert in Shadow Arena. For example, if a character gets hit by a CC twice within 5 seconds, it doesn’t affect the character, but we tossed that.


There aren’t many skills; about 4 or 5. I think the modern trend is having the skills level up. All characters are simplified with their basic skills, punch, kick, etc. What we need to do is have each character have a clearly different style, so we made them.


Jordine is not a warrior. Of course, some skills are from Black Desert. There are a few that even the names were brought in, but we put that in as an homage. If the name is different, there’s a high chance of it being a different skill. It will be a skill or connections that you’ve never seen before. The skills are a lot different as well. The base may seem the same, but they are really different.

Kill cams are important since it’s a battle royale genre to catch and verify cheaters. Is it prepared?


Yes. That’s one of the things we’re concentrating a lot on. We may not be able to stop cheaters completely, but we haven’t even started the service yet; we’re just preparing. About the kill cams; it’s partially implemented in the current CBT and we’ll continue to gather data. We’ll continuously monitor and enhance this system. If it doesn’t work out, there would be a clear limit as an esport. We’re putting a lot of concern into this matter.


As we have experience while providing service in foreign countries as well as Korea, and we will be continuously making more improvements on the way.

How many characters do you think Shadow Arena would have?


I would say the more the better, but personally, I’d like to add up to at least 50 characters. There are characters that we’ve been preparing, and there will be some unique characters. Showing characters that feel like Black Desert was for the fans.

Plan 8 seems like future warfare. How is it different from other future warfare FPS games?


There’s the edge of the action and unique hit sense of Pearl Abyss. Although you fight with guns in Plan 8, you can feel the edge. It would be a game where users have fun fighting with guns, but you’ll be able to feel that it’s made by Pearl Abyss. I can say this is the biggest difference. It’s hard to say at this point about the game system or story. It’s all connected to one. The big picture is uniquely twisted.

Both Crimson Desert and Shadow Arena are based a lot on Black Desert Online’s IP. Measures to differentiate Crimson Desert may be necessary. Is there anything different regarding directions?


There are several things that are difficult to answer, but the end content is scheduled to be completely different from Black Desert. The scenario or directing is all different. Rather than saying that’s an advantage, I’d like to say it needs to be fun. How is it different from Black Desert is the question we were asked the most often.


Since we have Black Desert, we started developing thinking it shouldn’t be like this, and during the process, it naturally became different. Of course, the unique Pearl Abyss style is maintained.

You mentioned growing mercenaries. What does this mean in terms of content?


Mercenaries are in most parts of the game. If Black Desert is about the growth of an individual, as a single process, Crimson Desert is about the growth of a mercenary company. This may be similar to DokeV. You need to collect and find efficient mercenaries to grow the company in quantity and quality. There is end content in the size of the whole company. You can insert or take out proper mercenaries. The fun with strategy and tactics I mentioned during the presentation relates a bit to this.

If you turn 8, it means infinity. Does Plan 8 mean that?


That’s… I can’t discuss details. It’s in an ambiguous form. It stands for more than two things. It’s too early to tell for now.

Will the Black Spirit appear in Shadow Arena?


It could, but I can’t answer yet.

The mass battle seems to be the core in Crimson Desert. Although they didn’t have good results, there was KUF for mass battle. How is Crimson Desert directed with the battle?


There are mass battles where people would generally predict. Since you have run a mercenary company, it’s natural. It’s not just having many fight against many to get a reward. The commodities consumed and production etc. The mercenary itself doesn’t exist just to fight. It’s like there’s a community of carnivores and herbivores and they’re harmonized together.


From the consumption and production, there’s a cycle. Each and every round, there are more tactical parts. One battlefield consumes, produces and this gets repeated. Each unit can become a whole company.


For example, if it’s a castle siege, there are mercenary companies that are in charge of supplying resources and there would be mercenaries that consume the resources in battle. We’re looking at the possibility of having fair rewards among the suppliers and consumers.

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