The Game Awards feels like an eternity ago, but picture that night once more. That was the night that dozens of games were shown off to the viewing public, many of them for the first time. Some of them came from lesser-known game developers, but while the names were unfamiliar, what they were showing looked exciting. That's certainly the case with Naraka: Bladepoint, created by the team at China-based 24 Entertainment.
With the vast eastern realm of Morus to explore and bombastic swordfighting ahead, Naraka: Bladepoint looks to be one of the more action-packed games to come this year. Shacknews was originally slated to check the game out for the first time at GDC, but current events made that impossible. However, we were still able to speak to Producer Ray Kuan about what players can expect from 24 Entertainment's upcoming adventure.
Shacknews: For those who are learning about Naraka: Bladepoint for the first time, how would you describe this game? And how long has the game been in the works?
Ray Kuan, Producer: We call Naraka an 'unchained battle arena' game.
'Unchained' refers to how players can use their grappling hooks to traverse maps outside of conventional movement restrictions, and also to the varied combat styles offered by different weapon types and character skills. 'Arena' refers to how Naraka is a multiplayer, online arena-style game. Players set foot on Morus Isle either alone or in a party, and compete to be the last ones standing
We first began considering gameplay elements in late 2017, but it has only actually been in development for a little over a year.
Shacknews: What can you tell me about the combat mechanics? It looks to be more than simplistic hack-and-slash gameplay.
Kuan: All we can say at the moment is that each character will have their own skill set. Each character's active and/or passive skills make them unique; some can heal, while others may excel at assassinations, for example.
In the end, Naraka is more of an action than a MOBA game, so we will ensure that each character has a chance to win, if played well. There are also no restrictions placed upon the types of weapons available to each character.
Shacknews: In contrast to similar games, you've thrown defense out the window and said, "No block button and no defense." What led to this decision and how do you feel it makes your game stand out?
Kuan: For one, we want to encourage offensive play as much as possible, so as to avoid having two players just standing there defending. Another reason is that in adding defensive aspects to an action game, you also need to implement perfect blocking, parry, and defense break systems, and so on. However this often makes the game less accessible for new players.
Our goal is to create a game wherein everyone can learn the ropes without too much effort, instead of one more tailored to hardcore gamers, as is the case with many fighting games.
Shacknews: Tell me about the grappling hook? How many different ways can it be used?
Kuan: Our motive for adding the grappling hook is to ensure that players feel the need to remain vigilant at all times.
It enables you to move at high speed, whether entering or escaping combat, but you can also aim it at enemies as a form of weaponry too. To be successful, an important skill to master will be to hide in darkness, and take your enemy by surprise.
Shacknews: One of the game's taglines notes that there is "no place you can't reach." Explain that one to me. How expansive is the game's world?
Kuan: We have added tons of ways for you to traverse the maps, making every nook and cranny accessible to the player. This also enables you to launch attacks from a range of unexpected angles. However, some areas will require imagination and a certain amount of skill if they're to be reached. Besides, many places are reachable also via your grappling hook.
Morus Isle is roughly 2km x 2km. As Naraka's combat is highly focused around melee weaponry, it calls for a fairly compact map.
Shacknews: I'm fascinated to learn more about the game's characters. Who are our main characters and what do we know about them?
Kuan: The lady you've seen in our first trailer, Crimson Night, will be one of the main characters in the game. Regarding characters, they will all have their own skill set. And each of them has a very reason to set foot on the Morus Isle. We don’t want to spoil too much for now.
Shacknews: Lastly, what elements of Eastern culture helped inspire the game's story?
Kuan: We took inspiration from Chinese mythology, for example concepts such as 'Totem of the Three-legged Crow' and the ancient story 'Hou Yi Shoots Down the Suns', amongst others. This is just part of the story, and you will get to experience more of it once the game is made available. When creating the art style, we wanted to capture the essence of brushwork and blank space as seen in traditional Chinese art.
Morus Isle is situated far out in the open sea, so for its buildings we went with a style combining both Bronze Age decorations with traditional Chinese architecture; an entirely fictional combination.
Naraka: Bladepoint is coming soon to PC. There's no price point just yet, but it's available to wishlist right now on Steam.