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Huxley Interview

After first seeing it in action at this year's E3, I was extremely excited to learn more about Huxley, Webzen's upcoming MMORPGFPS, or for short, just... no, there's really no way to shorten that, and while it's a pain to say in conversation, the blend of RPG and FPS is something to be excited about. Designed for those gamers whose idea of an area-of-effect spell is splash damage from a rocket launcher, Webzen hopes to craft the perfect combination of character development and intense fragging on a massive scale. I spoke with KJ Kang, Producer of Huxley, to find out a bit more.

Shack: MMOFPS, with the first letter, of course, standing for Massive. Tell us how Huxley brings first-person shooters to a massive scale.

KJ Kang: Unlike previous FPS games, Huxley is being developed with a focus on massive combat instead of one-on-one fights. HuxleyÂ’s space consists of the Persistent World, which is a living space that can accommodate a maximum of 5,000 people, and a battle area that accommodates up to 200 people. Players can hold parties to perform missions and quests through Persistent World.

Cities are where users live, grow and communicate, while battle zones are places where users try to win more battles than other factions and obtain resources in pursuit of a better in-game life. Battle zones will be spread in many areas in the world of Huxley, and users will disperse and enter into combat for victory in these scattered battle zones.

Thus, the space where overall game play occurs is massive. However, in battle areas of FPS play, people will be organized in ways that will make gaming more enjoyable.

Shack: Tell us about the art design in Huxley. Also, what sort of levels(battlegrounds, social areas, and misc.) have been created?

KJ Kang: Huxley is based in the near future with an outlook of reconstruction after massive global destruction. We are working on art design based on a blended concept of past, present, and future along with a fusion of the East and WestÂ’s culture and style coupled with a hybrid of material from steam punk and cyber punk.

Some areas being made include: Nostalonia, the city of Sapiens with an atmosphere of steam punk and the energetic movement of reconstruction; ESKA, the city controlled by Alternatives with a futuristic, cyber punk tone; various battle zones with natural features of plains and caves, abandoned cities, and diverse resources; and different kinds of quests with the cityÂ’s dark sewers, underground cities, and closed territories of cities in the background.

Shack: Tell us about the weapons available in Huxley. As in, what kinds are there, how do you get them, can they be upgraded, etc. If it has to do with weapons, we wanna know about it!

KJ Kang: HuxleyÂ’s weapons consist of weapons generally used in FPS games and a few shared weapons. Each weapon category can be activated by investing license points acquired through growth. How a player uses his or her limited license points changes which weapons a player decides to use.

No matter which character you choose, obtaining qualification to use certain weapons depends entirely on the licenses you acquire. In other words, the weapons and armor you use do not depend on what character you created at the beginning. A player can use certain weapons and armor depending on how he or she developed the character.

Moreover, even if you obtain licenses to buy a large number of weapons and purchase them, the number of weapons that you can take with you in battle is limited to five. Thus, a user plays the game after choosing among the weapons in possession based on the game playing style or combat method and tactical choice in the battle zone.

Shack: What are the races available for play in Huxley? Do they offer unique gameplay (dis)advantages over the others? Weapon restrictions? And what sort of classes are available to choose from?

KJ Kang: Huxley is divided into two playable races: Sapiens and Alternatives. The Sapiens consist of the factions ONE and SYN while the Alternatives include Alteravers and Alternixes. Players can choose their races and then choose their characterÂ’s faction.

Huxley is a battle game where all characters begin in almost identical conditions and users develop their characters in accordance to their individuality. Thus, I would like to say that there is no clear concept of different classes (such as warriors and wizards in fantasy role-playing games) in Huxley. There is no division of fixed and clear duties and actions either (such as the number of rifleman or medic of military service in military genres).

However, players can choose game playing styles of their preference and weapons to match the style of their choice.

To explain further, in Huxley, there are different branches: Enforcers that can easily enjoy wielding massive firepower in close proximity of a large number of enemies; Phantoms that can better enjoy skillful play by restraining enemies at a distance and sneaking into the enemy; and Avengers that can quickly gather information on battle situations, rapidly react, and pass on such information to Enforcer and Phantom.

As players develop, they can gain “license points,” which are used to obtain licenses related to the authorization of weapons and various kinds of battle behavior (e.g. driving etc.). A player’s choice of branch signifies that the player will invest a certain amount of license points to use weapons and licenses that can enhance the play of the player’s preference.

For example, in order to acquire a license for shotgun-type weapons, Enforcers just need one point, but Phantoms must have three points.

The acquirement of license points and investment in accordance to playersÂ’ preference means that it is possible for players to develop their characters in various customizable directions.

For example, a player that is an Enforcer could use a sniper rifle; a weapon specialized for Phantoms, according to his or her judgment. It is possible to use the skills of a type of armor from a different branch by resigning oneself to the reduction in defense power.

Shack: Tell us about character professions.

KJ Kang: In Huxley, players go through three stages of character growth system. We canÂ’t go into detail about it yet, but we look forward to releasing more information on character growth in the future.

Shack: How does combat work in Huxley? Are there different kinds (e.g., fast reflexes, slow and strategic, etc.), or is there only one focus?

KJ Kang: HuxleyÂ’s battles are divided into battle zone battles and quest zone battles.

Battle zone battles are RvR battles with the goal of victory by obtaining facilities related to the production and transportation of resources. A large number of players connect to organize a squad and tactically play to seize the target.

In quest zones, a small number of players including the playerÂ’s character connect to combat with the enemy acting through artificial intelligence.

Huxley is aimed at hyper style FPS players. However, a more tactical play will evolve out of levels with tactical targets and battle zone rules.

Moreover, among the factors that a character can develop, there are skills. The game outcome can shift depending on the effective usage of such skills.

Thus, HuxleyÂ’s battles hold the fun of simple shooting and dodging, and include additional variables through skill usage, supplemented by strategic and tactical game play.

Shack: How do players "level-up" in Huxley? Through combat? If so, tell us about that. If not, please explain how character progression works.

KJ Kang: Battle experience points and general experience points are necessary for players to level-up in Huxley.

Battle experience points are calculated after combat in the battle zone by adding up the factionÂ’s wins and individual records in the battle zone. General experience points can be won by other activities including quest play.

If the sum of battle and general experience points obtained this way meet level-up standards, a player can level-up.

Thus, regardless of whether a user plays games with a focus on battle zones, a focus on quests, or balance of both, a player can level-up if the sum of the two types of experience points satisfies the standards.

Shack: What role do vehicles play in Huxley? How do you go about acquiring them?

KJ Kang: Vehicles play an important part tactically and strategically in Huxley battles but they will not have a decisive influence on winning a match.

Vehicles can cause strong damage, help players get places faster, and transport a large number of people, but will not be able to freely approach the core objective that determines the game play outcome. However, vehicles can be very useful in transporting a larger number of people more quickly and more safely among objectives.

In order to use such vehicles set up in the battle zone, players must invest license points acquired through growth in vehicle driving.

Shack: HowÂ’s the Xbox 360 version coming along?

KJ Kang: Huxley is a cross-platform game and can be played on the PC and the Xbox 360 versions. The cross will not be among the same contents but will be from a completely different standpoint exceeding mere connection (simple interactivity, interaction). The Huxley world can be experienced through different aspects, stories and quests on the same theme that unfold in different platforms.

Shack: Any news on when the game will launch, pricing plans, etc.?

KJ Kang: We are currently targeting a 2007 launch. The exact launching date and pricing plans will be revealed later.

You can find the official Huxley website at http://www.webzengames.com/Game/Huxley/. At FileShack you can find several in-game movies.
Contributing Editor