On February 14th, teasers of 5 new upcoming games currently under development by NC were released. Games of various genres were revealed, invoking curiosity of how each game will develop. Here are new trailers for the game < Throne and Liberty > which is scheduled to be released in the second half of this year, and the game < Project E > which catches people’s eyes with its oriental elements. Below is a detailed interview with Principal Development Management Officer Moon-young Choi, who manages the overall process of game development at NC, Producer Jong-ok Ahn of < Throne and Liberty > and Han Gu-min and Yoo Yeon-joo of 'LIGHTBOX House' that created the worldview of both < Throne and Liberty > and < Project E >.
It is the first time since the announcement of the game release that they have shared stories about the projects in detail. They talk about the development direction and differentiated content shown in < Throne and Liberty > which is an original IP NC has showcased after a long time.
WORK IN PROCESS
A New Story Which Starts from Possibility
Five new games under development were unveiled in February. What was the reaction of the fans? We are pretty sure you received a lot of feedback.
Moon-young Choi I always thank our players for their strong affection, continued support and high expectations of our games. This time, their reaction was different from what we originally expected. They said our new games “defied their expectations”. It seems that some of them, who are particularly agile, have already noticed that we are seeking for a new direction.
Since it is obvious that the direction of the new titles is different from the previous ones, we have to talk about the ‘change’. Especially, we'd like to learn about what you're particularly focusing on inside NC.
Moon-young Choi In fact, it has been a long time since NC started to try something new. Now we finally gained an opportunity to show our efforts to achieve change and transformation by announcing the release of our new game titles for the first time to the public.
Last year, we focused on the development of mobile MMORPGs, but in 2022, we plan to try various genres which player can enjoy with different devices, actively pioneering the global market at the same time. In fact, the newly-announced games belong to different genres such as MMORPG, interactive movie, action battle royale, and collectible RPG, all of which will be globally available in multiple platforms such as console, PC, and mobile device.
Aside from the content, the way you unveil a new game has changed. It was not common to disclose a project, which is still under development, to the public.
Moon-young Choi As mentioned earlier, NC has cultivated seeds of change for a long time but we had few opportunities to introduce them to the public. Following the videos released in February, we are going to unveil other videos of our new IPs one after another. For the IPs we have not unveiled yet, we plan to actively communicate with our customers through different channels from the planning and development stage and reflect their feedback.
Is there any special reason for the change?
Moon-young Choi It is because of a very simple and legitimate reason. NC’s existence has been made possible by our customers and markets. In other words, it is our duty to make something that can satisfy the need of our customers. To that end, we are trying to look for ways to increase communication with them.
How are you going to continue communication with the customers?
Moon-young Choi In the same way < Throne and Liberty > and < Project E > were introduced by Producer Ahn Jong-ok of < Throne and Liberty > and those who developed the worldview, we are going to provide more opportunities for players to directly communicate with our developers. We hope that interesting content will be created in the process of unveiling the development process, entertaining our players in a way that we have not even thought of before.
THE ORIGINAL IP
< THRONE AND LIBERTY >
Among the newly-unveiled IPs, < Throne and Liberty > looks most familiar because it was once introduced as the < The Lineage > before .
Jong-ok Ahn That's right. < Throne and Liberty > stemmed from the Lineage to become "a next-generation Lineages a project started by Lineage."
Moon-young Choi As far as I remember, it was in the spring three years ago when < Throne and Liberty > began to be materialized as a new IP. It was when we were re-creating the story of the Lineage.
(Left) PDMO, Moon-young Choi, (Right) PD, Jong-ok Ahn
Jong-ok Ahn In the development process, we had to modify and remove many of the original systems and content to catch up with today’s gaming trend. Consequently, the game’s characteristics had changed. Most importantly, we re-wrote the story and this made the development team wonder “Should this be called Lineage?”. We finally decided to change its name to fit more with the new story, showing the will of the development team to distinguish it from the Lineage.
What makes < Throne and Liberty > different as an original IP?
Jong-ok Ahn In the < Throne and Liberty > project, we went back to the square one and thought hard about what value next-generation PC and console-based MMO games should present. We put extra efforts into designing a highly immersive world where players can enjoy new experiences and have fun.
For example, we tried multiple things to avoid monotonous field play. Even in the same region, the geographical features change depending on the weather while the flow of battle changes according to the wind direction. Over time, players might encounter new mobs. The way and purpose of hunting keep changing accordingly. We worked hard to ensure that the three factors of field, environment and player affect one another. We expect that such an interactive influence will lead to richer possibilities for players.
Who is the target of < Throne and Liberty > ? We wonder if there is any content prepared for the global release.
Jong-ok Ahn It might sound too idealistic but I believe that a game will be loved by players of all generations in every region as long as it is fun to enjoy. That is why we kept reviewing the games to find what we had missed and tried to make them better without targeting a specific region or group.
The lively world of < Throne And Liberty > , That Keeps Players Entertained
What is the major content of < Throne and Liberty > ?
Jong-ok Ahn We have two major pieces of content. First is a well-structured, robust and convincing worldview.
Good understanding of game characters is a prerequisite for players to enjoy the game. Only then, they can be fully immersed in the game with strong affection. To that end, the worldview of the game, which is home to the game characters, has to be solid and robust. So we paid a lot of attention to storytelling and utilized many tools and techniques that are common in console or adventure games.
Next is the challenge in games. So far, NC’s games focused on competition between players, which of course can motivate and entertain users in a specific region and class. However, a significantly larger group of players finds it more interesting to overcome well-designed challenges instead of reaching the peak through competition. That is why we deployed many challenges in < Throne and Liberty >. This is particularly true when player has to fight a boss monster. Player can overcome the challenge only when working together with other players, grasping the characteristics and skills of each boss and fully utilizing their abilities .
We heard that players can also transform into an animal in the game. Why?
Jong-ok Ahn We concentrated on two points when designing different worlds of < Throne and Liberty > at each level. To begin with, we tried to connect every world seamlessly. And we sought to allow players to maximize the spatial use by allowing them to feel every space three-dimensionally.
To that end, it was required reduce teleportation and enable users to move from one space to another at a rapid speed regardless of height.
We thought animals are the answer. So we allowed players to transform into a land, water or flying animal. For successful exploration of some regions in the game, they have to utilize the animal’s ability to move. In addition, players can carry other players once they transform into an animal.
It seems that you paid a lot of attention to making the game contextually well-organized, providing more immersive in-game experiences. Please introduce other differentiated content of < Throne and Liberty >.
Jong-ok Ahn In < Throne and Liberty >, environmental factors such as time of the day and weather conditions including rain and wind keep changing. Although you might not be able to recognize this when you just start out the game, it has more implications than you think.
For example, the direction and strength of the wind affect the archery shooting range. If you practice lightning-type magic when it rains, it affects a wider range of enemies unlike the way it affects a single enemy in a sunny day. Terrain is influenced by environmental factors, as well. For example, you can infiltrate the castle in diverse routes in a siege warfare including the underground sewer and it could be filled with too much water and become unavailable if it rains heavily.
Conversely, players can affect the environment. They can change the environment in their favor by causing a solar eclipse or rainstorm if required conditions are met.
Stories of Two Continents are Unfold as Their Own History in One Worldview
NC has finally showcased an original story with < Throne and Liberty > after a long time, which we cannot talk about without < Project E >. When the teaser was released in February, you announced that < Throne and Liberty > shares the same worldview with < Project E >. We wonder where this idea first started.
LIGHTBOX House The worldview of < Throne and Liberty > was created by LIGHTBOX House. When a new IP is planned, LIGHTBOX House is asked to build a worldview through discussions with the development team based on its basic concept. Of course it would be great if we could deliver more stories. Unfortunately though, only a few of the tens or hundreds of projects are actually developed into an actual game. I just hope you to know that there is this team of LIGHTBOX House at NC and we strive to identify an interesting story and exchange ideas to create a more solid worldview and fun game.
(Left) < Project E > , (Right) < Throne and Liberty >
From the early days of building the worldview of < Throne and Liberty > , we imagined a scenario where many different stories derive from the same worldview and are applied to other IPs. For this reason, we carefully designed its major pillars. Starting from Genesis, which we are pretty sure will be seen as the too distant past for today’s players, we meticulously organized major events, making the map of the entire planet in consideration of time, space, and climate.
It is very interesting to see the two games share the same worldview. Still it is not easy to imagine that.
LIGHTBOX House The backgrounds of < Throne and Liberty > and < Project E > are two different continents on the same planet. < Throne and Liberty > is set in Solisium which looks like the Western medieval period while < Project E > is set in Laisak (TBD) which is a Eastern medieval period-themed continent.
A map of Novcrea World where the worlds of < Throne and Liberty > and < Project E > unfold
Please explain how they share the same worldview in more detail.
LIGHTBOX House Since < Throne and Liberty > and < Project E > are based on the same planet, they will be in the same time zone. They will share not only the same gravitational and ecological characteristics but also the same origin of magical and fantastical elements. Still the characteristics of each civilization and history will not be the same because they are set in different continents. In addition, important events that take place on the planet are interpreted in a totally different way in the two games, making them more interesting and fun.
LIGHTBOX House (left) Yeon-joo Yoo, (right) Gu-min Han
What is the major epic of the two games?
LIGHTBOX House There were two major events. To begin with, there was an attempt to seal away the God, Silaves, into a magic stone named the Star of Silaves but to no avail during the War between the Old Gods. As a result, the powerful magic stone was broken into small pieces and scattered around the planet, triggering a war to secure the pieces. In , several pieces of Sillack, which is equal to the Star of Silaves in < Throne and Liberty >, fell on the continent, giving birth to four Sky Islands, a Mystery Lake and sacred beasts and trees, etc.
(Left) < Project E > , (Right) < Throne and Liberty >
And there were wars. Humans waged a war against elves after learning magic from them while orcs started a large-scale war to unite different tribes. Due to these wars, some races were forced to leave their home and settled down in a new area (in the process, elves changed their names to “Nirva” and orcs to “Yaksha” in Laisak of Project E). These events are connected to other historical events running through the two projects.
(Clockwise from the top left) < Throne and Liberty > Wisp Island tree, < Project E > Divine tree concept original painting, < Project E > Divine tree concept original painting, < Throne and Liberty > River wetland
< Project E > has attracted a lot of attention due to the fact that it shares the same worldview with < Throne and Liberty >. Please introduce < Project E > briefly before we further dig into the game.
LIGHTBOX House NC chose a project with the concept of orientalism as the second IP to share the same worldview with < Throne and Liberty >. We originally aimed to establish a worldview by focusing on the beauty and mysticism of the East. This is why its name is Project E and E here stands for the East.
Although the recently released video highlights Korean elements, we will ultimately create 16 countries to show different historical, ecological, and visual references of the East. This does not mean that we exclude Western elements. We strive to beautifully harmonize various cultures in the fantasy world of .
Last but not least, please say a word to the players who look forward to the release of the games.
Jong-ok Ahn We have put our best efforts to develop fresh and new MMO games. The videos we have recently released show the actual playing of the games. I would like to say that I am always ready to have a candid, open-minded communication with players and continue to develop a fresh game.
Moon-young Choi Increasing communication with our players from the planning stage, I realized that that their needs are becoming more concrete and diversified. Considering that the gaming market evolves faster than any other markets, I think we need to actively collect and reflect their opinions in our games. We are now trying to come up with something new. I hope that you will continue to look forward to NC's projects including < Throne and Liberty > and < Project E > with strong support.