NARAKA: BLADEPOINT was one of the surprise announcements at last year's The Game Awards ceremony. Developed and published by Chinese studio 24 Entertainment (based in Hangzhou), the online multiplayer brawler game is aiming for a 2020 release on PC via Steam, with a few distinguishing features such as a 'boundless movement system', a grappling hook and an accessible block and parry system.
We got in touch with 24 Entertainment producer Ray Kuan to pierce the veil of mystery that surrounds much of NARAKA: BLADEPOINT. Take a look at our transcribed chat below.
First of all, were you affected heavily by the COVID-19 situation?
Yes, of course. We have been working from home for about a month now, with some work being
delayed, the coding especially. But as the situation in China improves, we are gradually returning to
work in our offices. BTW, we are all in good health, including our Wuhan colleagues.
We have been exchanging advice with our foreign partners for a while now on how best to stay safe during this dangerous period. And now, having spent over two months in battle against the virus, we're happy to share our experiences.
When did you begin developing NARAKA: BLADEPOINT?
The project really started to take shape in late 2018 when we began creating the team. We've been
in development for a year or so now.
What is the goal of a multiplayer match in NARAKA: BLADEPOINT? To be the last person standing?
There will be a variety of game modes. However, the game takes its unique combat and the
experience that comes with it as its core.
How many players will participate in a match? Are there any team modes or is it everyone for him/herself?
We’ll continue testing to find the golden ratio for this, but I can tell you that we’re quite ambitious.
How big is the map going to be? How long will it take to cross it entirely?
2x2km in total. Traversing the map is an extremely vital part of the game, but as it is fairly compact
it's not easy to estimate how long it would actually take. Suffice it to say, it incorporates a lot more
than simply running in a straight line.
Is NARAKA: BLADEPOINT exclusively PvP or are there any PvE elements as well?
While we have no plans to create any PvE content, we will continue to create a variety of game
modes that play on the advantages of our combat system. And if the game sells well enough we will consider creating a solo game based on that same combat system.
Can you describe your 'unique block and parry mechanics' with no defense or block button?
Creating NARAKA called for a system where characters' weapons clash together in a way that's fundamentally different from that of Sekiro. Our goal is to reduce the amount of stagger and recoil from weapon clashes, making combat more accessible to beginners.
Without any stagger at all, combat would just boil down to two players standing there, simply
competing to see who could perform the most attacks. This would go against the fundamental ideas of most action games, and wouldn't be very exciting. But when an attack staggers the opponent, the player taking the beating often won't have a chance to do anything but wait for death (which is sometimes the case in fighting games). Which usually leads to frustration, and can intimidate new players.
That got us thinking about how weapon clashing should be dealt with. Ours isn't just an attack- defense system with one player on the offensive, another on the defensive. Instead, a weapon clash occurs when the weapons of two attacking players collide. This gives players a further choice: they will always be able to move and attack, for outcomes are not decided on stats alone. Coupled with exciting visual and audio effects, the combat really comes to life. This is one of the reasons why we don't resort to using stances: we want to lessen the difficulty curve for newcomers.
Is there character progression in the game (do you acquire stronger armor, weapons, etc.)? How many weapons are there in NARAKA: BLADEPOINT?
All we can say at the moment is that each character will have their own skillset. Each characters' 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 winning chance, if played well. There will be no restrictions on the types of weapons usable by each character.
Will the game feature controller support?
Are you planning to hold beta tests before the full release?
Beyond PC, are you considering a release on consoles as well? If so, on current-generation (PS4/XB1) or next-generation (PS5/XSX)?
We do have plans to bring NARAKA: BLADEPOINT to other platforms, but at the moment, we are focusing solely on PC.
Thank you for your time.