Where Winds Meet Q&A – Devs Reveal Tons of Info on This Exciting Wuxia Sandbox RPG

Alessio Palumbo
Where Winds Meet

Cologne welcomed back countless gaming fans for this year's Gamescom after two years of hiatus forced by the COVID pandemic. That said, while gamers once again attended in droves (over 250K, according to official figures shared by the organizers), several of the biggest game companies decided to skip the German convention. On the upside, this choice allowed other games to shine, with the Wuxia-themed open world sandbox RPG Where Winds Meet easily gathering some of the most excited reactions on social media and forums.

Developed by Everstone Studio and published by NetEase Games for the PC platform, Where Winds Meet is set in China during the twilight period of the Ten Kingdoms. It features highly ambitious gameplay mechanics that go beyond the traditional combat-focused action/adventure genre, supporting many different playstyles. Where Winds Meet also includes both single player and multiplayer modes.

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Following the strong excitement generated by the debut trailer showcased at Gamescom 2022 Opening Night Live, we reached out to the development team of Where Winds Meet with a plethora of questions. Today, we are happy to publish the comprehensive responses we got from the developers, which should fill in many gaps in areas like combat and non-combat activities, world size, story, building system, multiplayer, and more. Enjoy!

First of all, what was your reaction to all the positive buzz that followed the reveal of Where Winds Meet? Did it surpass your expectations, and if so, how are you handling the newfound pressure from gamers worldwide?

This trailer seems to have gained the attention and love of players from all around the world. We were really delighted and pleasantly surprised by this, but we are also experiencing greater pressure as a consequence! We constantly need to keep reminding ourselves to be more down-to-earth in making games after gaining so much unexpected attention. Rationally speaking, our game is still not where we want it to be ideally. We will continue to work hard and keep polishing the game more earnestly in the future and do our best to create something that truly gives our players a better experience of the world of martial arts.

This sounds like a really ambitious project. When did you begin work on Where Winds Meet, and how many developers do you have on it?

We have been preparing since 2019. We had a relatively small team of about ten or more people at that time, but everyone was filled with yearning and passion for the spirit of martial arts, and we all enjoyed open-world gameplay, so everyone hit it off from the start and we began developing the game together. Later, with the project's advancement, the team continued to grow. We currently have just under a hundred people.

Which engine are you using for this title? Will you take advantage of ray tracing?

We are using a proprietary solution, but we will release more information about our engine later.

Will you support controllers/gamepads for Where Winds Meet?

Yes, we plan for our game to offer support for game controllers.

Are you planning to conduct beta tests outside of China?

All we can say is that we hope to launch a test version of the game this year. Please keep an eye out for further information about the specific region.

The announcement press release described Where Winds Meet as an open world sandbox game. Usually, games in this genre do not focus on the story. However, can players still expect a detailed storyline in Where Winds Meet?

In the game, we use the main story to push players to explore the world, but the main story won't account for too much of the whole game. We will try to supplement the story with more narratives about the environment and events.

How big is the playable world in the game? How long does it take to get from one end to another of the map?

We expect the first version to have more than 20 square kilometers (5K * 5K), but we are constantly adjusting this according to the content. As the world of this game has a 3D structure, there is an underground space and altitude. The game will continue to be updated and expanded in the future. The first version will feature a large city, Bianjing City, a large wild area, and small towns.

From what we've been able to understand, there will be a single player mode and multiplayer mode, and players can switch between them at all times. Can you explain the differences between the two?

Simply put, single-player and multiplayer modes will be mutually exclusive modes, and players can freely choose whichever mode they want to play.

In multiplayer mode, players will be in environments that are interactive or collaborative in nature. For example, players can fight together. As shown in the live demonstration, when a player suffers from qigong deviation or a debuff, other players can take on the role of a physician to heal their injuries. In addition, the scene of the meteorite falling in the trailer is actually a random event unique to multiplayer mode. Our philosophy is that a large area will be changed when any event occurs. A house could collapse, a fire could break out, or it could be something more serious, and players would be required to work together to accomplish a certain goal.

How many players will be able to participate on the same server in the multiplayer mode of Where Winds Meet? Will there be clan/guild struggles for conquering territories?

The Multiplayer mode is still being designed, and many contents have yet to be determined. We are hoping to do something novel and unique with multiplayer mode to give players new experiences, so we are still in the process of trial and error for details. Stay tuned, though.

You've confirmed that player characters can get sick in a variety of ways. How important are the survival elements going to be in Where Winds Meet?

We have added some realistic content to the game, but our original intention was to recreate classic content of martial arts (Wuxia) and not to make a survival game. We brainstormed about interesting and unique experiences of martial arts and thought of how those who practice martial arts can suffer from Qigong Deviation and enter a state similar to illness if something goes wrong. Building on this through association and extension, we have incorporated many states of disease into the game, including fractures and other traumas. These contents are triggered and resolved through the game's unique martial arts characteristics, such as Qinggong and combat, instead of simply introducing survival elements into the game.

Beyond fighting as a swordsman, the game will allow other professions such as doctors, merchants, etc. Will there be any specific mini-games to go with these alternative jobs? Also, can you take multiple jobs at once?

We hope to provide a diversified value system in this martial arts society so that players can play the game as any occupation. Even if they don't pursue powerful combat abilities, they can still experience the unique fun of the rich social occupation gameplay. We will still provide sufficient content for each profession. Players who choose to become a doctor will have different abilities and honor evaluation criteria from heroes.
For example, they may be evaluated based on the amount of praise received from patients or the number of intractable diseases treated. At the same time, because this game will have rich social elements, there will be extensive interactions between various occupations and identities, allowing players to experience fun social interactions and a sense of personal achievement.

Regarding combat, we understand that player characters can join a martial art school or multiple schools or even just steal the moves. Can you expand on how this system works?

Where Winds Meet has a martial arts (Wuxia) theme. We attach great importance to the presentation of martial arts (Wuxia) elements in the game, and the fighting abilities in the martial arts (Wuxia) theme are both an inheritance and an extension of the traditional martial arts, kung fu. It includes real fighting moves and content that defies the laws of physics, making it romantic and innovative. We hope this will show everyone the unique charm of martial arts combat. Many martial arts movements seen in the trailer are inspired by kung fu concepts. For example, the pressure point attacks mentioned by many players are traditional martial arts technique that uses a special way of force generation to hit specific parts of enemies' bodies to immobilize them. It is a type of 'Qigong'.

This type of attack is featured in many martial arts films, television works (such as Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon), and martial arts literature. This will be the first time this attack has been recreated in a game, so we hope it lives up to everyone’s expectations. The fire-breathing and acrobatics that appear in the trailer are derived from kung fu performances of traditional Chinese street performers. The scene of the leaves being rolled up is a representation of Tai Chi, a martial art that originates from the ancient philosophical work, the i-ching, the Book of Changes. It is a martial art that advocates using softness to overcome strength, borrowing the force of others, and
channeling the power of enemies' attacks to counter them.

The trailer also showed many interesting martial arts, such as Form-Intention Fist (e.g., Toad Arts, Lion Roar, etc.), which is derived from simulating animals' hunting behavior. Martial arts skills can even be used to skim over rooftops and walls, etc. can be used to climb over various terrain obstacles such as rocks and walls, step on animals or utilize enemies' force to leap, etc.
The introduction of these elements adds interesting changes and experiences to battles. Other than fighting skills, we also designed abilities called 'Jianghu Arts', which play an important role in the exploration of the world and interactions with NPCs.

Taking Tai Chi, for example, the core mechanic of leveraging force allows players to change the flow of water, gather the power of falling leaves, or burst with power in an instant to control and change the environment. The collision and fusion of martial arts abilities and an open world are exactly what we want to create a unique and exclusive experience. In Where Winds Meet, martial arts skills can be acquired in various ways that are quite exciting. For example, some taboo martial arts can only be learned through Shadow, and the process of Shadow is risky as you will pay the price if you are discovered. Some other martial arts can only be discovered by chance while exploring the world. For example, players can only comprehend Drunken Fist if they fight when they are drunk. Moreover, players can freely join major Jianghu factions and have their own Jianghu experiences. We want to provide such a degree of freedom. At the same time, players who have joined a sect can still secretly learn the martial arts of other sects. Players are able to use any weapons and learn martial arts from all schools according to their preferences.

Will there be fights between schools/sects that you can take part in?

In the process of practicing martial arts and exploring the world of Where Winds Meet, players will encounter characters and sects that think differently and have different values. Players will also encounter various opponents and be able to participate in brutal sect battles.

Construction is also said to be a big feature of Where Winds Meet. What kind of perks and benefits can players get by building a house? Can it be attacked by other players in multiplayer mode?

Players can build things in the world as construction masters. We want our players to enjoy the fun of creation and want to deeply combine construction with exploration and martial art themes to offer players some unique fun. More details will be shared at a later date.

Will players be able to make friends, get married, and/or have children in this game?

There is no marriage system yet, but we may consider this in the future if there is strong demand from players. However, we recommend players try the parts we have completed first.

Is there a chance fans can expect Where Winds Meet to be released in 2023 or is 2024 a safer bet?

The release date has not been decided yet. We hope you'll continue to follow us for the
latest updates.

Is there anything else you would like to add about Where Winds Meet?

We’d like to share some background information of why the title is Where Winds Meet.
First of all, the game's name originated from our thoughts about 'wind'. To us, 'wind' is a symbol of freedom. It is difficult to describe and has infinite possibilities. This temperament is especially in line with what we have visualized for our free and open world.
When multiple winds gather, it is akin to a gathering of people with different ideas, organizations with different ideas, and players who are all different in this grand era and world. We want these harmonious yet different things to meet, collide, and fuse together in the game. That's why this game is called Where Winds Meet.

It is in such a place that the collision and intersection of ideas drive mankind to keep moving forward, influencing each other, and creating countless miracles and civilizations, just as the brilliant Song dynasty was born from the chaos of the Five Dynasties period and rebuilt prosperity from the ruins. Exploration and freedom, civilization and harmony–this is the meaning of Where Winds Meet and is the theme of the game that we want to present to everyone.

Thank you for your time.

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