Interview with game director Gwon by INVEN

Interview with game director Gwon by INVEN

Directer Gwon, who has been working with KOG from 2008 has been the head planner and later director for Elsword. He is now directing Kurtzpel.

INVEN was surprised and happy to see that KurtzPel turned out to be a PC action game despite being amidst a market that is aggressively migrating to mobile. Gwon answered that although there were some concerns both internally and externally, the decision to ultimately stick to PC was based on the will to uphold KOG’s name in action games and the belief that quick and concise controls were essential to do so. They also chose to work with an engine suitable for multiple platforms and to design their system to work with controllers so that they won’t limit themselves to a single platform.

When asked what kind of game KurtzPel is, Gwon explained that their new title took KOG’s proven action formula and improved upon it. He goes to further explain that their previous titles, Grand Chase and Elsword, were based on each ‘turn’ that occurs when there’s a hit and that any player can easily execute their practiced pattern with ease as long as they can get a ‘turn’.

These patterns, more commonly referred to as combos, are systematic, diverse, and requires practice. And the developers had to run countless tests and fine tuning since various elements such as the timing of a hit, the strength of the hit, position, and many more creates diverse scenarios which needed to be put under consideration.

As KOG decided they needed to perfect this area they have experienced in with the belief that action games needs to be based on situational awareness, quick reflexes, and skill.

In that light, they wanted to avoid Pay-2-Win or Time-2-Win systems. Which is why KOG decided to aggressively cut out any system they believed would get in the way of the ever important action.

For example, they’ve implemented an endurance system that requires players to manage their resource carefully due to each action costing an action point (AFK: I’m not 100% sure this is what they meant here) and eliminated leveling systems along with stat growth systems. As the dependency on stats and the gap between player stats are low this in turn lead to the creation of items that are slightly different in concept from other games, which also in turn meant that an enhancing system wasn’t needed.

KurtzPel is introduced as a ‘Dual Action Battle Game’ where two players make a team playing in a third-person-view to either PvE or PvP where each hits counts as a ‘proactive turn’ for a true action packed experience.

The players in KurtzPel inherits and hones the eternal experience that is passed down generations called ‘Karma’. While Karma is similar to what classes are in other games, Karma isn’t limited to individual skills but the overall powers a being posses.

For example, if the power of Elsword is to be passed down in the form of Karma then it will not only pass on the swordsmanship of Elsword but also the inherent power of fire as well. And it is the player’s power to inherit and uphold this ability.

Players can choose 2 of the Karmas they have at their disposal to engage in battle. Setting up the right 4 Karmas will be an important strategic decision for premade teams. Karmas and Karma Shards(for skills) which can be attached to weapons can be obtained  through relationship with NPCs and then further improved.

Karma Shards are akin to skills in other games where Karma is like a character class. Farming for Karma, Karma Shards, weapons, and costumes are done through improving your relationship with NPCs who own them. The demo available for 2017 Gstar only provides a brief experience of the combat.  Karma, Karma Shards, weapons, and costumes will be shown in the future.

KurtzPel is subtitled ‘Bringer of Chaos’ which holds significant meaning within the game’s story. KurtzPel is a distinct noun within the game world which means bringer of chaos. Chaos is the disaster that has been wrought upon the world of Esteria and the player characters are referred to as KurtzPels being highly feared and hated by the eyes of society.

When questioned if KurtzPel is the successor of Grand Chase Gwon answered that as a spiritual successor of KOG’s expertise in action which started with Grand Chase KurtzPel may fit the bill but if asked if it is a direct sequel then the answer would be no. Gwon stated his desire for KurtzPel to have it’s own unique narrative and world which players who have enjoyed Grand Chase may enjoy as well.

When commented on the artstyle of KurtzPel Gwon mentioned that there was some concern with showing off the game in Gstar while it was still early in development. He wanted KurtzPel to be a unique game in every aspect and the art direction was no exception. Gwon pointed out that recent games are showing concept art and illustration with more and more designs and details with which he decided to go with a more simple and clean form of art starting from their concept art. The in-game graphics also reflects this with clean and clear visual while the details are within how the art is expressed.

Which is why they decided to express their art with cell shading. A decision not for nostalgia chasing but because it is what was deemed to be the best method for expressing KurtzPel’s artistic direction.

The push towards creating KurtzPel’s visuals is an on-going task. Gwon mentioned that while Unreal4 is an excellent engine, it wasn’t best suited for the artstyle he wanted for KurtzPel which required a lot of trail and errors to perfect.

KurtzPel is still in early development where Gwon mentions as being in the ‘starting phase’ but added that the basic system for the action is shaping up nicely. He also stressed that KurtzPel is an action PvP game at the core and that PvP content will be developed first and foremost while other content will not be allowed to get in the way of KOG’s progress with PVP content. He is planning to provide players a chance to experience KurtzPel in any form possible within 2018.

That is not to say KurtzPel won’t have PvE although it will not be in the form of dungeons like KOG’s past titles but in ‘battle’ format. The story will not be centered around a single heroes’ journey like a film or novel but something more suited for a game narrative. There are going to be multiple missions based on various fragments of story elements on top of an overarching world story and having the necessary requirements will proc events with NPCs which will expand on the story of the NPC and the game world.

Player characters are part of an organization called ‘Chase’ where they can accept higher mission as they go up the ranks. High rank missions have deeper involvement with the story with important objectives. Ranks can be achieved through competition with other players.

The overarching narrative of KurtzPel will change continuously with each update with the addition of core NPCs and new missions while old missions are changed or removed.

The player characters in KurtzPel are customizable avatars. Players will create their own characters and their own story.

A lot of games these days have very in-depth customization options that many find overwhelming and spend a lot of time to make the best-looking character or to find the best preset only to find that they ended up with a character they don’t like. Which is why KurtzPel aims to provide an easy to use customization system that is also capable of expressing each player’s individuality.

When creating characters for Elsword, the starting point was never on the appearance. Design always operated on the rule of ‘function dictates form’. And character customization also works on this principle. So the character customization of KurtzPel will be based on character personality and background.

Players are to choose a character type which will affect the general direction of the character’s appearance, certain actions, voice, and other elements. The Gstar 2017 demo showcases customization for human males and females. Other races will be available on launch.

Gwon went on to explain more on Karma and also introduce the Karmas which were shown for the Gstar 2017 demo.

Karma is something that can be shared with other users. Thus, this means it is possible to possess all existing Karmas which can be further trained then shared with others. The four Karmas introduces are Sword of Talaimh, Dance of Wind, Diabolic Witch, and Dual Soul.

Sword of Talaimh is the only defensive Karma introduced for Gstar 2017. It is sturdy and is capable for disrupting enemy action for a long period of time.

Sword of Talaimh is the only offensive melee Karma introduced for Gstar 2017. It can be easily interrupted and is not capable in disrupting others but has good mobility and can deal a large amount of damage quickly.

Dance of wind is a ranged offensive Karma with long range and Diabolic Wind is the only magic based Karma introduced for Gstar 2017 and can deal massive damage against the other three revealed Karmas which have weak magical defense.

Gwon hopes that KurtzPel will become a game where any combination of two people can easily get together and have a good time. He has no idea how far in to development they will be one year from now but wishes to be able to present a well structured variety of Karmas like a deck of cards by then.

Official website: kurtzpel.com

Source: WorldWideGameWatchers(translation) , INVEN