Bright Shadow Interview: Solid Gameplay
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Sheloman Byrd, Business Development and Marketing, GamepotUSA
Bright Shadow is an upcoming MMORPG that uses the mixture of cute anime-style graphics and solid, addicting gameplay. It is currently in the beta phase just to make sure that the kinks and bugs are well sorted when it goes commercial.
We here on OnRPG were given the opportunity to talk to the people behind the game to discuss the game’s current status, how the game is transitioning into the western world and the possible differences from the Western and Eastern versions of the game.
OnRPG: What is Bright Shadow and why bring it to Western Shores?
Bright Shadow is a fun, free MMORPG that places an emphasis on customization, sociability, and thrilling quests. Now that I’ve given the custom PR answer, I’ll get a bit more in-depth. Imagine a world where you and your friends can simply be anything you want-a world that welcomes adventurers, a world that needs protecting from some of the most fearsome and vibrant monsters to roam the land. It’s a place where you have total control over what your path is-you can hunt, craft, help others, mentor your friends, and enter some of the most thrilling dungeons this side of Lord of the Rings.
We have a plethora of systems which encourage this-for instance, the Umbra Guide, it’s a book that holds Umbra (monster) Cards from defeated Umbra, and they give you effects which stack on top of your normal skills. We have also have Combo Attacks-if you’re a Warrior, and pair with a Machinist (think a blacksmith with guns), you’ll be able to activate different devastating attacks, each class has different interlocking combinations with a variety of effects for monsters. In addition to that, you can mod your character’s skills a bit more via skill tree assignments, as well as 10 areas for weapons and equipment.
So when you put those systems together, you have a fairly robust system for being exactly who you want. We haven’t touched upon the Soul Power system, which grants an extra tier of Transformation and abilities (A Golem, or Demon Wolf, for instance) which are different for each class, or the 1.3 million words worth of quest text, nor the smooth, high-quality graphics or the multiple social options we have. Players will have a lot to discover, and look forward to, as we’ll be adding content from our side as well.
We brought this game to the U.S., because frankly, it’s a game that many players have been looking for. On a deeper level, we love the game, which is a key point for us, if its not something we can play and love, we don’t bring it over.
OnRPG: When it comes to porting games from the east the factor of gaming culture should also be considered, why do you think western players would play Bright Shadow?
It’s a fun, polished game. Irrespective of anything else, players enjoy great games, and we believe that Bright Shadow is that at its core. About localization, well, a great way to look at that is to ask yourself what localization is. It’s not just translating, not just adding items, or events. It’s about creating an experience that the players from that region will enjoy. Some of that comes from having a host of gamers in-house, but a lot of that comes from player feedback, which is something we value. So in a sense, while the game text will all have the story, quests, UI all in English, the localization is never-ending, as we’ll be adding content and systems from our side. In all, players will have new experiences with their friends, in an environment tailor-made from both our side and the community; built on top on a rock-solid game, that is also free.
OnRPG: What does Bright Shadow bring to the MMO scene that sets it apart from the others? Why do you think so?
Where Bright Shadow sets itself apart is a customizable experience on top of deep gameplay systems. For instance, you can create a Shaman. After you pick his look/face, hair, etc, down the road you can choose to be more of a Healer, or more offensive in nature-they use Earth and Wind-based magic, while the Mage focuses more on Fire and Ice. Those attacks can be combined for an even more devastating onslaught when you’re in a group. It’s like that for each class-so think of it as specialization customization.
Next to that there is Soul Power. There’s a completely separate gauge for this, and it can used for a “Soul Swap”, a transformation into a more powerful form, to level up certain skills-you can even buy certain items with it. We have a Monster Card system, the Umbra Guide, with over 500 monster cards to obtain. They’re tradable to both other players and Item Shops, and you can also use them to summon monsters and buff yourself with different effects. There’s also a title system, which will expanding into full-blown achievements.
In addition to that, we have a great range of social options-there’s party matchmaking, friends list, guild BBS, an in-game mail system, a mentor system, and many different chat options. We’re also adding features down the road.
Along with our focus on localized content, Bright Shadow is a completely different MMO experience, and one that will only get better as time passes.
OnRPG: What would be the difference of the North American version of Bright Shadow from its Japanese counterpart?
The story and quests would be at the top of the list. We adapted portions of the story based on what we wanted to develop down the road; the story itself will emerge more in the coming months as an epic that simply must be experienced. We’ll have different items as well, and we’re looking at adding WASD early next year. We are also planning expansions as well as new systems for implementation that is not in the Japanese version. We have to emphasize that all of this would not be possible without Gamania’s assistance; they have really been a great partner in terms of listening to our suggestions.
OnRPG: Would the items found on the Japanese version’s Cash item mall be found on the North American version as well? Or would there be exclusive items for the North American version?
There will be exclusive items for our version, as well as some of the items from the Japanese version. We’ll be announcing details at a later date.
OnRPG: Can you describe the game’s look and feel?
Think of it as a darker version of Kingdom Hearts. It’s an anime-inspired look, however, the monsters vary from standard RPG fare (Chimera) to more horror-inspired (blind mummy that uses its arm to beat you) to on the zany side of things (squirrel with scythes, super cute rabbit-like creatures). There’s a normal weather cycle, with different effects, so players can expect things to change, there’s a total of 29 different environments that we’ll be rolling out. It plays fairly smooth, and the character expressions and animations themselves are quite expressive. It’s a pleasure to play and watch, we feel the game does a good job of hooking you in visually.
OnRPG: How interactive will the in-game elements be?
There are many interactive elements in-game. There are all sorts of environments ranging from an ordinary peaceful town to ghastly dungeons. Within these environments are hundreds of different NPCs and thousands of different monsters. Not only do you receive quests from NPCs, but the rewards you receive and the upcoming quests may differ by your answers to the NPC’s questions. In addition to that, there’s quite a bit of personality touches, to make it a bit more personal-you’ll have to hop in-game to find that out though…
OnRPG: How customizable are the characters in Bright Shadow?
Quite. You can pretty much control every aspect of your characters skills, and their look. From hairstyle to skin color, eye color, face look, title, and demeanor; to the other side of skills, special abilities, weapons, armor, stats-even the kind of party members you look for.
OnRPG: Can you tell us a little about the job -class system Bright Shadow is going to use?
Sure. Bright Shadow has a total of 20 classes: Warrior, Mage, Shaman, Machinist, and those expand based on what you want to specialize in. So if I love guns, I’m going to go the Machinist-Gunslinger- Pistolero route; or perhaps I’m more interested in controlling monsters, then a Shaman-Beastlord is more appealing. Or I’m a Warrior, I can go light and be a Paladin, or become a Dark Knight. Each class has its own attacks, and many of them are stackable for the aforementioned Combo Attacks which work well for many monsters.
OnRPG: Is the game going to use a stat-build system or would it be skill based?
Both. You have your individual stats: HP, MP, Soul Power, Weight, STR, INT, DEX, CON, Agility, Wisdom, and Level. Depending on those, you can unlock different attributes for your character; what we call your Soul Unlocks. They can be HP +10, Weight Limit increase, etc. On the skill side, there’s your base tier, then there’s your class skills, then there the skills you obtain via Monster Cards, and your Soul Power-based Transformation. Again, these all benefit different classes, and thus, are up to the player to determine what their path is. Now, on top of all that, there are skills obtained via the Mentorship System, as well as Guild-based skills, which we’ll get into a bit later.
OnRPG: How far are you guys in the game’s localization?
About 90%, 1.3 million words.
OnRPG: What were the major issues you had to fix during the localization process?
Well, nothing needed “fixing” per se, the main work we had to do was on the story, to deliver the kind of experience that really pushes the game, we had to add some elements. Other than that, it was pretty normal, just making sure everything matches up.
OnRPG: Can you give us a heads up on what’s in store for the CBT players?
Sure, we’ll be doing some events, as well as in general seeing what they like, what types of features get the most attention, that type of thing. We want feedback, as we’ll build quite a bit over the coming months.
OnRPG: How long would the CBT last and would you be going Open Beta right afterwards?
It’ll last a week, and if everything goes as planned, we’ll see Open Beta about a week after that. Fingers crossed!
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!
Anytime, look forward to seeing you in-game!