Questions by Michael Sagoe (mikedot)
Answers by Yong-Hyun Park, Creator of HIT
Today, Nexon Mobile has launched HIT (Heroes of Incredible Tales). HIT is a mobile action MMORPG, powered by Unreal Engine 4 and created by Yong-Hyun Park, the same mind behind Lineage II and TERA. We had the chance to speak with Park to learn more about this mobile phenomena.
Mikedot: It really is privilege being able to chat with the designer of two of the most influential MMORPGs of all time. Before we begin, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, as well as your experiences as lead designer for Lineage II and TERA?
Park: I started to work on Lineage2 (2003) as the team leader and later became the lead designer. Eventually I led the development for TERA (2001). There’s also HIT that was released. Although I’ve been working on the development of MMORPGs for about 20 years, there haven’t been many titles that have been released.
Similar to how painters have a unique painting style, game makers also have a unique style. If you look at similar past games like Everquest, the combination of hits from attackers and defenders lacked a final cohesive picture. This is where we began to make progress. For the next game we made, TERA, and then HIT, we first focused on innovating this aspect.
If you look at it this way, I’m a person who focuses on basic combat and HIT follows that flow. Once we have ensured the combat is fun, the rest of the development can follow. A solid battle mechanic should anchor the core gameplay experience, encouraging players to tackle increasing challenge and difficulty and to push until they beat the game.
Mikedot: For those that haven’t already heard: Gives us a brief overview for HIT
Park:‘HIT’ is an action-filled game with high-end graphics that was built using Unreal Engine 4. More than just the action, ‘HIT’ captures the fun essence of traditional RPGs for a mobile audience. We hope that ‘HIT’ meets the expectations for users who were waiting for a high quality RPG mobile game.
Mikedot: Back before HIT was released in South Korea, I would like to know what influenced you and your development team to focus on the mobile gaming market instead of sticking with the PC Platform.
Park:There were two conditions that led to making this happen. First, we needed the vision to be able to develop a mobile platform game that capitalized on the advantages of having a large scale team. Second, we recognized it would be difficult to continue to endure PC MMORPG development due to its massive scale.
When I started to develop games, you could say that the quality of mobile games was not there. People mainly recognized casual games. I thought that it was possible to get the same kind of fun and exciting experience on mobile that you get on a PC or Console game. With that in mind, I decided to implement this idea.
Mikedot: I would like to know more about the experiences that you and your team had with developing HIT for the first time. Were there any difficulties that you and your team came across?
Park:Mobile development goes through the cycles overwhelmingly faster than PC. For PC it took a year to make a good prototype, but for mobile you have to complete it within a month. Since everything was this way, we had to change our development process accordingly.
Since we were accustomed to our previous ways, our team experienced a fair amount of growing pains. Although there are many producers who switched to mobile after making PC games, I think there are very few who successfully converted over. PC and Mobile are quite different. Only those who truly commit to the change can succeed.
Mikedot: Tell us more about the core gameplay of HIT. What sets it apart from other similar games on the mobile platform?
Park:First you can see the great visual graphics and striking colors. There are no competitors yet. Even if you view it on a large TV screen, there is nothing lacking. It is of console quality.
When you take other mobile games and compare their videos through A/B, it is easy to see the difference between good and mediocre ARPG games.
Many common ARPG games are “fighting while standing in place.” While walking and encountering an enemy, you stop and fight. You’re forced to stand and wait until you’ve beaten it. When the fight is over, they walk again. For HIT, the biggest difference is that you keep moving forward to gather all the enemies in one place and slash them all together.
We’re proud to show the stylish ranged attacks from our wizards and archers. Many ARPG games have close combat; however, they are lacking in their ranged attacks.
Mikedot: Tell us more about the PvE and PvP systems available.
Park:PVE faithfully follows the familiar formula of Hack & Slack action games. The map, timing, enemy appearance, and level designs dynamically change, immersing the player, giving excitement to the game. When you naturally enjoy the action of the game, it encourages character growth. Character growth results in more possibilities for the player.
PVP can be described as real-time synchronization. While users are connected to the network, players can compete in 1v1 duels or free-for-all battles with 4 people like in a PvP real-time based battle on the PC. You cannot easily experience this in other mobile games.
Mikedot: What kind of social features will be available in the game?
Park:The social features of HIT will mainly take place in the guilds. Of course it will be possible to chat with fellow guild members. Once a guild sets up their emblem, they may share it among their guild members. The most important aspect are the guilds. Guild members will work together to compete against other guilds using their skills. This will also take place in real time.
Mikedot: While looking at the four playable characters in the game, I noticed that Kiki (the Mage) looks very similar to the Elin race from TERA. With that said: I would like to ask how much of your ideas from TERA and Linage II made its way into HIT, from a visual design and gameplay design standpoint?
Park: Is that so? Honestly, I’ve heard this several times, but since I’m on the artistic side, I’m not intentionally trying to do so. We have a team leader who was also in charge of some of the characters on TERA, so some of the similarities might appear.
Park:You can play on Samsung Galaxy S3, Apple iPhone 5 or later phones.
Mikedot: How frequently do you plan to release new content for the game? How much of that new content is influenced by user feedback?
Park:Generally once a month. We welcome all feedback from our users and will strive to make positive improvements. The global version of the game will have the difficulty of trying to balance the different tastes of all users from different countries. This is a big challenge for us.
Mikedot: Where do you see the mobile gaming market in the next few years? Where do you see HIT’s place in gaming in the next few years?
Park:For the last few years, the scale and the importance of organization of mobile game development has steadily increased and I see that continuing. Indie games will of course continue and medium sized development teams will experience some difficulties. The lifecycle of mobile gaming is getting longer. Mobile gaming success will also be dependent on live operation capabilities just as it did on PC online games. HIT strives to be a high-quality live service game.
Mikedot: Are there any comments you’d like to add before we end this interview?
Park: Rather than concentrating on specific elements of the game such as character, story, action, and sound, I think the game meets the highest quality in all areas without any bias. We tried to show that HIT could excel in all areas of the game without making compromises in the development process or being limited by the constraints of platform games on mobile. I invite you to give it a try!