Uncharted Waters Online Interview: Who Needs A Compass?
Questions by Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Tomokazu Takeda (Main Producer of Development Division)
KOEI has set sail for European shores with its popular and well established Uncharted Waters Online. No compass is needed to get the juicy details, let OnRPG guide you through the dangerous and exciting uncharted waters that lay ahead.
OnRPG: Hi there and thank you for talking to myself and OnRPG.com about Uncharted Waters Online. Could you tell us a little about what you do for the game/company?
Tomokazu: Koei Tecmo Games, Inc. was established in April of this year through the business merger of Koei Co., Ltd. and Tecmo, Inc. We are currently working on several online games, one of which is “Uncharted Waters Online”. In this game set in the world of the 16th century, the player becomes a ship’s captain and sails around the world. It is operated in four regions, namely Japan, S. Korea, China, and Taiwan, and is enjoyed by many people.
OnRPG: Uncharted Waters has been around for a few years now and is finally reaching shores over here in Europe and North America. What prompted the move into a new market?
Tomokazu: We first considered Asia to be the main target of this content, but as it has become popular and achieved a pretty good outcome in many places, we have taken into account the service all over the world. CJI chose this game to expand their business around the world, which helped create an opportunity for us at last.
OnRPG: There are many games out there that attempt to make the jump to consoles and sometimes suffer for it. Uncharted Waters is available however on PlayStation. Has the console port benefitted the game?
Tomokazu: When all is said and done, the customer range has widened. We believe the best advantage is that customers who would not have visited our service, if there had been only in service for PC, now get to enjoy our service.
OnRPG: Trading, conquest, exploration. It seems all bases are covered in player types. Do the other avenues mean that players can be their own trading company or is there an emphasis on combat?
Tomokazu: If you are a merchant, you can invent a large sum of money and obtain support all over the world and thus expand your sphere of influence. If you are an adventurer, you can make discoveries and find treasures all over the world. If you are a soldier, you can obstruct other countries’ trade as a pirate, or conversely, you can win fame by cracking down on hostile countries.
OnRPG: Speaking of piratical influences, do you foresee many players recreating their favorite pirate movies in Uncharted Waters?
Tomokazu: Yes, I do. I believe that it is possible for enough to be done.
OnRPG: As I understand it the game is based in the historical Age of Exploration, though a romantic and fictional version of it. Do amateur historians have much to look forward to in the settings presented?
Tomokazu: I think so. Some fiction and fantasy are included, but history lovers can enjoy it because there are a lot of quests whose theme is historical fact.
OnRPG: How is ship to ship combat handled in the game? Is it an RPG basis or do viable nautical tactics such as Crossing the T come into play?
Tomokazu: Positioning and collaboration among each fleet are very important in that the battle is being waged in real time. The decisive factor will be the player’s skill.
OnRPG: Where there’s a Navy, there’s a war! Will players have large scale naval engagements to look forward to?
Tomokazu: A great battle for national prestige is a major event that brings together more than a thousand ships. It will be a great place for a soldier to try out the fruits of his daily training.
OnRPG: Ships and Trade, a match made in heaven. Naturally I have to ask how the economy in these murky waters will stand up to pirate influences.
Tomokazu: The economic system is not designed unalterable. We emphasize the fact that every player can enjoy stable trading play to some extent. The market prices of trade goods are directly affected by players, but the economy is not totally concluded by the players. They are also controlled by the NPC algorithm. If time pass even if the prices of trading goods are changed by the players’ actions, the mechanism where rebound is processed to some extent by NPC trading is adopted, so the economy cannot be collapsed by players’ actions only.
OnRPG: Getting around in the Old World took some time. How far flung are the various cities players can lay claim to? Are the furthest reaches of the world hours away?
Tomokazu: The extent of their country’s influence on towns will be changed by the change in friendly relationship between their country and the town, not by players insisting on their proprietary rights. To get to the area farthest from Europe will take several hours. Of course, if you can get a better ship in terms of performance after having performed well and advanced in the game, I think the time taken will get shorter.
OnRPG: Not everything in life is plain sailing. Are there weather effects out there in Uncharted Waters that players should be wary of?
Tomokazu: The most alarming thing is a storm, but there could be lots of other problems.
OnRPG: Towns, Cities, ships. Players have many options on places to go. Certainly I’ve seen your gorgeous vessels locked in combat, but are there also boarding actions to be had or will players only swings swords on land?
Tomokazu: It has not yet been implemented in the current version, but combat on the ship will be allowed in the future.
OnRPG: If there was one spot in the world you’ve created that you think a new player should see, where would you suggest?
Tomokazu: First, I recommend you try to reach India, which sailors dreamed of then.
OnRPG: While designers strive for balance in all things, the World Cup shows that competition is alive. Any chance that the Netherlands will give the Spanish a bit of a tough time here?
Tomokazu: Spain was a powerful nation then, so I think it is very difficult to do so. However, I think it could be achieved through the effort and unity of the users belonging to the Dutch.
OnRPG: With three expansions under the belt in other markets, aren’t the maps completed in Uncharted Waters Online?
Tomokazu: No, they aren’t. Ocean areas have been left which have not been yet published.