In an interview earlier this year the NCSoft developers sat down in an interview to talk about Throne and Liberty and Project E.
This was the first time they have discussed the project publicly since the announcement of the game. They talk about development direction and the content shown in Throne and Liberty. It is an original IP NC has showcased.
Among the newly-unveiled IPs, Throne and Liberty looks most familiar because it was once introduced as the The Lineage before.
Jong-ok Ahn: That’s right. Throne and Liberty stemmed from the Lineage to become “a next-generation Lineages a project started by Lineage.”
Moon-young Choi: As far as I remember, it was in the spring three years ago when Throne and Liberty began to be materialized as a new IP. It was when we were re-creating the story of the Lineage.
Jong-ok Ahn: In the development process, we had to modify and remove many of the original systems and content to catch up with today’s gaming trend. Consequently, the game’s characteristics had changed. Most importantly, we re-wrote the story and this made the development team wonder “Should this be called Lineage?”. We finally decided to change its name to fit more with the new story, showing the will of the development team to distinguish it from the Lineage.
What makes < Throne and Liberty > different as an original IP?
Jong-ok Ahn: In the Throne and Liberty project, we went back to the square one and thought hard about what value next-generation PC and console-based MMO games should present. We put extra efforts into designing a highly immersive world where players can enjoy new experiences and have fun.
For example, we tried multiple things to avoid monotonous field play. Even in the same region, the geographical features change depending on the weather while the flow of battle changes according to the wind direction. Over time, players might encounter new mobs. The way and purpose of hunting keep changing accordingly. We worked hard to ensure that the three factors of field, environment and player affect one another. We expect that such an interactive influence will lead to richer possibilities for players.
Who is the target of Throne and Liberty? We wonder if there is any content prepared for the global release.
Jong-ok Ahn: It might sound too idealistic but I believe that a game will be loved by players of all generations in every region as long as it is fun to enjoy.
That is why we kept reviewing the games to find what we had missed and tried to make them better without targeting a specific region or group.
What is the major content of Throne and Liberty?
Jong-ok Ahn: We have two major pieces of content. First is a well-structured, robust and convincing worldview.
Good understanding of game characters is a prerequisite for players to enjoy the game. Only then, they can be fully immersed in the game with strong affection. To that end, the worldview of the game, which is home to the game characters, has to be solid and robust. So we paid a lot of attention to storytelling and utilized many tools and techniques that are common in console or adventure games.
Next is the challenge in games. So far, NC’s games focused on competition between players. Which of course can motivate and entertain users in a specific region and class. However, a significantly larger group of players finds it more interesting to overcome well-designed challenges instead of reaching the peak through competition. That is why we deployed many challenges in Throne and Liberty. This is particularly true when player has to fight a boss monster. Player can overcome the challenge only when working together with other players. Grasping the characteristics and skills of each boss and fully utilizing their abilities .
We heard that players can also transform into an animal in the game. Why?
Jong-ok Ahn: We concentrated on two points when designing different worlds of Throne and Liberty at each level. To begin with, we tried to connect every world seamlessly. And we sought to allow players to maximize the spatial use by allowing them to feel every space three-dimensionally.
To that end, it was required reduce teleportation and enable users to move from one space to another at a rapid speed regardless of height.
We thought animals are the answer. So we allowed players to transform into a land, water or flying animal. For successful exploration of some regions in the game, they have to utilize the animal’s ability to move. In addition, players can carry other players once they transform into an animal.
It seems that you paid a lot of attention to making the game contextually well-organized, providing more immersive in-game experiences. Please introduce other differentiated content of Throne and Liberty.
Jong-ok Ahn: In Throne and Liberty, environmental factors such as time of the day and weather conditions including rain and wind keep changing. Although you might not be able to recognize this when you just start out the game, it has more implications than you think.
For example, the direction and strength of the wind affect the archery shooting range. If you practice lightning-type magic when it rains, it affects a wider range of enemies unlike the way it affects a single enemy in a sunny day. Terrain is influenced by environmental factors, as well. For example, you can infiltrate the castle in diverse routes in a siege warfare including the underground sewer and it could be filled with too much water and become unavailable if it rains heavily.
Conversely, players can affect the environment. They can change the environment in their favor by causing a solar eclipse or rainstorm if required conditions are met.
Stories of Two Continents are Unfold as Their Own History in One Worldview
NC has finally showcased an original story with < Throne and Liberty > after a long time, which we cannot talk about without < Project E >. When the teaser was released in February, you announced that < Throne and Liberty > shares the same worldview with < Project E >. We wonder where this idea first started.
LIGHTBOX House: The worldview of Throne and Liberty was created by LIGHTBOX House. When a new IP is planned, LIGHTBOX House is asked to build a worldview through discussions with the development team based on its basic concept. Of course it would be great if we could deliver more stories. Unfortunately though, only a few of the tens or hundreds of projects are actually developed into an actual game. I just hope you to know that there is this team of LIGHTBOX House at NC and we strive to identify an interesting story and exchange ideas to create a more solid worldview and fun game.
From the early days of building the worldview of Throne and Liberty, we imagined a scenario where many different stories derive from the same worldview and are applied to other IPs. For this reason, we carefully designed its major pillars. Starting from Genesis, which we are pretty sure will be seen as the too distant past for today’s players, we meticulously organized major events, making the map of the entire planet in consideration of time, space, and climate.
LIGHTBOX House: The backgrounds of Throne and Liberty and Project E are two different continents on the same planet. Throne and Liberty is set in Solisium which looks like the Western medieval period while Project E is set in Laisak (TBD) which is a Eastern medieval period-themed continent.
LIGHTBOX House: Since Throne and Liberty and Project E are based on the same planet, they will be in the same time zone. They will share not only the same gravitational and ecological characteristics but also the same origin of magical and fantastical elements. Still the characteristics of each civilization and history will not be the same because they are set in different continents. In addition, important events that take place on the planet are interpreted in a totally different way in the two games, making them more interesting and fun.
What is the major epic of the two games?
LIGHTBOX House There were two major events. To begin with, there was an attempt to seal away the God, Silaves, into a magic stone named the Star of Silaves but to no avail during the War between the Old Gods. As a result, the powerful magic stone was broken into small pieces and scattered around the planet, triggering a war to secure the pieces. In , several pieces of Sillack, which is equal to the Star of Silaves in Throne and Liberty, fell on the continent, giving birth to four Sky Islands, a Mystery Lake and sacred beasts and trees, etc.
And there were wars. Humans waged a war against elves after learning magic from them while orcs started a large-scale war to unite different tribes. Due to these wars, some races were forced to leave their home and settled down in a new area (in the process, elves changed their names to “Nirva” and orcs to “Yaksha” in Laisak of Project E). These events are connected to other historical events running through the two projects.
Project E has attracted a lot of attention due to the fact that it shares the same worldview with Throne and Liberty. Please introduce Project E briefly before we further dig into the game.
LIGHTBOX House: NC chose a project with the concept of orientalism as the second IP to share the same worldview with Throne and Liberty. We originally aimed to establish a worldview by focusing on the beauty and mysticism of the East. This is why its name is Project E and E here stands for the East.
Although the recently released video highlights Korean elements, we will ultimately create 16 countries to show different historical, ecological, and visual references of the East. This does not mean that we exclude Western elements. We strive to beautifully harmonize various cultures in the fantasy world of.
Last but not least, please say a word to the players who look forward to the release of the games.
Jong-ok Ahn: We have put our best efforts to develop fresh and new MMO games. The videos we have recently released show the actual playing of the games. I would like to say that I am always ready to have a candid. Open-minded communication with players and continue to develop a fresh game.
Moon-young Choi: Increasing communication with our players from the planning stage. I realized that that their needs are becoming more concrete and diversified. Considering that the gaming market evolves faster than any other markets. I think we need to actively collect and reflect their opinions in our games. We are now trying to come up with something new. I hope that you will continue to look forward to NC’s projects including Throne and Liberty and Project E with strong support.