Vindictus: Prepare for the Next Step
Vindictus is a huge step for Nexon America and the next title for scheduled release along with Dragon Nest. But one main source of interest is with Vindictus’s use of the Source Engine to power the title.
While Nexon America’s other titles all have a specific visual style, the use of Source brings the free-to-play genre against other MMORPG titles. With a title that will remain free-to-play, what will other publishers do to counteract the argument that free-to-play titles aren’t as good as retail releases?
Vindictus Assistant Producer Chris Gyselinck was nice enough to answer my questions.
GotGame: Vindictus is the most “current-gen” title from a visual aspect. From Nexon’s previous experience with the Source engine with Counter-Strike Source; how has the engine helped with the development of the title? Considering the scalability in the engine, it looks like the perfect choice for the most widespread user base.
Gyselinck: The Source Engine enables the game to create compelling visuals, realistic physics and proven monster AI logic, which all runs in comparatively lower spec PCs. However, since the engine is basically made for FPS games, we had to tweak it for optimization. Nevertheless, we think it was the right choice, seeing that it enabled the game to deliver high-end graphics and physics to most of the PCs out there.
GotGame: The manhwa art style is more recognizable in Vindictus with the Source engine and my demo during E3 2010 really peaked my interest with the customization that should be available with the title. With Vindictus, how much more work is involved with the visuals for the title?
Gyselinck: The developers for this title, devCat, really put an amazing amount of effort into designing this game. What’s really interesting is female designers on the team created two of the main characters, Fiona and Evie, who are both incredibly beautiful and badass at the same time. I know Vindictus is going to really present some great character options, as well as customization features, to appeal to male and female players.
GotGame: Is Vindictus still going to remain another free-to-play title? Considering what’s being presented, the title looks like it could easily sell as a retail title. Will microtransactions remain in the title, selling accessories and other statistic boosting items?
Gyselinck: Vindictus will definitely be a free-to-play title. We will have microtransactions available mostly for cosmetic items, but all of the game’s content will be able to be played through without spending a single penny.
We’ve heard many people comment on how the game looks like a full-price retail release, and I think that just goes to show how much hard work our teams here in the U.S. and in Korea have worked toward making Vindictus the best, highest quality game it can be.
GotGame: Vindictus is a prequel to Mabinogi chronologically, is it possible that Mabinogi would ever jump to the Source engine, unifying the two titles visually?
Gyselinck: Although two games share similar backgrounds, I’d say that the two games target different audience. Mabinogi’s cartoon-like graphic style and virtual life experience attracts a lot of users with its uniqueness, and Vindictus will attract users who are more interested in action and hack-n-slash games.
GotGame: During the E3 2010 demo, it was mentioned that armor for characters could be broken and that characters could be outfitted down to “under-armor.” This addition suggests that battles are becoming more sophisticated. How much more development has been required for the title?
Gyselinck: The correct term is, “Inner Armor” Thanks to the Source Engine, we are able to effectively provide physics-based gameplay to the players. As part of this development, we decided to create an “Armor Break System.” This system prevents users from blindly attacking and lets them consider swaying and dodging, so as not to lose their protective armor. However, once a player’s armor falls apart, the chosen Inner Armor will be revealed.
GotGame: Looking back on Nexon America’s titles, there is a noticeable evolution during each release. How does Vindictus fit into the scheme of Nexon America’s overall business strategy?
Gyselinck: Vindictus was exhibited at E3 as part of a trio of games (joining Dungeon Fighter Online and Dragon Nest), which we believe represent the future of free gaming.
We believe action-based MMOs are the future of great PC gaming and offer players an exciting and enjoyable play experience. Vindictus squashes any perception of free-to-play games as being low quality and short lived. Vindictus is a high quality game and we hope to keep adding games of the same caliber to the growing catalogue of Nexon games as long as our players enjoy playing,
GotGame: What is the biggest change in Vindictus compared to previous titles?
Gyselinck: Vindictus is the first physics-based multiplayer action role-playing game and is completely different from all previous titles here at Nexon. It combines stunning visuals with high-speed combat and introduces brutal elegance to the PC gaming space. None of our previous titles have offered this before.
GotGame: The planned release is Q4 in the United States with South Korea already playing the title, will there be substantial changes to the title when it releases stateside, like previously released content updates already integrated?
Gyselinck: We haven’t decided completely where we’ll follow the lead of the Korean production teams and where we’ll go on our own. Our main concern is providing great content in each update and sharing the intriguing story in small bits and pieces to keep the narrative fresh. It’s important to gauge our users before settling on a path.
GotGame: Vindictus shows a lot of potential for the free-to-play market’s growth, partially by using an established engine and presentation. Does this mark a substantial change in the perception of free-to-play titles?
Gyselinck: With our newly launched Dungeon Fighter Online, Vindictus, and future title, Dragon Nest, we are redefining the perception of free-to-play titles and stepping up to deliver quality games to our players. Vindictus is steering us in a new direction that free-to-play games are moving toward and is unlike any other free-to-play game out there.
GotGame: How awesome will Vindictus be?
Gyselinck: There is no word in existence that can accurately convey Vindictus’ level of awesomeness. This completely new style of MMO game hasn’t been introduced to the market yet, so I’m very excited to see how much people will enjoy playing Vindictus.
Vindictus is going to change the free-to-play genre. The combination of the Source Engine combined with Nexon America’s knowledge of the free-to-play market, this is the title that could change the perception of how the United States sees the genre. With the future title, Dragon Nest still in development for 2011, the scheduled Fall release of Vindictus might greatly affect the industry later this year.
The official website recently released and head over for more information. I have to thank Chris Gyselinck for answering my questions on Vindictus.