During a special presentation by Netmarble, during which the developers of the mobile game Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds revealed new details and announced an approximate release date in five countries, a Q&A session was held. Business leaders Cho Shin Hwa and Kwon Yong Sik, as well as Development Manager Park Bum Jin, answered questions. We have prepared a translation into Russian especially for the visitors of the MMO13.ru portal.
Why did you decide to create a game in the Ni No Kuni universe?
I was fascinated by the graphics inspired by the works of Studio Ghibli, but this franchise was chosen at random. Initially, I was doing MMORPG with realistic graphics, but as soon as I saw Ni No Kuni, I was completely fascinated by the music and graphics, so I decided that I wanted to try it, even if I had to postpone it.
I was also attracted by the popularity. I wanted to create a game with a large community, rather than a combat focused one, and decided that this intellectual property would be the most appropriate.
What is the connection between the original game and the storyline of Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds?
The world of Cross Worlds was conceived as a small future in Ni No Kuni 2. I had several meetings with the CEO of Level-5 to find out what kind of connection might be with the original. I managed to get tips at all stages of development, starting with concept art. You can see for yourself how all the elements of the original game are mixed.
Do you have an in-game exchange system?
There are slight differences from the exchange system from a regular mobile game. We can say that this is a barter system that allows you to directly exchange goods between users. You can trade any items you want. I think this will help strengthen the gaming community.
Are you planning to partner with other franchises?
Currently, there are no such plans, but we want to see various options for cooperation. If we are going to cooperate with other franchises, we will not only add some elements from them, but also demonstrate high-quality content.
Will the game world be free to explore?
Elements of world exploration will appear in the game. However, there is no such system as rock climbing or paragliding. There are many ways to find hidden content. The map is divided into zones, each of which is large.
Do you plan to continue working with Ghibli after the official launch?
Ni No Kuni’s original work is a collaboration between Level-5 and Ghibli, and Cross Worlds is not directly related to Ghibli. Now I can not confirm anything, but it is planned to expand the content in the future.
Is there an element of randomness in the game, and if so, do you plan to disclose all information about probability?
We avoid the type of balance that depends on low probability. You can enjoy receiving the reward randomly without spending any money. Alternatively, instead of relying on luck, you can, for example, opt for a Battle Pass. The general direction of the company is to show probability as accurately as possible.
It is interesting to know about the development timeline and the number of people in the team.
We started developing the game in the summer of 2018. About three years have passed, and more than 150 people have been employed.
Do you plan to use a single build with the global version in the future?
Initially, the release is expected in five countries, and when the global launch, which is slated for 2022, is planned to be localized to match the Western market.
What do you think are the benefits of a strategy to leverage your own intellectual property and increase brand awareness with other franchises?
Of course, your own intellectual property is important. We are constantly investing in creating new IPs. Seven Knights is a huge success, RF Online development is underway, and the baseball game MaguMagu has been ours for over 10 years. We are also preparing several titles for the original franchises, and when the opportunity arises, we will definitely announce them.
Since many requests for cooperation come from leading owners of various intellectual property, we are trying to simultaneously use two strategies to continue cooperation and develop our own IP. The main thing is to make the game high-quality and gross. We will continue to invest in two areas and pursue a strategy to empower the company in game development.
Is there a specific reason why you mainly use Japanese IPs like The 7 Deadly Sins, Fate Grand, and Ni No Kuni?
I don’t think Japanese franchise owners alone pay much. It might feel like this because of The 7 Deadly Sins, but we also work with Marvel, Disney and NCsoft. The choice is in no way determined in favor of a particular country or title. If the development team and the franchise fit together well, I hope you understand which path you are taking.
Are there any plans to release and support a separate version of the PC client?
We’ve worked with every emulator company to optimize the game. After the official launch, you will be able to play on your PC without any problems using several emulator programs on the market.
The soundtrack is impressive. Do you have plans to sell albums in physical media and perform offline performances?
There are no plans. We want to provide a device for listening to music in the game. If the need arises after launch, then I think I can completely revise the plan.
What results are you expecting from Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds after launch?
I think it will be a project that the public will like. Our goal is to make the game a hit by Netmarble that will be loved by users all over the world.