The First Descendant is Nexon’s upcoming role-playing third-person co-op action shooter. The game showcases Descendants, a class that inherited unknown superpowers. These powers have heightened their physical prowess, which they now use to fight the invaders and save humanity from extinction.
Lately, we have had the chance to interview Lee Beom-jun, the Producer of The First Descendant and the head of Magnum Studio in NEXON GAMES. In this interview, Beom-jun talked about The First Descendant’s past, present, and future. He also explores the extent of the game and what players can experience while playing it.
Lee Beom-Jun on The First Descendant journey so far
Q. When will The First Descendant launch?
Lee Beom-Jun. We aim to launch our game in 2023 on all the platforms simultaneously. (Steam, XBO, XSX, PS4, PS5)
Currently, it’s difficult for us to give you our official release date. This is because the release date will change based on the improvements we’ll have to make, depending on the Steam beta test results.
Q. How long has the team been working behind the title?
Lee Beom-Jun. We started working on the title in the Spring of 2019. That’s when our code name was decided as well.
Q. What was the inspiration behind The First Descendant?
Lee Beom-Jun. First of all, visually, we were influenced by numerous dystopian and post-apocalypse content as the setting is in a world on the brink of extinction. Various content such as Blame (animation, comics) and the Metal Gear Solid series also influenced our game visuals, not just the looter shooter and FPS genres. Based on the inspiration, we tried to create new visuals.
Many PvE shooter game masterpieces inspired us in terms of gameplay. The battles of classic masterpieces, like the Doom and the Halo series, inspired us a lot. In addition, we think that many games, movies, animations, etc., that our team loves inspired us a lot without us knowing it.
Q. What were the major challenges while developing this game?
Lee Beom-Jun. The most challenging parts were the genre and the platform. As you may know, NEXON has no experience developing cross-platform looter shooter games. Therefore, simultaneously developing a looter shooter game and a game for all platforms was challenging. (For your reference, we aim to release The First Descendant on all the following platforms simultaneously: PC, XBO, XSX, PS4, and PS5.)
In particular, developing a looter shooter game was like developing two games. This is because the Shooter play had to be well made to present the fun that comes from the controls, and at the same time, we had to refine the RPG elements so that players could play for a long time. As you are aware, the development DNA of the two is very different. Hence, combining them harmoniously has been quite a difficult task. We hope this challenge will lead to meaningful results in our upcoming Steam beta test.
Q. Why choose Unreal Engine 5 for developing this title?
Lee Beom-Jun. We started developing The First Descendant with the latest version of Unreal Engine 4. Unreal Engine 5 was released during our development, and our Dev team became highly interested in its visual quality. Although I was a bit concerned since the development had already progressed a lot at this point, I decided to boldly upgrade our game to Unreal Engine 5 for the best visual quality.
The main reason for the upgrade is the Nanite and Lumen of Unreal Engine 5. In particular, we believe that the lighting quality provided by Luman, a Real-time Global Illumination solution, is essential for next-gen projects. Now, everyone on the team is delighted with the results.
Q. The graphical style looks astounding and hyper-realistic. What was the main goal behind achieving such visual perfection?
Lee Beom-Jun. As a new IP, we had many concerns regarding the enticing and persuasive of our game. We put a lot of effort into making our visual concepts, those we wanted to appeal to the players, unique and enticing, especially the characters and the huge bosses. Moreover, to make our new virtual world realistic and convincing, we worked hard for realistic lighting and environmental settings using UE5. We hope that these aspects will appeal to many players.
Q. The combat style looks immersive. What was the inspiration behind the mechanics?
Lee Beom-Jun. What we wanted was to get players to jump into the battlefield aggressively. To achieve this, we designed it to create synergy with guns and skills and to bring players closer to the monsters to make the battles enticing. In other words, we wanted players to risk receiving attacks and running into the enemy line for battles that combine skills and shooting to experience immersive gameplay, rather than hiding behind walls to shoot and avoid attacks carefully.
To achieve this, we used all the various methods that we have. First, we designed it so players can only recover their HP through an HP recovery item that can only be obtained by killing enemies. In addition, the movement speed was also made to be faster than any other PvE shooter game. We also designed it so players can enjoy more immersive battles by providing melee attack means and the grappling hook that guarantees free movement.
Q. How big will the map of the Ingris Continent be?
Lee Beom-Jun. First, I think I should explain the world structure of The First Descendant. The First Descendant’s stage is the Ingris Continent, which is not seamless but consists of multiple separate maps. We decided to have different maps because we thought it would be more appropriate than a seamless world for the skill-oriented and exciting PvE gameplay we are pursuing. So it’s currently difficult for us to tell the size of the whole world at this moment. For your reference, we’ll have three maps along with the city of Albion during the Steam beta, and I can assure you that we’ll have more maps for the official release.
Q. How long can gamers expect to spend in this game before beating it?
Lee Beom-Jun. If we talk about the beta alone, we expect it will take about 15 hours to complete the story. However, other content, like the diverse co-op content, will be provided in addition to the story. In some missions, players must block the enemies coming through via co-op. We will also have raids where you can battle eight types of huge bosses. So, it will take more time to enjoy all the content and to collect all the characters.
Q. What future content has Nexon planned for The First Descendant?
Lee Beom-Jun. Since the beginning of the development, one of our primary goals has been to make The First Descendant an ongoing product. Accordingly, we will continue to update the game after the official release. The updates will include all the new content, story, weapons, characters, and huge bosses. We want to receive inspiration regarding the updates through the Steam beta.