Pearl Abyss Lead Producer on Black Desert PS4/XB1 optimization, content plans and crossplay

Black Desert Lead Producer Interview

Community manager Trent sat down with lead producer Kwangsam Kim to talk about Black Desert’s state and plans for PvE and PvP, console optimization issues and possibilities of crossplay.

CM Trent: Actually, you worked a lot on Black Desert Console. How did you feel working on the project?

Kwangsam Kim: Hah…Working on Black Desert… Actually Black Desert is a really amazing game. Being a part of this is so rewarding and I’m grateful. Whatever we thought of, it was possible to do in our game – it’s that kind of game. I’m so happy to be a part of the development.

CM Trent: God, that’s a good answer…

Kwangsam Kim: I’m honored to work here! Ask me anything!

CM Trent: Actually, we’ve been doing a lot of streams where we talk with the users and I’m so thankful to them because we get a lot of feedback and we take this feedback to the devs and we get to talk about it with them. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. In terms of Xbox One update process, it’s slightly different with PC, right? What can you tell us about initial update process for Xbox One?

Kwangsam Kim: In terms of update processes…it’s hard to operate like PC. Because PC has been in service for 5 years already. There have been all kinds of situations in those 5 years and we handled them one by one. There was a reason why certain things were done. “Why should this go in?” and “Why should that go in?”. There was always context around what went in and in what order. However Xbox One’s situation and game environment are so much more different. So while we wanted to give the users certain content, we didn’t necessarily have to follow the 5-year map, that we built for PC. So if there’s something that we felt was important to the game or we felt that users would want to try certain content we would merge the ideas and try to put it up as fast as we can, because everyone would like it, that’s what we thought.

I heard a lot of opinions. I heard a lot of different opinions, indeed. “I hope i see this” – I see a lot of things like that. I also watch the streams…

CM Trent: Oh, you watch the streams too?

Kwangsam Kim: Absolutely. We really try to check out all the different opinions and think about what to release next. We try to figure out what we should release and when. Or what do we need to fix first – we continuously think about this. But unfortunately it takes time before anything tangible comes from all this, because it does take time to finish the work on these things. So we’re prioritizing things and then get them done. 

CM Trent: From the VoA we received a lot of feedback and our adventurers really like PvE content. What can you tell us in regards to PvE content?

Kwangsam Kim: This is something that we have thought for awhile, one of the biggest attractions of Black Desert for players is that it’s quite fun to play on your own. PvE content is really important. There is a lot of brand new PvE content for Black Desert on PC such as Altar of Blood as well as Dark Rifts. Xbox One adventurers want these things. Because i know that our adventurers want these things, we are trying to release that content as soon as possible. In addition there will be other PvE content that will keep coming such as Savage Rift which will come in sooner rather than later. More stuff is coming!

CM Trent: So Altar of Blood…What is it?

Kwangsam Kim: Think of Altar of Blood as a co-op mode.3 players form a team and enter the area. In this area the enemies will swarm in waves, which come in certain formations and require strategy to defeat. Depending on which enemies come at which time and on your strategy, you might miss an enemy, which will make it much more difficult later on. You have to figure out who takes out which enemy. Then at a certain time boss will come out. Depending on boss’ patterns who will do what? Who will take the agro and who is going to deal damage? Thinking of all that Altar of Blood is a content that requires a combination of your knowledge regarding different aspects of the game. 

CM Trent: This kind of PvE content, like Altar of Blood and Dark Rift, was it always in console plan? Or did it change recently? 

Kwangsam Kim: Actually, we thought a lot about when to release this content. We didn’t know if it was going to be released next year, because we were worried that it’s not the order in which users have experienced it on PC. however after looking at user feedback, there were PvE requests so alright let’s go! Wait a little bit more, it’s coming soon!

CM Trent: It’s nice that we are preparing some PvE content, but during the VoA we heard a lot about optimization issues. Both on Xbox One as well as on Black Desert PS4…What can you tell us on that end?

Kwangsam Kim: Honestly, the best answer I can give, is that we’re doing our best and will continue to do so. That being said, I think we have made some progress. We found some leads regarding the issues. However, one of our main concerns were about how much of the game quality will be affected by optimizing and enhancing the performance of the game. Recently though we found a good compromise. Performance can be raised without affecting the overall quality of Black Desert – there is a way. However…it is difficult to give you an exact date. We have to make sure the quality isn’t affected before we can release a fix. Maybe it can be done sooner than expected. But it’s not going to be one-shot fix. It’s going to be gradual optimization process one step at a time. 

CM Trent: This can’t be fixed at once, right?

Kwangsam Kim: it’s going to take some time.We won’t ever give up! We’re going to keep at it until it’s done!

CM Trent: So there was some other feedback from the VoA. Console UI is different from the PC UI. What can you tell us about that?

Kwangsam Kim: Ah, right…In fact the UI for console was designed by me. The idea was to not overwhelm players with too much information and to organize the information the way console player would like. I planned it with that in mind. But there were some unintended consequences. The first being that there are some things in PC that you can view which are needed by the players. We are preparing changes to the UI, which should be ready by the end of the year.

CM Trent: So… PvP…What can you tell us?

Kwangsam Kim: Ah right…PvP..Currently PvP in Black Desert is based on Node wars, where many players fight against one another. However…if you’re particularly good and participate in Node wars your skills might get lost in the shuffle of so many adventurers. So we thought about what we can do for those players. They can participate in the Battle arena, but we heard that additional content would have been nice. So we’re going to prepare something for this as well. It’s called Arena of Arsha – a 3v3 mode. A team bases PvP mode done in small groups. I’m sure you will be able to see this in the near future.

CM Trent: Usually in terms of PvE, there is a lot of party content, but there are a lot of solo players down there. What can you say to solo players?

Kwangsam Kim: Actually, I’m pretty much a solo player too. The is the Adventure Log. There’s an old gentleman named Igor Bartali. In the early part of the game you visit Velia. That’s where he’s in, he’s the chief of Velia. There is a book that depicts his youth. As you read through the book it’ ll take you throughout the Black Desert world and will give you some goals to achieve. I’m confident that it’s really fun. Through the Adventure Log i think that solo players will be satisfied. It will be out soon so please wait for it.

CM Trent: Xbox One and Playstation 4 users have been thinking a lot about crossplay in Black Desert. What can you say about that?

Kwangsam Kim: Crossplay…A good question. In regards to crossplay we want to do it, And I think technically it’s possible. A lot of the groundwork has already been prepared. The only thing is that I don’t know when it will be ready. Eventually we will be supporting crossplay. But I just don’t know when yet. 

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