Crimson Desert, a new title in the Black Desert franchise by Pearl Abyss, aims to be a “next-gen” MMORPG. The reveal trailer is reminiscent of Game of Thrones. In a recent Q&A session, Pearl Abyss revealed more details about the game, which sound like the ambitious title will be a multiplayer RPG combined with the kind of story telling you would typically only find in single player games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Witcher 3.

What is Crimson Desert?

Crimson Desert is Pearl Abyss’ next entry in their RPG franchise, following in the footsteps of their 2016 release Black Desert Online. While Black Desert was a sandbox MMORPG in typical MMO fashion, Crimson Desert will be all about story. The setting in the reveal trailer looks like a Nordic version of Red Dead Redemption 2 and feels like it was taken straight out of Game of Thrones.

The trailer introduces us to the playable character Madcuff, who is part of a mercenary company. According to the G-Star Q&A Session with Pearl Abyss, there will be several characters that you can play in Crimson Desert. One of the main tasks in the game will be to grow a mercenary company and improve it over time.

The endgame will be tied into that mechanic as well. There will be large battles between different mercenary factions and you will be able to hire new mercenaries, but also lose them again. This reminds me a bit of the Middle Earth: Shadow of War Nemesis system. How exactly this will play out is not yet known, though.

What kind of content can we expect?

In a recent interview with Wccftech, Pearl Abyss said that their next-gen MMORPG will feature basic PvP, but that the focus will be on PvE with challenging endgame content, such as raids and dungeons. You will be able to play the entire story campaign solo and in co-op mode with your friends. Furthermore, there will be fights to take down castles together with many other players. According to the interview, you will also be able to trade with different bands and corporations in the game.

Of course, there’s combat with massive [numbers of] players fighting for a castle; those kinds of contents will be there [in Crimson Desert]. We really think that the true experience of MMORPG should involve a lot of trade between players and interactions. We want players to experience the preparation of massive battles or trading between bands and corporations. That’s what we are looking for.

Lead Producer Jason Jung, Pearl Abyss
Crimson Desert Characters
Playable Crimson Desert Characters

How is Crimson Desert next-gen?

We found the solution to combine the direction of MMORPG content and the massive storytelling of the console platforms. The development direction was a bit different from the former MMORPGs, so we called it that.

Jeong Hwan-gyeong, Pearl Abyss

In other words, “next-gen” in this case does not refer to next-gen consoles, which are due in 2020, but rather to a new type of MMORPG. While classical MMORPGs focus less on story and more on gameplay and MMO mechanics, Crimson Desert aims to be a combination of both — huge single player, narrative-driven games and MMOs.

Technical Details of Crimson Desert

Crimson Desert will release on PC first. A beta is expected “sometime in 2020”. Whether the game will release on current-gen or next-gen consoles has not yet been decided. The company is also looking at a Google Stadia release, as Pearl Abyss “is very positive about it”. They are monitoring the Stadia situation “very closely”.

New engine, Ray Tracing, HDR

Crimson Desert is based on a completely new engine that was written from scratch. The game won’t use the old Black Desert engine. Furthermore, it will have all the bells and whistles you’d expect from next-gen games, including Ray Tracing and HDR.

Personally, I am pretty excited about this game. As a fan of large, open-world narrative-driven games, the interviews and reveal trailer reminded me of games such as Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption 2, The Witcher 3 and maybe even Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Mixing that into an MMORPG sounds very interesting and I can’t wait to see how that will be realized. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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