The best-selling author and Lead Writer for 9Dragons talks about the game and his task of adapting the world to a Western audience.
|MMORPG.com: How historically accurate will 9Dragons be? What liberties will be taken to keep 9Dragons a long running MMO?
Steven-Elliot Altman: Good question, Garrett. As far as visuals go, our Korean design team was given a mandate: If it didn't exist in China during the Ming Dynasty, it doesn't exist in 9Dragons. That speaks to the design of the cities, the wardrobe, and even the available weapons. You won't find Shuriken (throwing stars) for example, because they were yet to be introduced during that period in China's history.
As far as the writing goes, I researched each of the Clans to the best of my ability (Shaolin and Wu-Tang Clan had the most available literature of course) and hopefully no one will observe any serious anachronisms. That being said, we have ancient Chinese wisdom being offered in English, so we have to allow for the cultural bias first, and then flavor as we go. I think it's the correct flavor we all strive to experience, not dead on accuracy. Believe me, that would be boring. The process is very similar to writing and then shooting a historically based movie. You have to balance familiar storytelling elements with historically accurate visuals and tune the language as close as you can without losing too much in translation. The only element that keeps me from total immersion in the time period is the fact that I have a mouse in my hand. As far as liberties go... without giving away too much... there just may be an invasion from a foreign land brewing in a not-too-distant expansion event... and we may be compressing time a wee bit.
The whole interview is here.
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios