ChronoBlade is the latest mobile release from NetMarble, a side-scrolling online Action RPG, you may remember ChronoBlade from when it was in a limited testing period as a browser-based MMO. It's undergone a lot of changes since then, and is nearing launch worldwide. Apart from having a fully-fleshed out narrative, the NetMarble guys have hired an all-star voice cast and we caught up with the team to chat about the game and its casting.
MMORPG: For our readers, mostly PC MMO and RPG gamers, can you share a bit about ChronoBlade and why it should be on their radar?
Taehoon Kim: ChronoBlade should definitely be on the radar for MMO and RPG gamers because it has all the features and gameplay style that one can expect from a PC (or console) MMO game. It has single player campaign, challenge modes, item crafting, skill trees, synchronous multi-player features, guild, thousands of items with nearly unlimited character customization - you get the idea. ChronoBlade is made by gamers who love these styles of games, and is designed to offer a deep experience. Plus, it includes latency-free control character control with great combos and skills that you’d expect to find in a AAA action RPG game on PC/console.
MMORPG: It originally began as a browser MMO, right? Why the change to a mobile game?
TK: Our goal at nWay is to bring PC/console level quality games to emerging platforms. Emerging platforms at the time when we began work on ChronoBlade that were helping games become more accessible were browsers, micro-consoles (Ouya, etc) and mobile. The Action-RPG genre in particular was also blowing up in Asia for the mobile platform and we wanted to be part of the growth in that region.
MMORPG: I've played the game both with my iPhone and the GameVice controller. The latter really makes the game feel a lot more responsive. Have you considered bringing ChronoBlade to consoles and PC still?
TK: Yes, although ChronoBlade plays great on touch screen and keyboard, it’s best played on a controller which is why we love GameVice so much. We are very interested in bringing ChronoBlade to PS4/XBoxOne as well as Steam.
MMORPG: Let's talk about the story, the characters, and the voice actors. There are some heavy hitters there - Tara Strong, Fred Tatasciore, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham. Most mobile RPGs don't really pay real attention to the story. Why is it different in ChronoBlade?
TK: It’s always been about making a great RPG first and foremost. We wanted to create a multiverse where players would be able to explore vast dimensions for many years to come and a good story was the backbone to the experience. We’ve put a lot of attention into even the smallest of details with ChronoBlade, and we think discerning RPG and MMO gamers will be able to feel all the love we put into it.
MMORPG: Who does each actor play, and why did you choose them for the roles?
TK: Tara Strong’s youthful yet rascally performances fit perfectly for Lophi, a young mischievous fighter who can travel to different dimensions. There was a very short list of actors we had in mind for the mighty Aurok, an exiled warrior seeking redemption from the people of his land. Fred Tatasciore has a distinct low vibrato that helps him bring a lot of strength, especially when he’s using all his might. Laura Bailey plays Thera, the leader of a grand army of Noble warriors seeking revenge on the evil who destroyed her world. Laura’s voice is eloquent yet commanding making her quest for vengeance believable. Travis Willingham has a confidence about him that matched perfectly with Lucas, a hero of mystery and opportunity. He needed to be able to cut you with a sword and ask you on a date at the same time. Lucky for us, Travis delivered with ease.
MMORPG: I think a lot of the scorn our readers have for mobile games come from the way in which they nickel and dime you both for cash and for time (Pay to Win features, time gates like "Energy" or wait to build). How does your team approach this stigma to make a game that can both make money and not piss off core gamers?
TK: As a company, we want to help remove the stigma from gamers who dismiss games just because they are on certain platforms, so we wanted to get this right and paid a lot of attention to this. We did not allow players to purchase any specific gears, weapons, and armor from the store that could be considered “pay to win.” Instead our goal was to speed up the grind for the payers, so we do allow for the option to pay to save time. But every item in the game can be obtained by non-payers by loot drops and powering up the items. Only specific items that players can buy from the store are vanity items but we made sure that these do not affect your stats and are mainly cosmetic. We also do not believe in having players not be able to play the game because they ran out of energy. There are certain features in the game that are gated but players will always be able to play other features in the game if they want to.