MMORPG.com: Tell us the background story on Swordsman. Why so simple a title?
Gabrielle Heiland: Swordsman is based on the wildly popular Chinese wuxia novel "The Proud Smiling Wanderer" written by Louis Cha. In the novel, multiple clans are on the hunt for a highly desired manuscript said to contain powerful martial arts secrets. The game quickly thrusts you into this world, when your character experiences tragedy after failing to prevent a ruthless bandit raid. Narrowly escaping certain death, you join forces with Lynhu Tsong, a mysterious, yet comedic disciple who has an important role in the novel. Eventually, you learn that your character has an innate connection to the war between clans, and seeks to find what that is.
MMORPG.com: What steps are you taking to bring the game to the western audience? It has such a strong eastern vibe, and that hasn't always played well in MMOs here in the US.
Gabrielle Heiland: As Swordsman is a game inspired by martial arts, our team is dedicated preserving the strong influence given to the game by the novel, using these elements to enhance the game’s strengths and qualities. Our localization team is paying close attention to the story line, while adding the polish necessary to the game’s overall text in order to present the best possible version to our North American audience.
MMORPG.com: The lore is steeped heavily in Martial Arts, what are some of the influences that can be found in the game?
Gabrielle Heiland: The works of Louis Cha is a huge influence on Swordsman. His works are widely considered the “Lord of the Rings” of China, and it’s a massive IP over there. We’re very excited to bring this story to Western players, especially since many Westerners may not have a chance to experience this story otherwise.
MMORPG.com: How will the MMO work in terms of landscape? Are we looking at a theme park or sandbox style game for players?
Gabrielle Heiland: Like in many MMOs, there are a main path that players will go through to experience the story and lore. Players will meet various NPCs and visit many locales that take place in the Swordsman universe. However, after completing the main story, I recommend that all players experience guild play, which is quite a different experience than the guild options of other games. Once you enter a guild, you will experience interesting events that open up the world - from solving murder mysteries to protecting VIPs and stealing treasure from other clans, there are many options for players to immerse themselves in the martial arts world!
MMORPG.com: Tell us about working with the Angelica III engine, as it's PWE's own proprietary engine.
Gabrielle Heiland: The engine itself is beautiful, and very capable of awesome graphics. The environments are gorgeous, with breathtaking vistas, stunning water and particle effects, and a clean bold vibrant style. Additionally, the character customization is fantastic. Players have access to an array of sliders to perfect the look of their character, down to the tiniest detail.
MMORPG.com: How will the classes stack up against each other? What is the skill breakdown for each class look like?
Gabrielle Heiland: With an impressive selection of ten clans, there are many ways a player can choose to play. For those who love to attack from afar, The House Tong clan employs guns and projectiles. The Shaolin clan focuses on blunt melee attacks, with the staff as the preferred weapon. The Sun and Moon clan employ dual daggers and frantic moves to overcome their enemies. Each class has something for everyone, as they all have unique skills to bring to the table. Stay tuned to our website for special write-ups about each class!
MMORPG.com: What is your time line for beta and release? Can you give us a general idea?
Gabrielle Heiland: Stay tuned for more info, we are planning to get Swordsman into the hands of fans as soon as possible. Register for beta today at playswordsman.com!