Our intrepid PAX team met with Taehoon Kim, CEO of nWay and Steig Hedlund, Vice President, Creative on day two of PAX Prime 2015 where we got our hands on the mobile version of Chronoblade and editor Bill Murphy fan-boied over sitting next to Steig.
Chronoblade is a browser based MMO served on the Facebook platform that gained quite a bit of attention as players found it fun and accessible. A side-scrolling game action RPG, it was listed in our list of top 5 browser games.
It has a very large Korean following and has launched there on the iOS and Android platform, but lest you think it an Asian import, NWay Games is based in San Francisco and founded by such luminaries of the game world as Dave Jones of GTA and Lemmings notoriety, and Steig Hedlund of Starcraft and Diablo fame serves as Vice President, Creative. Planned to be playable cross many platforms, the studio’s current focus is on the mobile platforms and US launch.
Set in a multiverse of parallel and intersecting timelines and realities, we are provided four heroes to play with (to start) and four worlds we can advance through in the adventure mode. The first world you encounter is Warrior Aurok’s world, Ragnarok, then we enter Minerva which is Greek based and Imperia, a Steampunk world. The fourth has yet to be announced.
The game is a 3-D side-scrolling beat-‘em-up reminiscent of Street Fighter style play and there are different PvP modes as well, going as many as 3v3. We got a little hands-on head to head and discovered that it was best of three. A virtual joystick on the left controlled movement and combat and skills (as well as block and dodge) activated with buttons on the right. The pace was fast and furious with the match ending quickly with one character’s death (ours. First Rob, then Carolyn, to Taehoon Kim).
To keep things moving quickly, there’s no need to pick up loot. Instead it flies into your pockets like it does in the Diablo games (thanks, Steig!) There’s no healing or potions in PvP and in adventure mode, you find various buff stations along the way. Which usually is a tell for “big nasty ahead.” Speaking of “tells” yes, the bosses in Chronoblade have tells. “Got to give the players a fighting chance,” said CEO Taehoon Kim and Steig Hedlund concurred.
Career advancement is in terms of skills, and each character has a skill tree with two branches they can choose to go. There are also many equipment slots for skill and stat enhancements as well as vanity items. “Epic shoulders!” quipped Steig as Taehoon flashed the equipment screen on his phone while Rob Lashley and I duked it out in another match.
The game play is fun and very much street-fighter like, with lots of mashing of buttons and great combat animation. The graphics are a blend of Sci-Fi and medievalish in keeping with the multiverse theme, the character models convey a sense of fine detail and the bosses are pretty epic. The game will be free to download and play. Gear and equipment can be improved with crafting and monetization is through buying boxes of random level specific gear.
Skill will get you so far with drops and stats but there still will be a little grind, but to alleviate that, there is “autoplay.” This is really for zones you’ve already done and your character will not dodge or block but simply attack the nearest NPC. Good for earning that last little bit of XP, farming the stuff needed for crafting or gold.
nWay has had time with Chronoblade, first with the browser-based game in Flash and now with the fine tuning in Korea, we can look forward to a balanced and polished mobile version of the game for its launch in the US.