Dev Notes [Dev Note] Interview with the Lead Producer of Shadow Arena, Kwangsam Kim
ShadowArena 2020-05-08 08:00 (UTC+9)


Greetings, this is Shadow Arena.


With the conclusion of the Final Beta and the wait for the upcoming Early Access, you probably have a lot of questions.

That’s why we’ve prepared an interview with the Lead Producer of Shadow Arena, Kwangsam Kim! 


So check out the interview and find out what’s being prepared for Early Access!



1. How far along is the game in development? When will the official launch be? Can you briefly go over the global test progress/development plans after the Shadow Arena Final Beta?


We feel our primary goal was roughly achieved—shaping the general structure of gameplay.

What’s left until the game’s launch is to implement the game’s long-term content, such as the shop, cosmetics, and features for long-term play (Hero Mastery and Ranking).  


We’re careful about stating this, but we think we are at the stage where we must thoroughly refine the game before its official release. That’s why Early Access is coming soon. It’s so that we can get our fans’ feedback and implement changes.


Once Early Access starts on May 21st, we plan to bring the game closer to completion. Afterwards, we’ll announce how our service will continue with the first official season and launch.



2. Many players are wondering what approach you’ll take for the business model of Shadow Arena after launch. Can you touch on this subject a bit? Would players need to buy Shadow Arena to play? If so, how much would it be for each region/county? 


We plan to make our game available through the Free-to-Play (F2P) model.

Our hope is that Shadow Arena will become the newest esports game, and we believe that we must reach a large and diverse playerbase in order to grow as an esport.

Thus, we’ll be offering our game for free with the F2P model so that anyone can play the game. Its business model will be similar to what is in other free esport games.



3. Do you have any plans to make optimizations for the game’s networking?


After the Final Beta, we made slight changes to the current network system and have been testing to see how it responds to delay/latency. We think if this re-engineering pans out, it’ll noticeably improve the gameplay experience, but fundamentally, we feel the best solution is to place the server in the most optimal location for excellent ping. If all our requirements are met, we plan to prepare this as soon as possible.    



4. We all know that Shadow Arena is a game that has its roots in Black Desert. Do you have any plans for things like cross promotions during the Shadow Arena OBT? (e.g. Purchase Shadow Arena to receive Black Desert items.)   


There might be some cross promotions; however, we think it isn’t a good idea for the two games to be too heavily linked as Shadow Arena and Black Desert are two entirely different games in terms of genre or player-preferences. In other words, we’d like to avoid the approach of asking players to play Black Desert to play Shadow Arena or getting additional benefits in Black Desert for playing Shadow Arena.   



5. Quite a bit of players say that Goyen’s damage and level of difficulty is relatively higher than other heroes, and some players say that Haru’s stealth skill isn’t very effective. What kind of balancing is the development team currently working on for these heroes? (e.g. Goyen nerf)  


We are listening to everyone’s feedback and reviewing the data as we continue to make adjustments. Between the February/March Beta and the Final Beta, we made numerous balance changes. Even now, we are constantly balancing and testing the heroes as we prepare for Early Access.    


We at Pearl Abyss believe that rapid game development is our advantage and source of pride. Once Early Access launches, we believe that you’ll be able to see for yourself just how quickly we make improvements as you give us feedback.


To give you a little peek into the changes being planned for Early Access,

Goyen will be nerfed even further compared to Final Beta, but you’ll be able to see his power from past betas due to an addition of a “new system”.


Of course, we’ll be improving heroes such as Haru and Orwen as they struggled during the February/March Beta and Final Beta, but our priority will be towards increasing the possibility of creative gameplay. 



6. After playing the Final Beta, it feels like there is a slight problem with the overall flow of the game. As there is a rather long grace period at the start of the game where you can revive, it makes farming monsters too low-risk of a risk and highly efficient. Due to this, there aren’t a lot of fights happening between players. This results in reduced PvP during the earlier stages of the game until the fog closes in. At this point, you can see around 10 players converge and engage in hectic battles, which many times is the cause of quick deaths. It doesn’t appear to be healthy where the element of luck contributes so much to being victorious in a battle-royale genre game. Did the development team initially design the game with this kind of flow planned? Do you have any future plans to change this?    


We think the grace period where you can revive is one of the most important parts of our gameplay.

In fact, there was once a time when it was longer at 5 minutes and when it was also once shorter at only 3 minutes. Over the course of our testing with both beginners and experienced players, it was carefully decided that the current time of 4 minutes was the most appropriate.

(However, it is possible for this to change depending on our players’ skill levels once the game starts service)


There are many intended possibilities for the play aspects of the game to take. One such possibility is hectic battles as players are gathered by the encroaching fog in the second later stages of the match. Some heroes will have an advantage in such a situation and others will not. That’s why we want to emphasize the concept of “controlling the game” a bit more by adding more ways to impact the overall flow of the game through each players’ gameplay. 


The changes between the February/March Beta and the Final Beta were made with this in mind. We feel that you’ll be able to get a clearer understanding of what we’re looking to do once you’ve seen the newly added systems and rules in the upcoming Early Access.



7. The general background of Shadow Arena is from Black Desert, and right now there are only a few heroes available. Do you have any plans to add new races or heroes beyond what’s in Black Desert?  


We will be adding new heroes at a quick pace.
However, the heroes are conceptually different from Black Desert “classes”. They are just unique heroes, in other words—characters. Regardless of the classes in Black Desert, we will be focusing on designing unique and distinct heroes.

You’ll be able to see them in a different form that is far from the similar looking classes.   


Of course, characters from outside of Black Desert… aren’t something that are entirely outside the realm of Shadow Arena. 


That’s because the setting of Shadow Arena is open to all possibilities.



8. There are some players who feel that the number of skills each hero has is somewhat small and simple. While there may only be things like Q making you temporary invincible or evading with E, how about taking the League of Legends’ summoner skills as a reference and adding more control skills, such as stuns, counter-attacks, blinds, and etc., to provide players with more options and make the PvP experience more enjoyable?

  2. As our game continues to grow, players will become increasingly skilled. With the passing seasons, a larger variety of systems and skills will likely be introduced. However, we believe it’s still too early for us to introduce them just yet. Still, some of them have already been designed and are being prepped.


Of course, the skill level of our players increased incredibly fast over the several beta tests, and we think we will need to quickly add the next stage of content to increase the game’s depth.

So, some of the content that was planned for after the official season will be introduced during Early Access.  


If our playerbase is big enough and many players ask for a deeper depth of play, we promise to introduce them right away.



9. There currently aren’t that many distinctive features on the map. The only features are just the Red Dragons and Altars. Does the development team plan to add more features (e.g. buffs, hidden passages, or puzzles) to the map for more ways to play out a match and make matches more fun?

  2. There is tons of content waiting to be added. :)
  3. As mentioned in my answer to question 8, there’s a lot of things being prepared, but we’ll be taking a step-by-step approach while closely watching our players’ skill base.
  4. As for those features you mentioned… check out what we’ve prepared in the upcoming Early Access!



  1. 10. Right now, only Solo and 2-player Team modes are supported in-game. Do you have any plans to support 3, 4, or even larger team modes in the future? 


A 3-player team mode existed until the 2nd closed beta test, but we are somewhat considering it again now.

We felt that a 3-player was less fun than a 2-player (duo) overall since it was harder to get a party together, and players often just got melted in confusing battles without doing anything. Nevertheless, this mode still exists, so if the need for a 3-player mode ever arises, it will be put in.  


On top of this, we will look into making other modes for team matches. Personally, I wanna give it a try.



11. Are there any plans to add large-scale maps in the future? Or to increase the maximum player-count for each match? 


During the first closed beta test, the limit was at 50 players, but too many skirmishes occurred between players from the very start. This was why we decided to reduce the maximum number of players to 40.  


We think we’ll add a large-scale map soon. However, we’re going to do plenty of testing to ensure that it is enjoyable and matches our intended vision of the game, so it won’t be released until we feel it’s ready.



12. Many players are worried about cheats/hacks, since quite a few Korean action-online games struggle with this problem. What measures does Pearl Abyss have against cheats/hacks?

  2. You can be assured that we are preparing several measures against cheats/hacks. However, the reason why we aren’t highlighting this is because we don’t want to pre-emptively reveal what we have prepared. 
  3. We know how important it is to take quick and decisive action against hacks/cheats in the PvP genre, so we will be doing our utmost to battle against it.
  6. 13. There aren’t a lot of heroes to play currently. Do you have any future plans for new heroes? If you do, how many more are you planning on releasing?


We will need to consider the development schedule; nevertheless, there are plans to release new heroes soon.


We have already developed other heroes, but they are scheduled to be released at a later date. We also plan to develop even more heroes in the future as well.

So we hope to release more heroes to everyone fairly quickly!



14. Are you considering developing additional modes to play Shadow Arena beyond just the battle royale mode?


Ah… that’s a secret. ^_^


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