PAX East 2017: En Masse tells us all about TERA’s console port

[AL:TERA]Putting TERA on consoles seems like it’s the most obvious combination of games and platforms ever conceived. Even more than Super Mario Bros. and the NES controller, or Star Wars and awkward dance sequences. I was happy to get a chance to talk a bit about the recent announcement of the console port with En Masse at this year’s PAX East, and the obvious question that sprang to mind wasn’t about why it is getting a port but why it is happening now instead of earlier.

In a word? Timing. When TERA originally launched, it was the middle of the life cycle for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and neither console was really a perfect match, according to the studio. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, on the other hand, are both more powerful systems and systems designed from the ground up to be suited to online connectivity and interaction. The result was that it was the right opportunity for the team to make the port happen, with all of the stars aligning perfectly.

What’s a bit more ambiguous at this point is cross-platform play. It’s uncertain whether players will be able to share the same servers as the PC version of the game or log in with their existing accounts, but the developers definitely want longtime TERA players to have benefits on console. Whether or not you’ll be able to transfer characters and progress to and from the console version is unclear, but some bonuses may still be put into place so that you can still enjoy some cross-compatibility regardless. Actual cross-platform play is still up in the air.

It’s also unclear whether or not the launch version of the console edition will be up to date with the PC version, but the devs say that is the ultimate goal. Depending on how the porting process goes, the console version might launch with a slightly smaller list of features, but the goal is to swiftly bring it up to date with the PC version. Even if it launches a bit behind, you can expect both games to be brought up to parity and kept at the same update point as quickly as possible.

This isn’t just a matter of standardization, either; it makes it easier for the designers as well. After all, this means they only have to keep up to date with one version of the game rather than several.

There’s also potential good news for gamepad players on the PC; while there is currently gamepad support in the game, it’s not as robust as it could be. As part of the console port, the UI is being fully redesigned to take advantage of the controllers, and it seems only natural to eventually bring that UI back over to the PC for those who prefer a gamepad-centric experience. No exact timetable is available at this point, but it still does mean that gamepad players will enjoy a boon as well.

We’d like to thank En Masse Entertainment for answering our questions, and we look forward to seeing what comes next as the game’s console port approaches testing and launch.

Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Boston for PAX East 2017, bringing you expert MMO coverage from ZeniMax, Square Enix, Funcom, and everything else on display at the latest Penny Arcade Expo!
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