Curbing my enthusiasm is something I constantly work on, so when the announcement for Crimson Desert made its rounds, I was both excited and cautious. I knew this was just going to be an early announcement of the project, so I wasn’t expecting many details to come from it, but from what I saw, I’m neither preparing for the death of Black Desert nor jumping on couches proclaiming my excitement. I’m in the middle, and that’s a good place to be (except maybe if you’re the middle of a desert).
It’s disappointing that Crimson Desert isn’t actually part of the Black Desert universe, and I guess Pearl Abyss is planning on treating this and any future flagships the same way Square treats Final Fantasy: sequels in name and theme. It would’ve been a great universe to grow through the years, but I think the company is just done with working on that story and just wants to start fresh. The Black Desert storyline is just really hard to follow, and aside from some fan sites, a community never really grew around the lore. Even the knowledge tab in the game is pretty vague. If the announcement is to be believed, then the storytelling will be a much more central part of the game. It’s a 180 from the design decisions made with Black Desert, where the gameplay and graphics came before the storytelling.
The trailer made me feel as if I was watching an episode of Game of Thrones too. Those big, fluffy shoulder pads (or are they shoulder pelts?), the Scottish accents, all that talk about how “things are different here,” and imagery of a sinister looking man holding a bloody crown just screams grimdark fantasy drama. It unironically makes me wonder where all the mini skirts and high heels fit in because you know Pearl Abyss will still go there. I am not ashamed to admit how sexy Black Desert is and hope PA keeps that. It would be a mistake not to, especially since this is the company’s next flagship. But I have a feeling the devs will tone it down, if only for the sake of a wider western appeal. If that is the case, I hope PA doesn’t get rid of high heels. I like my fantasy games with plenty of high heels.
At the same time, the moves PA is making toward wider appeal are great. My big takeaway is that the studio is doing something Korean MMOs don’t traditionally focus on: narrative and the chance to enjoy the story without worrying about getting ganked (at least that’s the impression the trailer gave). And while the team did imply that there’s still going to be open world PvP, I imagine it’s at least considering PvE-only servers, and many of our commenters expressed that same sentiment in the last article.
As for those graphics, they’re gorgeous, but that’s already a given with all the work PA has clearly put into it already. My main concern is more about the overall feel of the game: Black Desert felt like an even heavier Dark Souls, and for the sequel, I hope the game feels a little “lighter” and things don’t always get caught up in the geography.
Overall, so far so good. I am confident in Pearl Abyss, but for this outing, I certainly hope the studio listens to its players!