TERA 2 rumors resurface thanks to rediscovered character renders and a Project EXA interview

    
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Even though TERA still seems to be going strong for developer Bluehole Studios, that certainly doesn’t mean the studio can’t keep working on something new. But is that something new a sequel to the game? A bit of digging from one of the folks at MMOByte seems to suggest so.

The report hearkens back to initial announcements for Project EXA and Project W. We know that Project W is Ascent: Infinite Realm, but details on Project EXA were still vague until an interview with Bluehole was unearthed. This interview mentions that devs for Aion and ArcheAge are joining in to make Project EXA, and that the game will feature a brand-new combat system.

Whether that will be an evolution of the “true action combat” model or a tab-target model is still not known, but when you consider the combat model for Aion and ArcheAge, some hybrid tab-target combat scheme would seem likely. It would also put a TERA sequel directly at odds with its predecessor, which seems like a strange choice.

The article also nods in the direction of several new character models created by one of Bluehole’s artists, which is something we reported back in 2015. That gives five years’ worth of dev time for whatever Project EXA or TERA 2 might be to take shape. Time will ultimately tell.

source: MMOByte via MMORPG.com
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P3lli
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P3lli

This is BS, those renders have been around almost 4 years now

Don’t fucking trust MMobyte.

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Antiseptic

I posted the following on Reddit…

As soon as I saw it was from ByteStix (MMOByte), I knew that this video was going to be clickbait of some sorts to try and rehash old news (one that has been debunked by Bluehole). I was living/working in Seoul during the Korean PC MMO heydays and also knew some who worked in the industry including Bluehole.

Back in ’15, one of Bluehole’s artists uploaded some concept art he was working on for Project EXA (which was also concept). Because of all the rumors that ended up going around, Bluehole publicly stated this was NOT Tera 2 and that there was no such plan in the works for a followup. That sentiment has not changed in recent years.

The studio was however looking at expanding their library of games. They already had signed a deal with Kakao who invested an undisclosed amount of money into Bluehole in order to secure the exclusive publishing rights for Project W (what is Ascent: Infinite Realm) in Korea and the western market. That is why EME didn’t even have their foot in the door even though they are a Bluehole/Krafton subsidiary. Bluehole’s execs are $$$ first.

Bluehole Ginno (Ginno Games was a studio they acquired with that deal finalized in 2014) in the mean time was winding down development of PC Devilian since it was not meeting their goals in Korea. Remember that around 2015, one of the big portals (NHN Hangames) in Korea was switching gears to mobile publishing and gave heads up to their PC MMO partners about that. Hangames published Tera as well as Devilian but because the latter wasn’t meeting goals, was pulled offline first. Bluehole actually got the player data back since they originally were going to relaunch with other Korean publisher. Tera was eventually taken offline as well but Nexon picked that one up. Bluehole nixed the idea of relaunching Devilian in Korea when they ran into cash flow problems during the time that Tera was taken offline and being modified and tested for Nexon’s backend.

Bluehole Ginno had gotten publishing deals for Devilian in Thailand and NA/EU but were also looking at other options in case that ended up failing. They also had a deal with China but because NHN was switching to mobile, the Chinese version was never released since that was supposed to be handled by NHN’s Chinese subsidiary.

One avenue was Devilian Mobile (which they signed a global deal with Gamevil). The other was something way out in left field at the time; Bluehole Ginno’s co-founder, chief technical officer, and Devilian Korea’s executive producer Chang Han Kim was in talks with this ARMA modder by the name of Brendan Greene who ended up selling them on the idea of this battle royale style game. Project EXA was at one point prior to the battle royale angle, rumored to be this then yet unknown concept game.

There’s some Korean interviews with Bluehole Ginno’s original CEO in 2016 when they considered using design concepts from Tera and Devilian in this new game. Eventually, those ideas were all nixed including the possibility of using the concept art for this game; so it was started from scratch with Brendan Greene as the chief designer for what eventually became PUBG. Bluehole Ginno was later renamed to PUBG Corp with the co-founder (Chang Han Kim) taking over as the CEO.

The Project EXA concept art was just that, concept. There was no actual game concept except for the time when they were considering it for the new game that Bluehole Ginno was looking at funding. Bluehole/Krafton has not been working on anything for that because during PUBG’s heyday with Steam EA and post-launch, that is what they were mainly paying attention to as well as pulling resources from other teams to deal with AIR which they pushed out into CBT in Korea at the end of 2017 to try and capitalize on the positive PR from PUBG’s success.

That CBT didn’t fare well based on feedback and they went back to the drawing board (the next KR beta test never materialized and neither did the western one which was slated in 2018). The next beta that happened was the Thai/SEA beta test that happened earlier this year (and also had less than stellar feedback). Some of the designers who worked on AIR (and came to Bluehole via Pearl Abyss’ BDO team due to Kakao Games earlier investment in Bluehole) are the ones responsible for the level 65+ designs in Tera.

tl;dr, the Project EXA stuff was mothballed with the other stuff that never even made it to the conceptual phase. Krafton even had some sort of exhibition at last years G-STAR highlighting all of their failed projects and how those failed projects made them supposedly better with managing projects they were currently working on including several new games they released. They previewed a new mobile game (one of five they mentioned were in the works) at G-STAR 2018; Project BB that seems to have disappeared into a blackhole (it’s too bad this was not the company’s original name). Two of the other five new games were Mistover (a turn based RPG for PC’s and Switch) and Mini Life for mobile. AIR is also one of the five which leaves just one unknown title they have in the works. And it isn’t a Tera 2.

In the meantime, their idea of extending the life of the Tera IP is to milk it on mobile. Krafton ended up acquiring two of the mobile game studios they had previously licensed the rights to for mobile versions of Tera. One of those was Squall in 2015 and Red Sahara Studio in 2018. Squall developed Tera M for Korea (and a revamped version called Tera Origin for the Japanese market). Red Sahara is developing Tera Frontier which is supposed to take the complete PC version (same story arc) and bring it to mobile.

As Vunak mentioned here, Bluehole is having trouble just getting AIR out the door. They have this lunatic designer from Pearl Abyss who infected AIR’s post level 30 design with open world mob grinding plus faction PvP who is now the product director in charge of Tera where they greenlighted a ridiculous grind from 65-70 and level 68+ content patch that was even negatively received in K-Tera and once released to other regions 3 months later, also poorly received. The point is that the studio division handling AIR and Tera (Krafton’s Bluehole division) has been ill equipped for years just dealing with those two to handle another one.

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Jack Pipsam

Engine upgrades would be the key thing to desire.
TERA’s lack of a 64-bit client along with some lacking optimisation is glaring, especially in Velika. It always felt like it was revving to be unshackled.

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Utakata

I’d say, why not? o.O

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NeoWolf

TERA 2 with 100% less clothing is undoubtedly going to be its tag line lol

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Vunak

Not happening. I’ve followed everything BHS for years in the hopes of TERA 2. Those renders are from Jang Seonghwan as a side project/personal project to continue refining his craft. It’s typical of artists to do that, nor would he be stupid enough if he were working at BHS to leak an in development projects assets while still under code name on his personal artstation before a massive reveal from BHS themselves…

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Utakata

With an NDA likely on a project like this, it’s difficult to verify your claim. That is, it could be all true or entirely spin, with all points in between.

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Vunak

I would love to be wrong, TERA is one of my favorite MMORPGs – played it from Korean beta all the way up till about 6 months ago. But I highly doubt BHS is working on another MMO, when they are struggling getting A:IR out the door. That and those renders are nearly 4-5 years old with no other information about Project EXA in recent years. Just using deductive reasoning based on everything I know about BHS.

But again I would love to be wrong. I hope I can come back to this comment and laugh at how wrong I was. I just don’t think that is going to happen.

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Dankey Kang

I seem to remember hearing about this a couple of years ago in some form. The original Tera is starting to look pretty stanky now so it would be smart for them to release a new one; after all, high-definition models = high-definition outfits which means more cash bux for Bluehole. As for tab-targetting in 2020, that would actually be a step back for Tera and not a smart move in the slightest.

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ChoJun

Considering Tera was mostly well known for it’s great action combat i can’t fathom why they would go with anything tab-targeting as that in itself would pretty much be a pass for me unless the game is worth the time, as Tera is borderline dead yet the combat is definitely one of the couple of things the game is worth “wasting” time for.