Round 8 Studio is just about ready to roll out the Bless Unleashed closed beta for PC: In fact, if you’re reading this from North America, it’s actually kicking off this very evening at 7 p.m. EST, running through the wee hours of the morning on November 9th.
Ahead of the test, we spoke with Round 8 about comparisons to Bless Online, the state of console, and the future of the franchise.
MassivelyOP: Let’s get the hard one out of the way first: Every time we write about Bless Unleashed, it’s impossible not to mention the whole Bless Online sunset, and that’s doubly true now that Unleashed is heading to PC. I realize the team working on Unleashed isn’t the same one as for Bless Online, but the comparisons are still there in the comments every time, and so is the mistrust for the franchise. How are the Unleashed PC devs planning to deal with that mistrust? What’s the pitch to get old Bless Online PC players to give the new game a chance?
While we understand that players may be worried about the similarities between the two games, the fact is that they really are two different games, built by different teams. Yes they are in the same “Bless IP”, but it’s kind of like how not all Spider-man or Batman movies share the same stories or continuity. Bless Online was the first game in this universe, and Bless Unleashed is the second.
Bless Online certainly had its fair share of problems, but we believe we’ve learned a lot of lessons from that game, and that Bless Unleashed is a better game all around because of it. It has better combat, a better UI, better dungeons, and better visuals thanks to Unreal Engine 4. It’s more fun to play in groups, it’s more fun to wander the world looking for the next Field Boss to take down, and it’s more fun to find the best combos you can pull off for your chosen class.
For those who are wary, we hear you – give Bless Unleashed a try in the beta tests, and at launch. Unlike Bless Online, it’s F2P at launch, and it’s on PS4, XBOX One, and soon PC in 2021.
For former Bless Online players, what are the key differences between the original PC game and the new one?
I’d say that the thing most players will notice right off the bat is how different the combat is. Whereas Bless Online was more traditional in its MMO combat, Unleashed was built from the ground up to be more like a Souls game with its action-combat. Each class plays wildly different, but each one can go toe to toe with the others if you play it well.
On top of that, the UI is completely different and the game plays great on Mouse and Keyboard or Controller. The zones, dungeons, and questing throughout the game are new, as are the many open world bosses or “Field Bosses.” It’s a whole new story from the word go, though you may recognize some characters if you played Bless Online.
Can you tell us how well the Xbox One and PS4 playerbases are doing? How large are the fanbases, and have each of the consoles held their player numbers since their launches?
While we can’t go into specifics, we can say that our Daily Active Users are on XBOX and now PS4 are strong, and holding steady. We think we’ve done a good job of bringing in new content on a regular basis, and providing loads of value as a F2P game. Players keep playing, and coming back when new content is added. So that’s a good sign!
Finally, what are the team’s future plans once the game is fully launched on PC? What kind of content, content parity, and crossplatforminess can we expect?
The PC version will be the same build as the console version when it launches next year, but in terms of cross-platform we’re still exploring that option and what we can do to make it happen. As soon as we know one way or the other, we’ll be sure to announce if and when cross-platform play will be possible.