Blade & Soul’s Unreal Engine 4 upgrade is coming this year in spite of Frontier World’s cancelation

oh no

We’ve updated this article at the end with a big update  – the original story follows.

If you were excited about the Unreal Engine 4 upgrade in the works for Blade & Soul, we have some bad news for you. You might want to be sitting down. See, the UE4 client was being worked on while players in Korea were able to play it as part of the game’s Frontier World server… but as work progressed, it turns out that NCsoft feels the game’s upgraded version was failing to deliver a satisfactory experience. Thus, the Frontier World server is sunsetting on May 6th, 2021, with players receiving refunds for money spent on the game.

This appears to also be the end of efforts to fully upgrade the game to UE4 and the “Complete” client being retired. It makes a certain amount of sense, as the game’s revenue has been consistently falling from their high in 2016 when the game launched in the west; the most recent financial report has the game down to around the level it was at during its launch year. That having been said, it doesn’t seem to be anything like the end of the line for the game itself, as the publisher is already promising something big coming for the game in June. So it’s all smooth sailing, but fans looking forward to a better version of the graphical engine might have to abandon those hopes now.

For those curious, the game’s revenues by year:

2012 – 62B KRW
2013 – 68B KRW
2014 – 83B KRW
2015 – 114B KRW
2016 – 182B KRW
2017 – 161B KRW
2018 – 120B KRW
2019 – 84B KRW
2020 – 72B KRW

Source: MMO Culture
It looks as if there’s some good news here: obtained confirmation from NCsoft that Frontier World (that’s this UE4 server) is shutting down only in Korea and that the graphical overhaul is still being brought to the live servers both in Korea and the west. “Frontier World, which was released only in Korea on Feb. 26, 2020, is shuttering on May 6, 2021,” the company says. “Though Frontier World was an adaptation of Blade & Soul built on the Unreal Engine 4, the graphical upgrade arriving to the live version of Blade & Soul later this summer will have further enhanced visuals.”
Now the studio has confirmed it publicly.

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