E3 finished about a week ago, and since then we’ve been trying to get our thoughts down on paper. Since there are so many different thoughts and experiences from our time at E3, we’re going to let CM Simon tell his version of E3.
CM Simon’s E3 Recap
Day 1 Saturday:
Time travel is weird. Leaving Korea at 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday and arriving at 11:30 on a Saturday morning is disorientating. Especially when you’ve been in transit for 12 hours. My body was telling me it was 3 am, the sun outside was telling me it was midday. We head to the hotel, check in, sleep and generally just try to get used to the new time zone.
Day 2 Sunday:
Sunday was the first day of our E3 experience, with the Microsoft showcase at the Microsoft Theatre. I had always dreamed about going to an E3 briefing, and I can now check that off my bucket list. It was a really different feeling than watching it on a computer. Sitting in the audience watching amazing game trailers, interesting talks and complete surprises was something that I will remember forever.
But seeing Black Desert up there? Unreal. The trailer was fantastic and honestly, I still get chills down my spine seeing a game that I’m involved with at E3. Considering that there were so many games vying for spots on the main stage, that it was truly an honor to be selected. I was sitting around a bunch of developers at the time, and to say they were equally excited would be an understatement.
Black Desert on the VERY big screen!
If you watched any of the Microsoft E3 videos, you would have noticed the screens and consoles on the stage. Although these weren’t used all too much in the demonstrations, they were more for the showcase event after, where people from the press (and eventually the fanfest) had a chance to sit down and play games. Once most of the audience had left the venue, we ran up on stage to prep for the gameplay demos.
Our Black Desert Kiosks! As you can tell it was VERY dark in there
As most of you know, Black Desert is a game that always requires an internet connection, which meant that our demo had to be on a live server. This is where things can go horribly wrong. What if the internet stops working? What if there is any form of connection issue? Well luckily for us, there was none of that. The game loads in perfectly, and we went to work making sure that everything was well prepared for the days ahead. Having a live game at an event like this was branded ‘Insane’ by one of the exhibitors who was around us. But it all worked out in the end.
So many people came up to play the game, and getting to talk to people who were interested in playing Black Desert was fantastic. Showing the game, telling people how to control their character, how combinations work, where to go. All those things really do make time fly quickly. Teaching people about something I am super passionate about really makes the time fly, and honestly, the evening went by so fast I wasn’t sure if I skipped out early or not. As a side note, the interview I did was fun, but I look terrible in it due to jet lag, and the fact that I look like a sack of moldy potatoes anyway.
Day 3 Monday:
Monday was going to be an incredibly long day. We arrived at the Theatre at around 8:30 am and settled in for an absolutely mammoth day. We were going to be there until the end of the fanfest which would end at 11 pm. There were breaks of course, where we went to get some good food, but it was still going to be a really long day.
What is nice though, is that talking to people really does make the day go quicker. People were genuinely interested in playing the game, and luckily none of them managed to break it. We talked about the customization, we talked about launch classes, we talked about the story. I seriously love every part of the game, and getting to chat with people about it was great.
At the fan session, we had quite a few people who had played Black Desert on the PC. The players really did take to the game like ducks in water. They got to grips with the combos really quickly, and even when we showed them the ring menus, most of them ignored it completely and just figured out how to do everything naturally. The one player that stands out is the guy that picked up ranger. I mentioned that it is not my favorite class and that I put a lot of time in other classes instead. He assured me that it would be ok, and he picked up the controller and just went to town on the Fogan. Even though their names were purple (meaning they should be incredibly difficult to kill), he slaughtered them with absolute grace. I wish I could have recorded his play for demonstration purposes because it really looked like he had played the console before.
Before we close Day 3, I just wanted to give a big shout out to everyone who worked there. The stagehands were always good for a joke when we bumped into each other, the other exhibitors helped to keep everyone energized, and the ID@Xbox folks went above and beyond to make sure we as exhibitors were looked after.
Day 4 Tuesday:
As our days showcasing the game had finished, it was time to prepare for the ‘Into the Abyss’ event. We collected our exhibitor passes for the E3 convention, helped with a couple of interviews, and went to our E3 base nearby. We had pretty much everything delivered to this place, so it was packed full of boxes. T-shirts, towels, bands, badges. All kinds of cool things. We had pretty much everyone there to pack things into bags, prepare the last minute changes to the speeches and rehearsed a bunch of speeches and things like that. It was a busy day, but really uneventful.
Piles of stuff at Basecamp
Day 5 Wednesday: D-Day
Event day was hectic, and I don’t think I will be able to get everything down that went on. We arrived early with the event staff and generally made sure that everything was getting ready. We checked out the setup and then worked on making sure all the technical stuff would be working. We hooked up the Xbox’s, the phones and the PCs. We had a slight issue with one of the Xbox’s connecting to the internet, but that got resolved kind of quickly.
The doors opened and people started to trickle in. I was darting from place to place, chatting with people from pretty much all over. I met some of the most dedicated Black Desert players around and I met people who had never tried the game before. Chatting with everyone about everything was great. Watching people pick up the game for the first time really helps us out a lot. Seeing what they have difficulty in or what they find easy gives us insight into how players will adapt to the game.
The presentation went off with a few technical hitches, but nothing major. Then we had the evening activities. We gave away some cool items (Black Spirit plush being the most desired item, even more than the Xbox One X I think), we gave away some goodie bags, and the grand prize, was the Xbox One X. I love being on the mic, and part of my British snarkiness probably showed through what I was saying.
From what I gather, everyone had a great time. The Pearl Abyss staff who were there tried to fight through language barriers to help people have a good time, and most of them were super entertaining throughout the night.
When the night started to close, and we had to make people leave, I kind of felt sad that it was all over. We all worked so hard in making sure this event was a success and having it end made me feel a little empty. But overall, I had a great night and that would be a great way to end these notes!
Our amazing Cosplayers also enjoyed playing the game!
As announced at E3, our beta will be coming this fall. This wasn’t as soon as we anticipated, but any type of delay is purely in the best interests of making sure the game comes out in the best possible way.
One of the main reasons for the delay is that the UI ended up being completely different from the initial plans. At first, the team considered using a slightly modified PC UI, but that plan was changed once we tried it with a controller. We needed to completely rebuild the UI from the ground up, which obviously takes time.
Black Desert runs on an engine developed here at Pearl Abyss. This gives greater flexibility to the developers in terms of what can go into the game. We needed to make some changes to the game through our engine tools in order to improve the performance of the game. Making sure that the game runs great on the Xbox One X and Xbox One S is a high priority for us, so we decided to take more time in ensuring the best performance possible.
As a very final note, we are currently planning on doing some streams. We haven't yet finalized everything, but once we have a plan, we will let you all know!
[GM Note] Dev Note #4: Character Design Team Character Design Team 30.07.2018
[GM Note] Dev Note #3: Character Customization Character Customization 13.07.2018
[GM Note] Dev Notes #2 Short Chat with the Engine Team 05.06.2018
[GM Note] Dev Notes #1 First interview with Lead Producer Kwang-Sam Kim 05.06.2018