Posted Thu, Mar 26, 2009 by Ethec
Brian Knox has been with NCsoft since 2003, where he began in Quality Assurance (QA) for NCsoft’s flagship franchise, Lineage II. Over the years, Brian took on lead roles in the QA department and eventually moved to over to production. As producer, Brian is responsible for working closely with the Aion development team in Seoul and publishing teams at NCsoft West to bring Aion to the western market.
We spoke to the Aion crew during this year's GDC, and Producer Brian Knox gives us a quick update on the status of Aion
Ten Ton Hammer: That players will the first playable "vertical slice" of the game this side of the Pacific of the game at GDC is great news. Though the game is slated for a Fall 2009 release as per a recent communication from Liv, would you please give us an update on how the game is shaping up for release in North America and Europe?
Brian Knox, Producer: We've recently opened Aion to all NCsoft West employees and will be allowing limited external access to close family member and distribution partners. We're working on some basic/boring server infrastructure, patching, and auth integration. We're also aggressively working on the localization rewrite, with some very talented writers joining us over the past few weeks. Additionally, we're working on the specifics of all the non-game elements of the product, such as our web presence and customer service and operations tools. We've got a lot of work ahead, but we're in good shape and we're meeting our internal dates.
Flight in Aion. Click here for more Aion screens from GDC '09.
Ten Ton Hammer: Aion has been called a "spiritual successor" to the Lineage series, and NCsoft games originally developed for a Korean audience tend to have a strong bias towards gamers who love PvP. We hear a lot about PvPvE, but will there be plenty to do for gamers who prefer cooperative play exclusively at all levels? Is this part of the localization process as well?
Brian Knox: It's obvious when I play the game that the designers at NCsoft are aware of the evolution of the MMO genre and player expectations. The original Lineage launched in 1998 had very few quests, I think it had one per class in the traditional sense. That's just not where they placed the emphasis on the game, but that's changed in that product over the years. In Aion, it's quickly apparent the designers understand good solid quests, either as quick stand-alone quests or arching, interconnected mission quests that unlock other quests while telling a story and revealing the deeper twists and fiction of the world you're in. At higher levels, there is ample opportunity for player conflict as you compete to control castles and capture points in the Abyss, but there is also raid type bosses available at upper levels as well. This game has balanced player desires for PvE and PvP very well.