Interview: The First Berserker: Khazan Devs Plan To Deliver A “Complete Story”

The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan

Neople has been hard at work creating something it really wants people to have fun playing. This ambition started off as Project BBQ, which was eventually cancelled and later evolved into The First Berserker: Khazan. It is a hardcore action RPG that, at first glance, seems to have taken inspiration from the ever-growing Soulslike genre but does not fall into that category. Still, it takes some of the mechanics and attempts to make it as original as possible for the DNF universe.

The First Berserker: Khazan is the first big game in the DNF universe and could be the start of even more titles within this setting. It focuses on one of the more prominent and influential characters that hasn’t been depicted this well before. As such, we had many questions regarding the title and decided to speak with Myeongjin Yun, the CEO of Neople, to get an in-depth look into The First Berseker: Khazan.

The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.
Introduce yourself and tell us about your work on The First Berserker: Khazan.
Myeongjin: Hello, I am Myeongjin Yun, the CEO of Neople. I currently serve as the Executive Director of Dungeon & Fighter IP development and oversee The First Berserker: Khazan.
Who is Khazan, and what makes him stand out in the DNF lore?
Myeongjin: The protagonist of this game, Khazan, was a prominent general in the DNF (Dungeon Fighter Online) universe, existing 800 years prior to the current era. He played a heroic role alongside his friend, Archmage Ozma, in saving the Pelos empire. Unfortunately, he meets his downfall and tragic demise at the hands of sinister forces that envy the heroes. In Dungeon Fighter Online (DNF), the representative class is the slayer, and the ancient hero who serves as the ancestor of all slayers is Khazan (“The First Slayer”).
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.
How long has the game been in development, and how many developers are actively working on the project?
Myeongjin: The development has been ongoing for approximately two years, with the participation of over 150 developers.
Many players refer to this as a Soulslike title – will The First Berserker: Khazan differ from traditional Soulslikes? How?
Myeongjin: When designing the core mechanics, we prioritized creating a well-crafted action system akin to DNF. To achieve this, we drew inspiration from various design elements in the action genre, including those found in Soulslike games. While Khazan incorporates some key formulas from the Soulslike genre, it was not chosen to create a Soulslike game; rather, it was selected to contribute to our vision of enhancing the action experience in DNF.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.
Regarding content, is the plan to deliver a short yet fulfilling experience, or will The First Berserker: Khazan aim for a more extensive and intricate story/world, similar to titles like Elden Ring and Lies of P?
Myeongjin: The storyline of The First Berserker: Khazan is extensive since it is based on the vast and complex DNF universe. The story covered in “The First Berserker: Khazan” can be described as a small point within a larger picture. While it addresses specific narratives within the DNF universe, we are making efforts to ensure that even users who are not well-versed in this expansive universe can enjoy the game.
Speaking of a complex world, will the game feature a fully explorable open world, or will it adopt a closed-level design like Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty?
Myeongjin: It leans towards a closed-level design. While Khazan prioritizes the enjoyment derived from action, we are also preparing various elements and content to provide a sense of adventure and exploration.
At launch, will this game contain a complete story, or is there room for a potential sequel in the future?
Myeongjin: We plan to unveil a complete storyline at launch.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.
How far in development was Project BBQ, and what were the reasons for its cancellation?
Myeongjin: After completing the pre-production phase, Project BBQ had a milestone report before entering mass production, receiving high praise from Nexon. However, to elevate the gameplay as a 3D action game to the highest level, we thought that a greater focus on the character’s actions was needed. Consequently, we decided to strengthen these aspects by creating a console game using the DNF IP.
To what extent have content or assets from Project BBQ been reused in The First Berserker: Khazan (if any)?
Myeongjin: Initially, due to the excellent quality of the resources created for Project BBQ, the plan was to reuse the resources. However, during the prototyping period, we decided that reusing the resources would be difficult to create a good console game. This is because, in the case of online games where multiple PCs need to be shown on one screen, it is essential to create good quality at a relatively low cost. In the case of Khazan, being a single-player console game, each piece of content had very high quality, and there was a noticeable difference when placed side by side. Therefore, in the Khazan project, most of the resources were newly created.

The First Berserker: Khazan is being developed by Neople and will be published by Nexon. The upcoming action RPG in the DNF universe will launch on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC sometime in the future.

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