First Descendants developers reveal what makes this sci-fi shooter special
First Descendants developers reveal what makes this sci-fi shooter special

First Descendants developers reveal what makes this sci-fi shooter special

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Many cooperative shooters have entered the fray over the past few years, and one of the most exciting on the horizon is Nexon’s First Descendants. Developed by Magnum Studio in-house at Nexon Games, it’s a sci-fi shooter in which the player’s superpowered characters, called “Descendants,” defend humanity from invading forces. Along the way, they will encounter hordes of enemies and giant bosses as they shoot and loot. Intrigued by this bold new franchise in one of the hottest gaming subgenres, we spoke with Lee Beom-jun, Producer and Head of Magnum Studio to learn more about the vision behind First Descendants ahead of its Steam beta next month.

During the interview, Lee Beom-jun discussed how this new cooperative shooter IP is trying to stand out, what Nexon wants to learn from the upcoming Steam beta, and why the team made the jump from Unreal Engine 4 to Unreal Engine 5. We also got the first details on how customization works. characters and what players can expect from the narrative and monetization of The First Descendant evolving as a free-to-play title.

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Digital Trends: The cooperative shooter genre has seen a major resurgence recently. What makes this genre attractive to Nexon, and how do you plan to create one First Descendants stand out from other games in this genre?

Lee Beom-jun: As you said, the co-op shooter genre has recently made a comeback. And I think it’s still a developing genre. We focused on the co-op shooter genre because we wanted to create an online game that is loved around the world. I would like to highlight two distinguishing points First Descendants from other games of the same genre.

The first is our service philosophy. Our goal is to create games that players will love and enjoy for a long time. We aspire to provide continuous updates and satisfy our players with a stable online service. The second point relates to the game itself. First Descendants has a variety of interesting characters who fight with their unique skills and various weapons. Based on the mechanics of this battle, we provide massive boss battles where the player must defeat the boss through co-op. There are many other differentiating points, but these are the two that we think are the most important.

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Digital Trends: How can players customize their character’s abilities and loadouts in-game?

Lee Beom-jun: Each character’s skills are improved as it is their unique background, personality and strategic battle areas. However, players can customize their characters and weapons by attaching equipment called “Runes.” Runes provide various functions, such as increasing certain stats or providing additional or passive performance. Players have limited resources to choose from, so they have to think about the best rune setting that suits their play style or character.

Characters aim and fire a gun in The First Descendant.

For example, if you’re playing a character with a high proportion of gunplay, it can be helpful to focus on the weapon and character defense stats. Whereas if your playstyle consists of skill-based ranged combat, you may want to choose Runes that will increase your skill range or even reduce the skill cooldown. The freedom to make all of these choices will give you the pleasure of customizing your game.

Digital Trends: What was the hardest part of putting together an entirely new IP?

Lee Beom-jun: Like any team, we experience both the difficulty and the excitement of developing a new IP. Amazing games and content continue to be released in terms of visuals. Therefore, it is not easy to create results that successfully maintain our unique identity and cater to the tastes of many people. We’ve focused on what our team does best, and are constantly improving.

In the process, the visual theme has shifted from fantasy to science fiction after receiving feedback from those around us, and I am satisfied with the current result. Another interesting aspect of creating a new IP is watching the creativity of various teams come together to form a whole new universe. I really want to see how the world that each team contributes will develop in the future.

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Digital Trends: How narrative content will be delivered First Descendants?

Lee Beom-jun: We have the main story in the game, and content is delivered through quests and in-game cinematic scenes. We will continue to add to these stories with each major update. As you might have guessed, the characters that appear in the Gamescom trailer are the main villains of the story. In addition to the main story, several stories and other story settings will be presented through various in-game methods. Discovering these hidden side stories and background knowledge will be very exciting and fun.

Digital Trends: Why the team chose Unreal Engine 5 as First Descendants game engine?

Lee Beom-jun: We started developing First Descendants with the latest version of Unreal Engine 4. Unreal Engine 5 was released during our development, and our development team became very interested in its visual quality. Although I was a little worried because the development had progressed a lot by then, I decided to boldly upgrade our game to Unreal Engine 5 for the best visual quality.

The main reasons for the upgrade are Nanite and Lumen from Unreal Engine 5. In particular, we believe that the quality of lighting provided by Lumen, a real-time global lighting solution, is critical for next-generation projects. Now, everyone on the team is happy with the result.

A huge enemy approaches players in The First Descendant.

Digital Trends: How do you approach monetization for First Descendants as a free to play game? Will you charge for certain characters, stages, or equipment?

Lee Beom-jun: I’m sure many players are curious and worried about this. Since we’ve been running on the same path and direction since the beginning of development, we were surprised to see that after our game was revealed, many players were worried about the excessive pay-to-win aspect of Nexon games. Ultimately, we aspire not to go after the pay-to-win aspect of it excessively. The monetization model will also not deviate significantly from games of the same genre. Paid products will indeed exist, but the characters, equipment and stages necessary for gameplay and in-game progress can be obtained through gameplay.

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Digital Trends: What areas of play do you expect to get the most feedback on with the October beta?

Lee Beom-jun: As this is our first official test, we would like to receive feedback on all aspects. However, I’m curious about evaluating areas that the development team worked hard to improve after the closed FGT we held earlier in the year.

A robot shoots lasers at players in The First Descendant.

Given this is a looter shooter, the most critical area to examine, in my opinion, is combat and progression, along with the fun of co-op playing. Co-op content and functionality have been significantly improved after FGT closed, and I hope players can enjoy playing together. Apart from that, I’d like to hear from users about the visual quality and smooth controls (which have been highly evaluated before), changes to the core PvE content, and the UX, which has been improved as well by implementing feedback from FGT.

First Descendants is in development for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. The PC open beta will take place on Steam between October 20 and October 26.

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