At ACGHK 2019 this year, Arc System Works Asia had a game showing by noted Korean game developer Krafton, titled Mistover. Utilizing a dark, stylized anime artstyle, the game is a roguelike dungeon explorer, but one where you go into RPG battles with a strong focus on positioning.
You can check out 10 minutes of our demo playtest below:
Surprised at how hardcore it went with its battle mechanics and difficulty, as well as the fact that we were getting a single-player Korean game from a large company on Switch and Steam at all, I was glad to be able to talk to one of the developers, Woo Seok Lee, who happened to be present at the booth.
According to Lee, the design choices in the game, such as keeping a slow pace in exploring and battles, is intentional – while the game may feel slow at the start, players will have to make every action count later on in the game. What they wanted to achieve with this game were three things: create a feeling of adventure, the feeling of peril, and give players the feeling of accomplishment when finishing a dungeon.
Each action will have consequences down the road, stated Lee. The dungeons need to be dangerous in order to create a challenge for the player, and even the demo version we had just played was a truncated, easier version in order to make it less intimidating for show goers. For example, in the demo version the maps of the dungeons are shown from the start, while the full game will have you make out dungeons in full roguelike glory. There is hunger to manage, as expected, but there is also a ‘Light’ resource that runs out as you walk, lowering your field of view due to the Mist (and thus, your ability to avoid enemies), which can be restored with certain flowers on the field.
Mistover has a pretty dark story, with the world being brutally raided by the Vortex that unleashed monsters onto the world. Mankind is near extinction, and when the creatures suddenly disappear, mankind takes the chance to form the Corps that journey into the Vortex and find out the secrets behind mankind’s enemy. Lee says that this world and story were created first, and the aesthetics derived out of the premise afterwards.
The characters are also a colorful bunch appearance and backstory-wise, although the party is player-created and not fixed. For example, the religious sister in the party can heal allies but also cause status effects such as stun on enemies, being a bit more attack-oriented than what you might expect. She also becomes very… enthusiastic when she’s attacked. Apparently, the sister was originally a normal person, who at the brink of death heard a voice she believed to be God, and became as strange as she is today following the voice’s orders.
At this point in development, it seems that there aren’t any plans to add things like appearance or color variations for the player-created members’ looks. Lee explained that the aesthetics of the character were created to fit their backstory, although I did ask if they could add color variations at least, which he said he would relay to the team. In fact, the team has been collecting user opinions on the game for quite a while now, attending both PAX East in the USA, as well as NicoNico Choukaigi in Japan. It’s clear they’re quite passionate, and one of the reasons is probably the unfamiliarity of working within this genre and Korean game development culture in general.
Mistover is boasted as Lee as almost the first attempt for a Korean developer to challenge the console gaming space, when nearly every game there is for PC, and are online free to play games with microtransactions. Krafton was one of those makers, but after discussion, they decided to challenge making a single-player retail title for consoles. After seeing the finely balanced experience was on display with the demo, I hope that they’ll succeed with this untested venture.
Mistover is in development for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam. You can find the game’s Steam page here.