Age of Wushu CEO talks localization, cash shop, and more

Age of Wushu - Sloped rode and rider
Massively weighed in with its multi-headed opinion on Age of Wushu's public beta a couple of weeks back. We also had an opportunity to forward some questions along to the sandbox title's dev team, and we're happy to report that Snail CEO Shi Hai took the time to answer them.

Head past the cut to hear what he has to say about localization issues, a customizable user interface, possible Western cash shop changes, and more.

Age of Wushu - Chess or something like it
Massively: The current English localization is likely to turn some players off and possibly prevent Age of Wushu from moving past a niche customer base in the West. Is this being addressed, and if so, do you think we'll see better translations by next month's launch?

Shi Hai: We have been continuously optimizing the localization quality of Age of Wushu. As a game that presents Chinese culture, Age of Wushu involves a number of cultural elements, more so than any other product of the same kind. During the localization process, we encountered various difficulties and challenges. Our localization teams in both China and the US are working hard to provide the players a gaming atmosphere with true Chinese taste. We have also discovered problems and received feedback from players about issues with the localization, which our teams are currently resolving. During the open beta period, players will definitely see a better-localized game.

Are there any plans to make the user interface customizable in terms of element resizing or repositioning?

How the players feel about our game is our main concern, which certainly includes their desire to customize the game interface. Our product plan already includes the adjustments for interface customization, and we are doing our best to make the game fit for western users. We are confident that the players in North America will like it.

How about tutorials? Any plans to elaborate on Age of Wushu's complex minigames and various mechanics inside the game client?

Actually, in the current version players do receive tutorials upon their first time in a minigame. However, as the types of playing vary and are open, players may still find it difficult to get started. With regard to this issue, we will be continuously bringing new and clearer tutorials along with new versions of the client, so that players can get themselves involved in more of the core content of the game.

Were you happy with the client and server performance in the western public beta?

The technical performance proves that the game itself is already of fine quality. However, we are still not satisfied with the marketing aspects. Age of Wushu is a unique and creative free-to-play product; in China and other areas in Asia, Age of Wushu has achieved high popularity.

However, as we lack experience in the North American market, our game has not yet received enough attention from the media and player groups. Honestly, the localization of the product also needs optimization. We have been aware of these shortcomings and would like to contact more partners or localization businesses in the North American market.

Age of Wushu - Bridge over water
Are there any plans to tweak the western cash shop offerings, perhaps with more permanent cosmetic items as opposed to the timed items in there now?

We have received feedback from players regarding the costume issues. Currently we do not have any plans to customize the costumes to western culture, as we intend to keep to them traditional. As for the time limit, we will see if we can do any corresponding adjustments.

Have you made any significant changes to game from the original Chinese version to the version that western players are experiencing now? I.e., has it been "westernized" in any major way?

We have not made too many changes in gameplay and content. As we have always said, the true Chinese culture in Age of Wushu is something that we will always respect and maintain, and that includes elements such as the true Kung Fu combat system and the real flying skills like in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We would like to present a real world of Wushu for Western players.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. As the game involves large amount of ancient Chinese poetry and proverbs, we will definitely rework these texts during the localization process in order to avoid confusion.

When can we expect the Western versions of the game to get the updates on the current Chinese servers -- in particular, new internal skills, the meridian system, and new zones?

New functions and content will gradually be available according to server conditions. When most players on the servers have achieved a certain level, we will make the corresponding functions and content available.

Do you see Age of Wushu as part of a larger trend of non-linear or sandbox MMOs making some sort of comeback? Do you feel there's more of a demand for this type of game in Asia as opposed to America and Europe?

The character growth mode in Age of Wushu is non-linear. This sandbox mode generates the feeling of immersion, which provides players with a complete gaming experience. Snail is dedicated to creating unique worlds. I believe such products will be popular not only in Asia but also in Europe and North America.

Thanks for your time!

Age of Wushu - School NPC

When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!

This article was originally published on Massively.