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SDCC 2010: Massively interview with Vindictus producer Chris Gyselinck

Dan O'Halloran

Among the insanity that is the exhibitor floor of the San Diego Comic-Con was the demo booth of the upcoming, free-to-play action MMORPG from Nexon, Vindictus. Though sandwiched on one side by the Warner Bros' booth (where the stars of True Blood were generating enormous crowds) and on the other by G4's two-story monstrosity (which was blaring live broadcasts from the second floor of the booth), you still couldn't miss the Vindictus staff members wearing their signature red gnoll chief spirit hood.

After our hands-on with the game at E3 in June, we were eager to speak to Chris Gyselinck, Assistant Producer for Vindictus about the highly anticipated game. Yes, he was wearing the gnoll spirit hood. No, he wouldn't let me try it. But he did give me the scoop on the game, including upcoming beta plans. Check it out after the jump.

Closed beta news

The first thing we talked about was closed beta. Nexon has been taking beta applications since early July. Chris told me that closed beta will begin August 10th, and keys will be distributed through the Vindictus Facebook page. Two races will be available for play in the closed beta, with an additional one appearing in open beta and more to be announced after that. The level cap in beta (and launch) will be 30. Launch date for the game is still listed as Q4 2010.

Of engines and armor

Vindictus is based on a customized version of Valve's Source engine. This allows the team to make much of the environment in the game destructible, including your armor. As your armor takes a beating in battle, it will appear damaged and worn and will eventually fall off if not repaired. But rather than leaving you standing there naked as the day you were born, the game will see to it that you will have a set of underclothing that is customizable.

Armor comes from many parts of the game and can be crafted as well as purchased. The armor itself will level up, can be enchanted and is customizable with dyes. And though armor can be repaired, it will eventually wear out entirely, but by then you will probably have put together a better gear set.

Characters and grouping

Some character customization at creation will affect your stats. For example, taller characters will be slightly stronger than normal and shorter ones will be a little faster. Single group size for dungeon runs is four max, and raids will be two groups for a total of eight. Of course, there is plenty of solo content as well.

Battle Points and the Token system

Running and completing dungeons for the first time, solo or grouped, will reward you with Battle Points. You will also gain Battle Points from completing the Story Line quests in the game. As you gain Battle Points, later dungeons will unlock for you. Battle Points aren't spent, only accumulated, so you won't have to regain them later.

However, you won't be able to chain-run dungeons non-stop. Running a dungeon will require you to spend a Token. Tokens will be given to all of your characters and replenished after a set amount of time (yet to be determined). Out of tokens and still want to dungeon run? Friends in-game can loan you theirs. This Token system will only apply to later dungeons in the game, not to early, low-level ones.

Oath of Honor system

When entering a dungeon, you will be presented with a number of optional side quests to pursue. It could be defeating a certain boss with a certain weapon, or running the dungeon within a certain time, or completing the instance without using a potion. You get to choose which one you want to try and will be awarded extra Battle Points for succeeding.

Combat and dungeons

There are no auto-attacks or cooldowns in the game. The devs want you to constantly have something to do while in combat; they don't want you to be forced to rely on auto-attacks or to be frustrated with long cooldowns. The idea is for the combat to be visceral and brutal. There are also context-sensitive special moves, essentially combo sequences that are available depending on what weapon you're wielding.

The dungeons themselves are semi-randomly generated. Each one is split up into sections separated by portals, and each section can be something entirely different every time you run it. But the last section with the end boss is always the same.

There will be no PvP at launch, but the team plans on introducing it later.

The cool factor

Chris spoke about the other features in the game, besides the fast and furious combat, that add a special feel. For example, when the dungeon boss is killed, four different angled screenshots of the kill are shown to you -- and these screens can be saved to your desktop.

When you throw a spear at an enemy, the camera will switch to the head of the spear, and your point of view will travel with the spear from your hand, through the spear's flight path and into the chest of your opponent.

Finally (and to me, most importantly), you can pick up melons off the ground and smash them over the head of the dungeon boss (or any other enemy). And what other game can give you such a Gallagher moment?

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