It’s not always entirely clear what ncSoft’s Eastern arm is up to, but they’ve at least a couple of promising MMOs in the pipeline. There’s the Cryengine-powered Aion, which we’ll hopefully have more about in the not too distant, and there’s also Project [M] – which was revealed back in August to be Blade & Soul. It’s Korean, it’s Eastern-themed high-fantasy, and it’s headed up by one of the main Lineage dudes. But wait! Clearly, that sounds like a triple-whammy of ohgodsoullessgrinding, but there are signs this might be something a whole lot more interesting than simply Lineage with prettier pretties.
Using my incredible Korean translation skills (i.e. clicking on every button until something I recognised happened), I’ve dug up the embed code for some in-game footage. Expect it to load agonisingly slowly as it’s coming from the Far East, however. It’s billed as a martial arts game, but martial arts in the way that Soul Calibur is martial arts. The fighting looks intruigingly dynamic, more akin to a God of War or Devil May Cry than a Lineage or WAR. It might be about killing identi-beasts in their thousands, but crucially that act of killing could be a lot of fun. It also seems to feature monster-bifurcation and slightly shocking scenes of giants beating tiny women into the ground.
Edit – also a Yourfaceinatube version, lower quality but faster to download:
The scant but optimistic Unofficial Blade & Soul Blog has some more details, including a painstaking scene-by-scene trailer analysis. Which saves me from doing one. Hooray! Though I kind of wish I was the one writing stuff like “The famous pounding scene. The skill includes face-punching, two-hand smash, and arm-breaking which casts like a combo. It also includes a head-butt.”
Due in 2010, apparently.