The First Descendant interview: “we plan to release new characters every season”

by on July 2, 2024

The First Descendant is finally here. The new post-apocalyptic free-to-play looter-shooter from Nexon has been through several alphas and betas (which we’ve played), and is now heading to PC and consoles on July 2nd. It’s big and loud and flashy, but is it enough to stand out in a busy market? We’ll know soon enough, but in the meantime we’ve spoken to Producer Lee Beom-jun, and the Director Minseok Joo, about their influences, what goes into a game like The First Descendant, and what’s coming in the future, among other things.

Mick Fraser: What were some of your primary influences while working on The First Descendant?

Lee Beom-jun: We can say that various cultural contents that we enjoyed, especially various science fiction novels and movies, have been a great source of inspiration for us. We also learned a lot from well-made looter shooter games.

The MMO space is always so busy, so how do you intend to make The First Descendant stand out from the crowd?

Lee Beom-jun: The dazzling sci-fi concept visuals, diverse and compelling characters, and exhilarating, fast-paced combat are what we think make The First Descendant captivating and distinctive.

The First Descendant has already been called a potential “Destiny killer”. How do you feel about that?

LBJ: It’s an honour to be compared to great games! We’re passionate fans of many looter shooter games, including Destiny. Our love for looter shooter games naturally led us to develop this game. However, sadly, there aren’t as many looter shooters in the gaming market as we’d like. As a fan myself, I hope our game becomes a beloved title that stands the test of time alongside others a comrade, rather than being seen as a “killer.”

The First Descendant

Loot feels pretty good already, but will TFD have unique gear items to hunt down and collect?

Minseok Joo: Of course! First, research all 22 ultimate weapons. Each weapon has a unique effect that will lead your combat in different directions. Among the ultimate weapons, there’s even a launcher that fires guided missiles. Guided missiles, isn’t it fantastic?

And it’s not all about ultimate weapons – there are over 500 modules at launch, so you’ll need to collect a wide variety of modules to create your own build. Among them, keep an eye on ultimate tier modules and skill modification modules. They’ll give you clues that can change your character’s strategy completely.

There are also external components with set effects, as well as modules for attaching grappling hooks in mid-air or extending range. There are so many diverse collectibles, so it will be enjoyable for making builds and testing different setups.

Will TFD focus much on builds or kits for each character?

Minseok Joo: Yes, The First Descendant revolves around collecting weapons, modules, external components, and reactors to create builds. We’ve designed skill modification modules and ultimate modules to allow for a variety of builds to be explored.

Updates are also heavily focused on improving and expanding builds. Each season, we release new ultimate weapons, modules, and external components. All this content will provide players with opportunities to adjust and refine their builds.

The First Descendant

TFD is a very pretty game at times, with a lot of visual spectacle, but MMOs can struggle to maintain a consistent atmosphere. How do you maintain a sense of place in The First Descendant?

LBJ: The game structure of The First Descendant is well-suited for exploring various themes and visuals. It offers a diverse array of settings, including eight different themed fields and sixteen types of dungeons, as well as nineteen different characters and dozens of cosmetic items. While maintaining a consistent atmosphere across such diversity is indeed challenging, as you mentioned, we strive to ensure consistency from the concept design stage. Equally important is our commitment to offering a variety of visuals to meet diverse needs. We plan to continue providing a wide range of visual experiences in the future.

How important is community feedback to NEXON?

LBJ: It’s extremely important! As you may already know, I, the producer, am actively communicating transparently through livestreams and making efforts to directly address feedback. The development team also firmly believes that incorporating feedback received through multiple rounds of testing has made The First Descendant even better. We will continue to prioritize listening to feedback and remain committed to this effort.

The First Descendant

Do you intend to add locations and player characters as the game evolves?

MJ: As we have already revealed in our roadmap, we plan to release new player characters every season. In the pre-season, the ultimate version of Bunny and Luna, a normal Descendant who lead battles using music, will be added.

We are also adding new locations, but for now, we are focusing on expanding contents around the dungeons. We believe that updates should lead to new experiences. Simply increasing the number of fields would result in repetitive experiences, so we are preparing dungeons with new mechanics, traps, and challenges to enjoy cooperative play.

Will The First Descendant feature annual or regular events, such as for Halloween or Valentine’s Day, for example?

MJ: Currently, we are focusing more on strengthening the core of the game rather than on events. If we do hold regular events, we would prefer to prepare events that fit the atmosphere of the game rather than events like Valentine’s Day or Halloween.

Will TFD launch with a robust endgame structure, or is that something that will be added later?

MJ: We released Dev Talk 2 recently, which delves into the endgame content that will be available to players. Various gameplay and challenges, such as Void Intercept Battles, will be part of the endgame. We encourage Descendants to check out the Dev Talk to get the latest information on The First Descendant’s endgame features.

Endgame content is already prepared for the launch, but we are also working on updating new endgame content. We are preparing new endgame experiences for players to enjoy each season.

Thanks to both Lee Beom-jun, and Director Minseok Joo for their time. The First Descendant is out now and is free to play for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.