PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer Bluehole has a lot more up its sleeve than just battle royale games. The studio's latest project is a massive departure from PUBG in both tone and genre. Bluehole has combined elements of both steampunk and high fantasy to create a new MMORPG called Ascent: Infinite Realm.
Published by Kakao Games, Ascent: Infinite Realm (“AIR” for short) will feature "Realm vs. Realm" aerial and ground combat, which divides players into preset realms and allows them to go to battle with each other for control of in-game assets. This kind of combat, rooted in controlling more resources than the enemy, channels a similar competitive nature to PUBG, which is likely one of the things Bluehole is banking on.
When you think of Bluehole, the massively popular multiplayer shooter comes to mind, as the two names are synonymous with one another by now. That could end up bolstering AIR's success in a big way, as Bluehole is a relatively unknown developer aside from PUBG and Tera when it comes to mainstream players.
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The world of AIR is centered in a fantasy world where high-flying machines, mounts, and ground vehicles are the preferred way to travel. They're not just for transportation, though. They're also utilized in combat, where players on the ground can hop in mechs and take advantage of anti-aircraft artillery for battles between land and air, or use cannons and mines for new strategic plays.
Airships, mechs, and player avatars, like in most MMORPGs, can be customized to your liking. Interestingly enough, there's a mechanic that empowers you to create your own quests all the way down to the difficulty of monster mobs in dungeons or larger hunting ground areas. There are five classes to choose from as well, but there haven't been any details released just yet as to what kind of roles they are.
Customizable ships and characters don’t exactly make for a unique spin on the MMORPG genre alone, but combined with Bluehole’s prior success and notoriety, AIR could end up making a splash.
Ascent: Infinite Realm will be on display from Nov. 16 through Nov. 19 at the G-Star 2017 annual trade show in South Korea, with a beta planned for the first half of 2018.