The popular South Korean hack-and-slash RPG Blade: Sword of Elysion is coming West, launching today on the iOS App Store.
Mobile gaming is quite large in South Korea — it’s over a billion dollar market — and Blade was the first mobile game to win the South Korean Game of the Year Award. To date, it’s been downloaded more than six million times. The Unreal Engine-powered game was also in one of the top four in-terms-of-revenue games on Google Play in May 2014 worldwide, just from its South Korea base. Now, Blade follows in the footsteps of other South Korean gaming companies — like NC Soft — eyeing the also profitable Western mobile market.
Publisher 4:33 Creative Lab is responsible for bringing the game — developed by ActionSquare — over. The studios are hoping that the success the game had in Korea will lead to success in the West as well. It even worked with Western UI/UX experts and localization companies and creative writers to adapt the game to the new market.
“Blade: Sword of Elysion is a truly stunning game, and we’re excited to bring such a great looking, hardcore action-RPG to this new market,” said Tae Hwan So, CEO of 4:33 Creative Lab. “Mobile games can no longer be dismissed and we feel that Blade is at the forefront of this new wave of hard-core, console quality mobile titles.”
In Blade, players enter the hack-and-slash dungeon-crawler world of Elysion, a land under the sway of dark forces, and they must bring light to the world. You take the role of one of three heroes: Leo, Reina, or Limon. It has three classes; a warrior (fighter with a melee focus), mage (ranged spell class), and assassin (a fast melee class). Today’s release has 80 campaigns, with more coming in future content updates.
Blade is free-to-play, with in-game purchases for weapons, armor, and other options for your character, using both in-game and hard currency.
“Blade was made with a prime focus on action and to bring a console-like experience on mobile,” Won Cho, EVP of global publishing, said. “One key differentiation factor is a real-time 1-on-1 PvP [player-vs.-player] and a colosseum-style PvP Arena where multiple players can combat against each other. Blade’s success initiated waves of Korean action-RPGs onto the Korean market and we believe that the action components will make it stand out in the West.”
For single player, each of the five areas are set in different environments, filled with minibosses (16 total in the game), and one area boss. Players can craft and upgrade their character’s equipment, as well as advancing their combat skills; both active and passive. Blade also supports up to 10 players in its real-time PvP multiplayer mode.
“Blade: Sword of Elysion will show mobile gamers what action is all about,” said Jae Young Kim, the CEO of ActionSquare. “Producing a high-quality action-RPG has been our top priority and the success in Korea shows it. We’re thrilled to release Blade to a new audience and confident that the mind-blowing fighting system and style will speak for itself when players dive in.”
Blade has an interesting auto-battle option. After players clear a level at least once, they can toggle this feature on, and essentially have the game farm itself.
“We’re most excited about bringing a console quality action-RPG to the Western audience,” Cho said. “It is a niche market but we feel that Blade can appeal to the greater audience to be enjoyed by everyone.”
Blade: Sword of Elysion is available now on the App Store, and it will release on Google Play in November, with cross-platform PvP.
Correction September 17, 7:08 p.m.: Changed the engine powering the game to Unreal Engine. We previously incorrectly listed the game as being powered by Unity.