July 9, 2002
JC Entertainment takes
online gaming to a violent and grim western frontier with Priest
by Michael Lafferty
The Old West was populated with a variety of villains, but few rival the ruthless evil of the fallen archangel Temozarela. It will take something or someone special to win this battle. Enter Ivan Isaacs, a disillusioned priest who has sold his soul in order to battle Temozarela. But has Ivan become what he loathes the most in order to enter this fray?
The game is Priest, a multiplayer, head-to-head combat game developed by JC Entertainment. This game isn’t the first foray into the world of online games for JC Entertainment. The company has developed other titles, such as RedMoon, Warbible, Axis and JoyCity. The company currently has 10 million users registered in its cyberworlds.
Priest is a strong combat-oriented game, with violent action, combining elements of classic simulation and action games. The game promises a "grim and gruesome ambience," according to the press release and introduces a unique player-versus-player structure.
Jason Kim, the general manager of JC Entertainment’s U.S. office, took time to talk with GamingPolo about the MMORPG.
Question: The game follows the story of one character, Ivan Isaacs, a disillusioned priest. If the game revolves around one character, and this is a MMORPG, please explain how players get into the story.
Jason: "The original story characters including Ivan Isaacs will be shown as NPCs in the game Priest. Players will not be able to play those characters. Instead, players will start as a normal people of the period, join a faction, interact with those characters and participate in the conflict between Ivan and Temozarela."
Q: What will players see when they enter the game, and what character choices do they have?
Jason: "Every player who enters the game for the first time will encounter a quest (pre-game mode) the result of which will decide the faction of the player. After the faction is decided, the player can choose from characters that belong to that faction. After choosing a character, the player can join the main game and start from a town in the beginner zone of that faction."
Q: Are there any differences between gender-based characters?
Jason: "No. Differences among characters are the results of race and class. Gender only affects outward appearance in Priest."
Q: What kind of PvP action is there? Are there PvP-free zones?
Jason: "PvP action can happen almost everywhere between the different factions. But there are some PvP-free zones such as beginner zones of each faction. And there will be a PvP-free zone where players of both factions can meet each other. Additionally dueling system will be provided, allowing players of the same faction to fight each other, but only when both players agree."
Q: Does the game have an honor system in place?
Jason: "An honor system will be provided as an integral part of the game play."
Q: What main attribute do you think will set this game apart from other online games?
Jason: "New type of battle system emphasizing dynamic action, American Wild Western Frontier background, and ‘hard-gore’ setting distinguish Priest from other online games."
Q: The press release speaks of ‘controversial themes.’ Can you explain what they might be?
Jason: "It refers to the storyline of the original comic book around which the game Priest was developed. Based on the religious mysticism, the Priest is not concerned with spreading the word of God to the people. Rather, he is bent on destroying the evil from the world by any means necessary. Conflicting, however, the same forces he seeks to abolish is the very source of his power."
Q: Does this game have an evolving storyline?
Jason: "In the original story from the comic book, Ivan tries to prevent Temozarela’s plan to destroy the human world. Ivan’s journey goes through 12 major towns, and game Priest will also develop and update the 12 towns in order.
"It will not be like simply adding a town. Along with new towns being added, new monsters, items and quests will be added as well. Through the occupation and defense of the towns, users will experience how the storyline develops."
Q: Beta testing begins in the fourth quarter of this year. Is it a closed beta, or can people who wish to apply to be in the test group?
Jason: "In Korea, closed beta starts in the third quarter of this year, with open beta beginning in the fourth quarter, while in North America open beta starts in the first quarter of 2003."
Q: What is the proposed release date of the game?
Jason: "There will be no ‘close
beta’ in the North American market. We plan to start ‘open beta’ in the
first quarter of 2003, and launch the service in the second quarter of