The First Berserker: Khazan Devs Planning Other Genre Games In DNF IP

Neople shows interest in more Soulslike games after Khazan, and some other genres to expand the IP.

Story Highlights

  • The First Berserker: Khazan is the upcoming entry in the DNF universe.
  • It first started as an anime-styled MMORPG but was later revamped into a hardcore action RPG.
  • We interviewed Myeongjin Yun, the CEO of Neople, for more information about this title.

The First Berserker: Khazan started its journey from the ashes of Project BBQ, an anime-styled MMORPG, which was later revamped completely, becoming a story about Khazan, the first of all Slayers in the Dungeon & Fighter universe. It has gained much popularity since its reveal during The Game Awards 2023, primarily because it could exponentially expand the IP.

The official reveal trailer showed that the combat would be much similar to a typical Soulslike RPG, but with a much more unique art style. However, Neople has emphasized that this is a hardcore action RPG that happens to take inspiration from some Soulslike titles. This left us with even more questions, and so we decided to speak with Myeongjin Yun, the CEO of Neople, over an email interview, and ask several things about The First Berserker: Khazan.

Read ahead for the full interview.

The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your work on The First Berserker: Khazan.
Myeongjin: Hello, I am Myeongjin Yun, the CEO of Neople. I currently serve as the Executive Director of Dungeon & Fighter IP development and oversee The First Berserker: Khazan.

While the game has been announced for some time, it was only recently revealed with the new name, The First Berserker: Khazan. Could you tell us the release window Nexon is currently aiming for?
Myeongjin: We have entered the final polishing stage, but we are not able to disclose the exact release date at this time. We will reveal a more detailed schedule at a later date.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.

Khazan is a prominent character in the Dungeon & Fighter lore, but still not quite explored in detail. What led to the decision to make a story centered around Khazan now?
Myeongjin: Before planning Khazan, we decided to create a single-player action game using the Dungeon Fighter Online (DNF) universe. In the DNF universe, there are numerous characters and stories. The challenge was to choose a character and storyline that could provide a significant “player motivation” crucial for the action genre, allowing players to be moved through gameplay. For this purpose, Khazan was ultimately chosen.

How long has the game been in development, and how many developers are actively working on the project?
Myeongjin: The development has been ongoing for approximately two years, with the participation of over 150 developers.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.

What combat style and mechanics can players expect in The First Berserker: Khazan?
Myeongjin: We believe that The First Berserker: Khazan should focus on the fundamental fun of playing an action game. We are putting our efforts into creating thrilling combat with elaborate, crisp mechanics to maximize the fun of dodging and striking in response to the monster’s attack. Players can effectively utilize basic actions such as blocking, parrying, and dodging based on the situation.

Will there be a wide selection of different weapons, armor and other items, as is the case in other similar titles?
Myeongjin: DNF offers a wide selection of various weapons, armor, and other items to choose from and we are putting our efforts into improving the gameplay we pursue through these features.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.

Will The First Berserker: Khazan have an open-world, semi-open world or close-level-based design?
Myeongjin: It leans towards a closed-level design. While Khazan prioritizes the enjoyment derived from action, we are also preparing various elements and content to provide a sense of adventure and exploration.

What graphic modes are being targeted for the PC and console versions of the game?
Myeongjin: We plan to provide a default option with graphics at 1080p resolution and 30fps. Additionally, there will be various selectable modes available at launch.

We are considering different approaches to design a better environment with high-quality graphics for a wide range of players waiting for Khazan. We will open each mode once they are ready.

The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.

Can we expect to see more Soulslike depictions of Dungeon & Fighter? Or will Neople continue experimenting with different genres?
Myeongjin: In addition to Khazan, we are also planning other genres of games using the DNF IP. While Khazan has a soulslike aspect, it also embodies the form of an action RPG based on DNF. Although we have thoughts on releasing additional works in the soulslike genre after Khazan, as well as exploring genres beyond soulslike, our current focus is solely on making Khazan an action game that many people will love.

This game first started as an anime-style MMORPG by the name Project BBQ. What were the reasons behind Project BBQ's cancelation, and what prompted Nexon/Neople to overhaul the project?
Myeongjin: After completing the pre-production phase, Project BBQ had a milestone report before entering mass production, receiving high praise from Nexon. However, to elevate the gameplay as a 3D action game to the highest level, we thought that a greater focus on the character’s actions was needed. Consequently, we decided to strengthen these aspects by creating a console game using the DNF IP.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan – via Nexon.

The cancellation of Project BBQ and the birth of Project AK (Khazan) happened around the same time as Elden Ring's release. FromSoftware's title has undoubtedly resulted in the recent trend in the Soulslike genre. I am curious whether The First Berserker: Khazan was also somehow inspired by the success of Elden Ring.
Myeongjin: Khazan wasn’t inspired by Elden Ring. Rather, if we had taken an existing project, Project BBQ, which was initially being developed as an online game, and transformed it into an offline game, it might have had many similarities with Elden Ring. While Khazan draws inspiration from various games, it was already in development in its current form before Elden Ring was released.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Myeongjin: We are working hard to make a great game. Please look forward to it!

YouTube video

The First Berserker: Khazan is being developed by Neople and will be published by Nexon. The hardcore action RPG will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The release date has not been announced as of yet. We thank Myeongjin Yun, the CEO of Neople, for his precious time and invaluable insights.

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Mudassir is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the stories behind our favorite virtual worlds. Armed with a trusty notepad and a keen curiosity, he dives headfirst into the gaming industry's most exciting personalities. His knack for insightful questions and his ability to connect with developers and gamers alike makes his interviews a must-read. While on the lookout for the next person to interview, Mudassir keeps himself busy by writing news surrounding the gaming universe.

Experience: 4+ Years || Senior Journalist

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