Last week TheGamer was invited to join Gameforge in a Kingdom Under Fire 2 pre-launch event, a day filled with food, fun, and most importantly, gameplay. The event took place at Castle Reichenstein in Trechtingshausen, Germany. It was a pretty unforgettable experience, and frankly, the game will likely surprise a lot of people, too.
You may have heard of Kingdom Under Fire 2, as it's actually a game with quite a bit of history. Developed by Blueside, it was first announced in 2008 for PC and Xbox 360, eventually released in Korea in 2011, shut down in 2017, then later in 2017 launched in Russia and ran for 2 years before being shut down in March of this year. Some red flags to be certain, but after playing the game at the pre-release event last week, it seems like KUF2 is in more than capable hands with it's new publisher Gameforge.
Gameforge puts on a hell of an event too. Knights in full medieval armor greeted us at the gates and re-enacted a brutal battle before we entered the castle. There were juggling jesters, fire breathers, and a falconry demonstration that got us up close and personal with some magnificent birds of prey.
After touring the beautiful castle (and embarrassing myself at snake tossing- don't ask) I was able to spend an hour with the game and then sit down with Noemi Feller, lead product manager at Gameforge to discuss the process of westernizing Kingdom Under Fire 2.
First impressions: the game certainly doesn't LOOK 10 years old. If you're familiar with other popular Korean RPGs like Black Desert Online, the style will be pretty familiar and surprisingly modern. What sets Kingdom Under Fire 2 apart from other KMMOs is its unique blend of RPG and RTS. As you progress through the game you'll unlock 80 unique troops that can be commanded on the battlefield. The game is played from a 3rd person perspective while you control your hero, but with the push of button you can zoom out into a top down view and control your units on the battlefield to set up pushes, create defensive lines, and employ strategies to gain advantage over enemies.
I barely scratched the surface in my play time, but mechanically it works just as you would expect. My imagination ran wild with possibilities once I saw the game in action, and I'm excited to dig deeper when the game releases this Friday.
After, I sat down with Noemi Feller to talk about the current state of the game. What impressed me most was how open and honest she and the rest of the Gameforge personnel I spoke with were. KUF2 looked considerably different in past iterations and had most if not all of the monetization trappings that Korean MMOs are known for. Anyone who's played Korean MMOs or mobile games knows that they tend to employee some tactics that western audiences tend to find pretty predatory. Gameforge has been close to Blueside and the development of Kingdom Under Fire over the years and when they got involved with the project last year they knew all of the microtransactions had to go.
When it releases on PC this friday, 11/13, the game will have a strict Buy-To-Play system. There are 3 tiers available at $29.99, $49.99, and $99.99 for collectors edition bonus cosmetics and bonus troops, and the only microtransactions available in the game will be cosmetic only.
The hard currency that was once used for everything from buying troops gachapon-style to upgrading equipment has been completely reworked into an in-game only currency. Further, there are no loot boxes systems in the game at all.
Instead, progression will be based on experience gained and story completion. Everything in the game can now be earned purely through game play. There are 5 classes to choose from, 80 troops to unlocks, tons of multiplayer missions to master and even 16-player raids to challenge the highest level players.
I'm optimistic for Kingdom Under Fire 2 after seeing how deeply the developers and publishers care about this franchise and how hard they've worked to create a more player friendly experience. We'll have a full review for the game after it arrives this Friday on PC.