BELLATORES | A "Next-Gen" MMORPG Coming to PC in 2022
Asian MMOs are a dime a dozen.
1/3 of them come out with an announcement, and after years waiting, release within their country of origin, disregarding the rest of the world.
1/3 of them actually release to a Western audience, and fail to live up to any expectations set by the MMO community. Typically due to pay to win, horrendous grinds, or they have “Bless” in their name.
And the final 1/3.. well, they don’t even end up releasing.
Now, you guys are gonna have to bear with me on this one.. as the article pertaining to this announcement is in Korean, and translating it has garnered some.. sub-optimal results.
If what I’ve translated using a multitude of different translators available online is correct, though.. then it looks like we have a new Medieval PC MMORPG currently in development utilizing Unreal Engine 5 – developed in Korea.
And I know you immediately jump to the conclusion that this is going to be “another trash Korean MMO,” and that very well might be the case, but let’s not judge a game before the developers have a chance to show us what they’re capable of. Otherwise we’re just aiding in the stagnation of the genre.
Inven, the website that is reporting on this mentions the developer “NU, Incorporated” is currently in the process of developing a “live-action PC MMORPG” simply titled “BELLATORES.”
After Googling around for a few minutes, I could find no mention of a developer with that name, but the article notes the CEO “Kim Jung-hwan,” who happens to be the CEO of a company called “Nyou, Incorporated.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this was the company in question, as after navigating on over to their website, I see they do in fact have an MMORPG in development. An MMO, that on their website, they call “Project N1.” They list the game as a PC MMORPG for Windows 10 built with Unreal Engine 5.
After digging a little further, I learned that Project N1 has actually been in active development since 2017.
And since 2017, has continued to receive repeated funding from a variety of different investors including, but not limited to KB Securities, CAPE Investment & Securities, KDB Industrial Bank, Daol Investment, Welcome Capital, Welix Investment, and Yuanta Securities.
Nyou, the developers of the upcoming MMO went on to note that they understand the value of PC MMORPGs in the Global market, where Korean, Chinese MMOs typically tend to target predominantly a mobile demographic, as Asian’s love spending money on digital Waifu’s.
But, they’ve confirmed that their goals with BELLATORES differ quite substantially to the norm.
Nyou have a vision – potentially a vision to compete with Black Desert Online, given this game bears a very strong resemblance to it. Their vision is to have a largely successful PC MMO in both Korea, where PC gaming is still thriving, and over in the West, where PC gaming is the most popular form of gaming of any platform.
Or, well, at least pertaining to the MMO scene. Mobile gacha games would prove otherwise, but Mobile MMOs have failed to take off over here.
BELLATORES has been in active development since 2017. And as of 2022, they’ve received an additional 30 billion won in Series D investment, which equates to roughly $25 million US Dollars. This is their fourth round of investment to date.
BELLATORES is confirmed to be a “large-scale PC MMORPG that expands its sales and lifecycle infinitely with the development and service capabilities of Nyou’s core personnel who have experience in launching multiple PC MMORPGs, as well as various game platforms and cultural contents. We highly appreciated the IP potential of the company”
They noted that core developers have experience launching “multiple PC MMORPGs,” and while I can only see the CEO himself, I can tell that he was the CEO of NCSoft back in August 2003 – NCSoft, the company behind Aion, Blade & Soul and Lineage, and after 8 years at NCSoft, co-founded XLGames, the company behind ArcheAge.
After almost 9 years as CEO of XLGames, he moved on to become the Senior Director of Blizzard Entertainment in Korea for the next year, before becoming CEO of Nyou, Incorporated, in 2016, which was a little under 6 years ago. That’s quite the history.
But having a group of talented developers doesn’t really mean much for an MMO – look at WildStar. They had an incredible team of talented, experienced developers but due to conflicts within their studio and NCSoft, WildStar floundered, and ultimately failed.
BELLATORES is, interestingly enough, being developed with the Unreal Engine 5 engine. And most importantly, Nyou confirmed that it will be “releasing this year.” As in, releasing the game in 2022. I’m going to assume they have expectations of launching a test phase of some kind in 2022 – I cannot foresee a full release of the game this year.
Not only was it just officially revealed, but we don’t have a trailer, we don’t have really much in the way of in-game footage – even in the form of screenshots to base our opinions of the game off of.
They’re attempting to create a “live-action visual world,” with the goal of “pursuing the essence of the MMORPG.” Not that any of us have any understanding of what that even means. What is the essence of the MMORPG? Is it like.. cake? We all like cake, right?
It’ll feature various types of content – things like survival, adventure, and production, along with large-scale PvP battles between continents.
They didn’t elaborate on what they meant with regards to “survival,” if it was going to implement features from the survival genre, or whether it was just going to be substantially more difficult than what we’re used to. It’s also unconfirmed whether the large-scale PvP they’re talking about will be instanced or open-world.
The CEO of Nyou stated that “The implementation of the core functions and many features of Bellatores under development has been completed, and it is necessary to expand the development and service manpower on a large scale for the next game build.”
“With the financial resources secured this time, we will do our best to prepare for the release of the game by not only actively recruiting new employees, but also upgrading the game engine by increasing the company’s actual competitiveness in the industry, such as salary and welfare.”
So if I understand this correctly, they’ve implemented the core of the game, along with the majority of the features they want present in the final, playable build.
They’re in the process of working towards that build, and are bringing on additional developers in an active effort to reach their goal of releasing in whatever capacity they plan on releasing in, this year.
Whether that’s a Closed Beta, or a full-launch remains to be seen, regardless, having the game be as close as it is to release is highly promising.
I know at the end of the day this is “just another Korean MMO” to some of you, and there are going to be those of us that cover this, like we always have.
Some of us will like what we see, some of us won’t. Despite that, I personally think the game has some potential. I’m aware of the CEO’s history within the genre – NCSoft is an atrocious pay-to-win company, so is XLGames.
So technically that doesn’t bode well for the future of this game. We know where his priorities lie – the kind of business model they’ll likely adopt, and practices they’ll employ.
But despite how poorly Black Desert and Blade & Soul were handled, they’ve both been incredibly fun MMOs to play. And at the end of the day, that’s kind of what’s most important, right?
Nyou might want a long-term financial success. But what we as MMO players want, is to have fun playing a new game. Whether that’s for a month, or a year.
This doesn’t need to be the next World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV. It just needs to be something fun to play until the next thing drops. Because that’s the mentality the genre has adopted – MMO-hopping every time a new one launches. For better, or for worse.