PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is this year's hottest game, that much is true. But what's next for Bluehole Studio? How can it escape the one-hit wonder curse? Well, it's betting its chances of a two-hit streak on Ascent: Infinite Realm, a steampunk MMORPG being made by Kakao Games.
'Ascent: Infinite Realm'
Bluehole describes its new game as a "groundbreaking" MMO that incorporates a setting inspired by combining steampunk with high fantasy. While those two aren't such different elements, the way they could be fused is pretty intriguing.
In Ascent: Infinite Realm, there are five classes: Warlord, Sorceress, Gunslinger, Assassin, and Mystic, with each one having a couple of subclasses the company plans to reveal later on.
The company has uploaded a reveal trailer as well, showing off several elements hinting at what the game could be about, including floating ships embroiled in warfare, huge mecha suits, barrel racing, and even fire-breathing dragons. Not to mention a smattering of footage showing the game's highly varied environments, which range from plenty of skyscapers to picturesque towns.
"In search of a new home, adventurers take to the skies using a wide selection of airships, vehicles, and flying mounts to traverse A:IR's open, highly vertical world," Bluehole says of the game.
'Ascent: Infinite Realm' Looks Promising But Shows Frame Rate Issues
As the title and trailer suggest, Ascent: Infinite Realm looks like it'll focus on air-based combat, which could make for pretty intense, if highly unstable battles. Right now, the trailer looks incredibly promising, save for the laughably low frame rate in some parts. Even so, combining steampunk, classic sword and sorcery gameplay, then finding a way to incorporate both in a way that makes full use of air-based combat is a highly attractive concept. Hopefully Bluehole Studio and Kakao Games deliver a well-executed presentation from those disparate elements.
'Ascent: Infinite Realm' Beta
A beta for the game is scheduled to launch during the first half of 2018. Interested players can visit its official website to sign up for the beta program.
Bluehole, a developer and publisher in South Korea, has been enjoying riotous success with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which pushed 10 million copies worldwide by September and then sold 10 million more months later. It apparently even has more players on Steam than Dota 2.
Before that breakout hit, however, Bluehole had less successful titles such as Tera and Devilian. Both of those games are MMOs, though neither of them rose to fame in the Western market. Hopefully Ascent: Infinite Realm will be more like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds than Tera or Devilian in terms of success.
But it's worth noting that this game is being developed by a different team than the developers who handled PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Meanwhile, there is hope for Bluehole Studio to do a PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds sequel, but that's not happening, apparently.
An exact release date has yet to be announced. Watch the trailer below: