Blade & Soul: What’s taking you so long?

blade and soul 1

Do you remember September 2012? That was the month when NCsoft and developer Team Bloodlust finally decided to reveal that the successful Korean martial arts MMORPG Blade & Soul was getting a release in North America and Europe. Western players who were following the game for months jumped with joy and began counting the days until the release.

… And we’re still counting them, while slowly losing the last bit of hope we had to actually play this game in our most desired version. In December 2012, NCsoft gave us our last update on the Blade & Soul official US website and since then, it’s pretty much complete silence. No new screens, not a single tidbit of info; the silence is deafening, and many players are already hoping for a cancelation notice, but just as it happens with Phantasy Star Online 2, we’re left wondering what’s actually going on with the alleged development.

And that’s what we’re going to do here: speculate about what may have gone wrong with the Western version of Blade & Soul, what factor – if not a few combined – lead to this limbo effect.


Some games have a shitton of text and localization isn’t an easy task at all – it requires a lot of hard work and attention to detail. While the term ‘localization’ is often mistaken for a simple, straightforward ‘translation’, usually there’s a lot more than simply adapting a game to other region’s language. It can include changing entire cutscenes, adding a lot of character customization options to reflect the region’s look and feel or even altering the user interface drastically.

However, most developers are used to this task and we’ve recently seen other heavy-hitter going through the process in record time – ArcheAge. Sure, this sandbox MMORPG had a lot of issues but they were related to the technical side of things, not to localization.

Finally, Blade & Soul was already localized to China, Taiwan and Russia, so it wouldn’t be an English version that would cause all the trouble.

We don’t believe that this was the main factor for the ‘disappearance’ of Blade and Soul.


How big is NCsoft, actually? Pretty big, we would say. This didn’t stop them from shutting down beloved superhero MMORPG City of Heroes, though. But with plenty of MMO games operating, some of them big names such as Wildstar (which isn’t doing too well, it seems), Aion, Guild Wars 2 or the still amazingly successful Lineage and Lineage 2, there’s plenty to keep everyone at the studio busy, even if some games aren’t directly developed by NCsoft.

There’s also a bunch of MMOs under development, such as the hybrid MOBA Master x Master, badass Transformers-like action game Project HON, and the highly anticipated Diablo-killer Lineage Eternal: Twilight Resistance.

But would all this get in the way of the release of a much desired game in North America and Europe? Couldn’t NCsoft allocate the staff to a project that, in theory, has everything to be very successful, including a very sexy art style that makes wonders with the young adult crowd?

We don’t think staff issues would be the reason to significantly delay the Western launch of Blade & Soul.


So, how big are you on martial arts? Do you think that is more of an Eastern kind of thing, with the Bruce Lees and Jackie Chans, and couldn’t care less about it? But while Blade & Soul’s main theme is martial arts, it’s far from your run-of-the-mill fighting game. The aesthetics are extremely original and the original anime look appeals to most players, even if they’re not fans of the genre. Add to this the fact that Blade & Soul wouldn’t be the first martial arts MMORPG to be released in the West, with names like Age of Wushu and Swordsman, to name just a few, getting some attention.

Even if the market isn’t particularly dying for martial arts MMOs, Blade & Soul has so much more going for it that the decision to hold the release just can’t be related to the theme of the game.


For all we know, NCsoft could have a strict schedule planning the release of all its games, particularly all the Blade & Soul versions besides the original Korean version: China, Japan, Taiwan and Russia. Maybe the studio jumped the gun and revealed the US and Europe versions a bit too soon and are now trying to get all the others out of the door first, for some reason. We’re just speculating, of course, but if this was actually the case, they could at least give an update for the millions of Western players who have been drooling all over the game’s videos for the last couple of years. Or just go the drastic way and tell us once and for all that the studio decided to cancel the game. We’ve heard somewhere that a puppy dies each day that goes by without a single update on Blade & Soul.


Every year it’s the same talk and 2015 is no exception: “Blade & Soul will launch this year”. But if we get no news on it during 2015 then we’re calling it quits. It’s been over two years since the last update on the official US site and eagerly players deserve to know what is going on. Maybe it’s a question of timing, maybe it’s a combination of several factors, but it’s just too long to be left in the dark for such a game. We’re willing to hold on for 2015 but we highly doubt that the hype surrounding the game will endure another entire year of a whole lot of nothing.

If you like Blade & Soul, you can always keep an eye out for similar Eastern MMO games such as Revelation, Moonlight Blade or Legend of Condor Heroes: Zero. Who knows, maybe these will actually get a release in the West… and a publisher that actually cares.


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  • Chakracat

    100% agree. They could at least say “hey, you’re not getting the game anymore”. Like holy shit, it doesn’t even take 10 minutes to write a formal cancellation notice.

    Sadly enough, I can’t find myself to lose hope on BnS. If I do lose hope, I will fail to find games in which I can hype. Honestly, I can’t hype a lot of games. I’m being extremely cautious of Black Desert after Archeage’s disastrous launch and extremely greedy “f2p” model.

    Will we ever see an English version of BnS?

    Probably not, but it’s always nice to stay optimistic.

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    • freemmostation

      Not too long, did read :)

      I think it’s gonna be a good couple of years. Black Desert, Lost Ark, Lineage Eternal, Peria Chronicles, Tree of Savior…

      But I’m still going to wait for B&S for one more year, they either cancel it this year or go for beta, it’s getting too damn late :)

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  • ThisisTheTruth

    Waiting for Maplestory 2. I will never play this game, they teased us for so many years that we might just have to forget this game indefinitely.

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    • freemmostation

      Give it one more year, and then I’ll agree with you, we’ll give up :)

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  • NotInterestedAnymore

    I don’t care about Blade and Soul anymore. It’s been too long of a wait for me. Sometimes you just have to let go. There are better games coming out anyway.

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    • freemmostation

      After an underwhelming 2014 (to put it nicely), 2015 and 2016 should be something special.

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  • heaves

    I’m sure revalation will come to west before B&S does so I already gave up on this game, waiting for MS2 and TOS atm

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  • Atonal

    Well to keep it short, it’s cause they’re scared. The NA/EU market is really fickle when it comes to online gaming. Of course, it doesn’t help that by the time they release a “triple A” mmo, there’s different versions of it already sprouting everywhere that it just saturates the market. Also, they look at the numbers and don’t see a lot of growth, but fail to see that the games that are in the current market are mostly “filler copy/paste” games that we’ve seen over years with little to no actual progress. Tera is doing well, because there’s really not a whole lot that you can compare Tera to exactly. Sort of like Mabinogi.

    Also, they keep failing to see that you can’t treat NA/EU audience the same way you treat asian players. Most of us in NA/EU don’t have a lot of time, and gaming isn’t really our source of income. We have little time, and rely on reviewers, friends, etc to see what game we should devote our time and money to. If you can’t attract us from the first try, we’ll usually give up on it. This is especially true for the newer generations. Lineage does well, because it’s fairly polished and it has quite the size of a fanbase like Ragnarok Online. It was also one of the first games to bring in things massive boss battles, aoe skills/auto attacks, etc. Honestly, we all know a lot of P2P games failed, not because the game was bad, but because the management failed. I mean come on, who in their right minds though adding a cash shop on top of a P2P was a good idea?

    TL:DR Company is too scared and focused on making money RIGHT NOW, than promote a long, healthy game like Lineage, etc. Let’s face it, management was way better back than.

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    • freemmostation

      I agree with you. Having Blade & Soul all over the place makes it harder for an hypothetical Western version to grab a decent playerbase. Could do it though, depends on marketing (which isn’t going too well at all.)

      However, they lost a big opportunity of making a ton of money if they had released it in 2013 as expected. Now it’s probably too late for it to be a huge success, but I believe it would still do well in 2015, late as it is.

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