Crimson Desert: A Game-Changer in Open World RPGs

Pearl Abyss first announced Crimson Desert back in 2019, unveiling their ambitious upcoming open world action RPG.

Initially conceived as a prequel to Black Desert Online, the game has evolved over the course of development into its own distinct IP while retaining the stunning visual presentation and rewarding combat system Pearl Abyss is known for.

Crimson Desert has also morphed from an MMORPG into more of an ARPG, with a focus on single player experience with multiplayer elements.

Though no firm release date for Crimson Desert has yet been announced, it’s shaping up as mid to late 2024.  We’ll keep you posted. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of everything we know so far about Crimson Desert.

A Vivid Open World Waiting to be Explored

Crimson Desert: An aerial view of a village on a hill, showcasing the game-changing nature of open world RPGs.

Early trailers showcase the expansive open world players can traverse in Crimson Desert. This realm aims to feel vibrant and lived-in, with realistic weather systems and bustling NPC populations bringing its diverse environments to life. Players can venture across sweeping deserts, traverse misty forests dense with wildlife, scale craggy mountain peaks, and explore medieval cities and villages. 

Pearl Abyss has emphasized making the world feel highly interactive, with items to inspect and NPCs engaged in daily routines and activities. Their next-gen engine will render these environments in stunning detail, optimized for the capabilities of modern gaming hardware. Expect Crimson Desert’s world to feel like a real place just waiting to be explored rather than a static backdrop.

An Epic Single Player Campaign  

A picturesque wooden bridge nestled in a serene wooded area.

Unlike Black Desert Online and many multiplayer-focused RPGs, Crimson Desert will emphasize an engaging single player narrative experience.  

Your customized protagonist will embark on an epic campaign spanning 30+ hours as you uncover the secrets of the shattered realm. Pearl Abyss has focused on delivering an impactful story-driven adventure, a marked departure from Black Desert’s narrative.

The world will be populated with diverse NPCs, many with their own unique stories and quests to uncover. Side content will provide plenty of things to do beyond the main saga. Pearl Abyss aims to make the world feel alive with characters who have motivations and backstories rather than just being simple quest dispensers.

Groundbreaking Physical Combat

A man with a sword is standing in a wooded area, showcasing the game-changer

Early combat footage shows Crimson Desert brings striking realism and physicality to its action-centric confrontations. Your customized mercenary can grab, throw, and grapple enemies in addition to traditional dodging, blocking, and weapon-based attacks. The combat engine processes thousands of collision detections per second for both characters and objects, leading to an unprecedented level of interaction between entities.

Dozens of skills can be unlocked and chained together to let you devastate foes with fluid, cinematic combos. But reckless button mashing will lead to quick defeats even against basic enemies. Players will need to learn enemies’ attack patterns and carefully time their dodges and parries rather than mindlessly hacking and slashing through each encounter.

Massive PvP Warfare 

While primarily a single player experience, Crimson Desert will incorporate multiplayer elements including large-scale PvP siege battles. Players can build up a personal army of NPC mercenaries and then deploy them in wars against other players’ forces to conquer territories within the online world. 

These massive battles will showcase the capabilities of Pearl Abyss’ engine as potentially hundreds of characters clash on screen at once. Players can take direct control of their custom mercenary and turn the tide of battle with their martial prowess and leadership. But strategic command of your troops will play a pivotal role in ultimately achieving victory.

Crimson Desert Gameplay Trailer

The recently released Crimson Desert gameplay trailer exhibited significant advancements since its initial unveiling in 2020, presenting viewers with stunning 4K visuals and gameplay footage. The video follows the protagonist, Kliff, as he delves into the mysteries unfolding in the region of ‘Hernand,’ embarking on an adventurous exploration through a vast open world.

One of the major highlights of the trailer is its amazing, at times jaw-dropping graphical quality, showcasing realistic environments and immersive gameplay within sprawling cities and regions.

The interactions with the environment and non-playable characters (NPCs) further enhance the sense of immersion. Additionally, the motion-captured combat and action sequences add a layer of realism, providing players with an enhanced gaming experience.

It features a wide range of combat options, including hand-to-hand combat, wrestling moves, and utilizing various objects in the surroundings against enemies. These combat mechanics are set in Crimson Desert’s rich open world, presenting players with boss fights, duels, and battles against large groups of enemies. The footage emphasizes the exhilarating nature of combat, challenging players to employ diverse tactics to overcome their foes.

It also showcases various engaging activities within the game. Spectacular skydiving, climbing buildings and trees, and overcoming high barriers are just a few examples of the traversal mechanics available to players. Additionally, mini-games such as fishing, arm-wrestling, and taming wild horses provide additional avenues for players to immerse themselves in the seemingly vast world.

Platforms Crimson Desert Will be Available On

Crimson Desert will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Ambitious Scope Leads to Expanded Development

Keywords: Valley, Mountains, River, Image

Revised Description: An image capturing the breathtaking beauty of a valley embraced by majestic mountains and a meandering river.

Pearl Abyss announced in 2021 that Crimson Desert would be delayed indefinitely, forgoing their initial target launch window. Rather than rushing the game out, they decided to take more time to flesh out and refine the experience based on internal feedback. Their goal is to deliver added depth and rewarding progression systems to match Crimson Desert’s ambitious scope.

The expanded development time may frustrate eager fans, but it reflects Pearl Abyss’ commitment to ensuring Crimson Desert lives up to its lofty potential.

Crimson Desert represents a major evolution of the open world action RPG, with its strikingly realistic physics-based combat and detailed interactive world. Pearl Abyss aims to deliver their most immersive and narratively impactful experience yet. As one of the most ambitious RPG projects in development today, Crimson Desert will hopefully prove worth the extended wait when it finally emerges.

Will it live up to the hype (and that incredible trailer)? Time will tell.

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Harriet Gough
Over 20 years' experience as a writer and games journalist. Avid gamer and enjoy a wide range of game genres including MMOs, FPS and RTS. My favorite games include Warframe, Skyrim, Destiny 2, CoD and Age of Empires.

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