Interview

Asymmetrical Horror: NetEase on hitting 100m downloads with Identity V

Asymmetrical Horror: NetEase on hitting 100m downloads with Identity V

While Western audiences are only just getting acquainted with NetEase’s recent release Identity V, players in China have been ahead of the curve by a good month.

Like all good horror flicks, a building sense of suspense has led to a good pay off.

Following a download haul in China to the tune of 50 million the figure has since doubled to 100 million following Identity V’s global launch.

To top things off, 10 million players are currently tuning in each day to get their fix of fight or fright.

Gameplay revolves around a four versus one asymmetrical multiplayer system that pits a hunter against a four-person team of survivors. The hunter's goal is to capture the survivors while the latter look for clues to find an escape.

Some keener horror games fans may get a sneaking sense of Behaviour Digital’s 2016 PS4 title Dead by Daylight from the design, and it’s an intentional nod.

The two reached an agreement to incorporate the featured system in May of this year, with Behaviour’s game director Mathieu Côté and Dead by Daylight product manager Alex Lin coming onboard the project as gameplay advisors.

Following the games early buzz we took the opportunity to chat to product manager Sylar Pan (pictured, main) and game designer Qi Chen about design, expectations and horror.

PocketGamer.biz: Identity V has enjoyed some success in China already, how do you reflect on the game’s launch?

Sylar Pan: The performance in China has been beyond our expectations. We are happy to see that so many players love to play a game that we designed.

We reached 50m downloads within a month after the game launched in China, while the DAU has exceeded 10m.
Sylar Pan

After the game launched in China, we talked to a lot of players and listened to their feedback, which gave us a lot of inspiration for the global launch.

Any stats or figures you’d be willing to share?

Sylar Pan: We reached 50 million downloads within a month after the game launched in China, while the DAU has exceeded 10 million. We are so proud of the results we’ve achieved.

What are your expectations for the worldwide release?

Sylar Pan: We are hopeful global players will love our game as well.

We localised in-game content based on different countries and will add more local languages into the game in the future.

What aspects of the horror genre did you most enjoy exploring?

Qi Chen: The exciting and thrilling experience is the aspect we wanted to highlight.

That feeling that you never know what is there hiding behind you in the unknown is the feeling we want to deliver.
Qi Chen

That feeling that you never know what is there hiding behind you in the unknown is the feeling we want to deliver. Fear always springs from the unknown.

How much inspiration did you take from Dead by Daylight?

Qi Chen: Asymmetrical competitive gameplay is the inspiration we got from Dead by Daylight, we partnered with Behaviour Digital to incorporate the gameplay of Dead by Daylight into Identity V.

It’s a brand-new competition mode and has been well received in China since we introduced it to players, it helped us break through the MOBA and battle royale games that were dominating the mobile game rankings.

3D visuals can often prove a challenge in regards to controls, how did you go about making a satisfying control scheme?

Qi Chen: Control design is always something we pay a lot of attention to.

We’re continuously adjusting it accordingly based on player feedback and internal testing.

Why do you think these real-time 3D multiplayer experiences are becoming more popular on mobile? These are different from the titles that were traditionally expected to be successful on the platform.

We believe 3D effects bring great visual experiences and a more immersive experience.
Sylar Pan

Sylar Pan: We’ve noticed 3D effects becoming more mainstream for mobile games.

We believe 3D effects bring great visual experiences and a more immersive experience, which is quite important to us.

Was there anything you wanted to do in Identity V but couldn’t?

Sylar Pan: No, mobile technology is growing and expanding quickly.

We kept our vision for the game focused and managed to implement what we set out to do.

What’s next for Identity V?

Sylar Pan: Our current goal is to do more global publishing and adjust our future development path accordingly based on the results after launch.

Staff Writer

Iain is a freelance writer based in Scotland with a penchant for indies and all things Nintendo. Alongside PocketGamer.Biz, he has also appeared in Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, PCGamesN and VG24/7.

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