Black Desert (Korean: 검은사막) is an upcoming sandbox-oriented massively multiplayer online role-playing game by Korean video game developer Pearl Abyss The game has been in development since 2010, and entered closed beta testing (CBT) in October 2013. The game uses Pearl Abyss' own "Black Desert" engine specifically created to handle the fast rendering required for its seamless world and large-scale castle sieges. Black Desert uses a free-to-play model although no further details of the business model or revenue generation have been announced. It will initially be released on the Microsoft Windows platform, and Jaemin Youn, Pearl Abyss' Chief Operations Officer, has announced that the developer has begun talks with Sony Computer Entertainment regarding a version for the PlayStation 4.
Black Desert takes place in a high fantasy setting and revolves around the conflict between two rival nations, the Republic of Calpheon and the Kingdom of Valencia.
The game includes a number of features to assist with immersion and the sandbox aspect. These include:
- A parkour system, similar to that seen in Prince of Persia and Assassin's Creed, allowing players to climb, explore and interact with buildings and obstacles.
- A dynamic, worldwide weather system which will include large scale events such as typhoons and will influence gameplay. Localized weather will include events such as temporary fog which players may exploit to launch surprise attacks on rival guild structures. Seasonal weather changes or travelling to areas with different climates will require the player to adjust their equipment, for example using warmer clothing in cold weather which also impacts on a player's statistics.
- A dynamic day/night cycle with a gradual progression of lighting effects. During the night some NPCs will become unavailable as they return home while the number and type of monsters that a player may encounter will increase. Different game content will be available depending upon whether it is night or day.
- Player housing will be instanced and will vary from tents through to more substantial houses and buildings. Players will be able to furnish and equip their housing and may hire NPCs to set up as traders from the building.
- An active combat system requiring precise manual aiming, dodging & comboing, unlike the tab-targeting system seen in older MMORPGs.
- Players will be able to engage in mounted combat. Mounts are acquired by taming in the wild and players are able to breed special mounts by mating certain types. Mounts require feeding and care, cannot be stored in the inventory, and may be killed.
- Extremely detailed customization of the character's body.