Paragon: The Overprime Project Director: “The biggest challenge is to make sure that the game is loved by both sides of players”
Netmarble’s Paragon: The Overprime is a third-person, 3D MOBA title developed as a direct off-shoot of Epic Games’ Paragon. Epic Games entered the hotly-contested MOBA market with the original game back in 2016, but did not see the growth it expected from the title — choosing to focus on Fortnite instead from then on.
Two years thereafter, the company announced the cancellation of Paragon’s development, which meant that the game never saw a full release. The servers then shut down on April 2018. Then, in 2022, Netmarble announced their own third-person MOBA titled Overprime, which then evolved into Paragon: The Overprime after Epic Games granted them the rights to all of Paragon’s assets.
This meant that Netmarble was now in charge of reviving Paragon, a task that they continue to work towards to this day. We got a chance to talk to Choi Yong-Hoon, the game’s project director, regarding the game’s history, legacy, and their plans for the present and the near future.
What is the story of the title change from Overprime to Paragon: The Overprime?
When our team set the ultimate goal for Overprime, our primary focus was to bring the game we had the most fun playing, Paragon, to as many people as possible who hadn’t yet experienced it, and to grow the impact of Paragon. Because we were developing with this goal in mind, the Paragon title became even more special to us.
We knew that licensing the title would play an important role in bringing the IP to a wider audience and telling the story of the various heroes and stories within the universe, so we approached Epic Games about licensing the IP, and they agreed with our goals and vision. Thus, Epic Games licensed the IP with no strings attached.
We look forward to sharing more about the behind-the-scenes story at a later date.
Is the team receiving any guidance from Epic Games regarding the creative direction of the game? Or have you been granted complete creative control on Paragon: The Overprime?
While we got assigned the title license for Paragon, we have not received any creative direction from Epic Games. As mentioned above, Epic Games agreed with our goals and visions for the game, which led to us obtaining rights to Paragon and its creative assets.
Our development team feels that the only way to repay Epic Games for their support of our direction is to make the ‘Paragon’ IP reach more players, and in doing so, make ‘Paragon’ itself a success.
What are the biggest challenges the development team has faced so far, especially given the legacy of Paragon itself?
For our team, the biggest challenge is to make sure that the game is loved by both sides of players – those of whom played the previous Paragon as well as the other side of players who are new to Paragon. We expected the current generation of Paragon players to interact positively with previous Paragon players via their favorite game, and we wanted to make sure that new players would see it as a trendy game.
However, we realize that the new Paragon may be a bit “new” for players who played the previous one, and we believe that our most important task is to create an appropriate environment where new Paragon fans and previous Paragon fans can mingle together.
Speaking of legacy, it seems that a lot of legacy Paragon players are a bit disappointed with the direction and balance of Paragon: The Overprime compared to when the game was handled by Epic. What lessons have you learned from such feedback?
Since before Early Access, we’ve received feedback from players who played the previous Paragon, as well as many others who have played Paragon: The Overprime. Our team values each and every one of them, and we’re constantly discussing and testing the feedback internally.
There’s no doubt that the previous Paragon was a great game, and we believe our mission is to create an environment where every player who touches Paragon can have a harmonious and enjoyable experience. To accomplish this mission, we are constantly iterating and validating play data, and we believe we are getting better over time.
There’s one thing I want to promise you: that is that we will continue to develop Paragon to the best of our ability to ensure that it is a game that satisfies all of the players who have given us feedback.
How does the team intend to bridge the gap between legacy players and newcomers?
We believe that matchmaking is a very important aspect of a team-based PvP game, and if you don’t take into account the gap between existing and new players, you can lose both sides. Since the start of Early Access, we’ve been thinking deeply about how we can bridge the gap between players, and with the support of our publisher, Netmarble, we’ve been exploring ways to make matchmaking more sophisticated.
Today, we analyze player factors that affect matches and incorporate them into our matchmaking system to ensure that players of similar skill levels are matched as closely as possible. We know that this system will need to become more sophisticated as the number of players increases, so we promise to continue to improve it, and we are also preparing various programs to ensure that new players are fully aware of how the game works and can participate in matches.
Will the game focus entirely on PvP, or are there plans for PvE content in the future?
From the previous Paragon to today’s Paragon, the focus of the game will always be on PvP, as Paragon is a team based MOBA game where players interact to create unpredictable variables and enjoy the process.
That said, we’re open to many possibilities for Paragon. We are working hard to make sure that players can enjoy a variety of game experiences. For example, we already have systems in place and are continuously testing the possibility of introducing PvP and PvE modes for casual play.
Currently, there seems to be a small competitive scene in South Korea. Are there plans in the future to develop Paragon: The Overprime as an esport title?
Evolving Paragon as an esports title is one of our major goals. We are looking forward to hosting an esports tournament with a festival-like atmosphere that will bring together a large number of Paragon players from around the world. We would like to invite all players and Paragon lovers to Korea to create unforgettable memories.
How much of the game’s lore and characters are you aiming to flesh out?
We’re gearing up for the all-new cinematic trailer for Paragon to be released in the near future. The new cinematic tells the story of how Twinblast, one of the heroes of Paragon, came to have a robotic arm, and we plan to tell the backstories of many other Paragon heroes in future cinematics.
To mention briefly, the story of Paragon that will be told in the upcoming cinematic video will include many things that numbers of players have been curious about since the original title, such as the stories of how the heroes joined the battlefield and the mythical beings.
Is crossplay between PC and console in the works? What will be the differences between the two versions, if any?
All content will be equally available on PC and console at the same time, and crossplay will be supported.
However, we recognize that the disparity between players can impact the experience for all PC and console Paragon players. We are aware that it’s important for all Paragon players to be able to play in a fun environment, so we plan to support cross-play in a timely manner after the console version of Paragon launches.
What is the overall monetization plan for the game?
Our design focuses on skins, emblems, emoticons, and other sub-items that satisfy individual tastes, as well as battle passes that provide entertainment through the game. We will never roll out microtransactions that directly affect the balance of the game.
What are the dev team’s plans in the near future, say within the next six months?
For the development team, the most important plan in the next six months is to get the game out of Early Access and ready for the official release. While we will be working on optimizing the game experience for players on different platforms, we believe that creating a new game experience for each game is the best value and the path to perfection.
To accomplish this goal, we’ll be trying a variety of in-game changes, including the addition of “hero-specific passives”, which we believe are a key game-changer. There are a number of hero-specific passives that are not yet revealed to players, and we hope to test and release them to players once we get our job done.