When it comes to making MMOs these days we don't see them nearly as often as we used to. During the mid-to-late aughts, there were MMORPGs and hybrid MMOs coming out or being announced almost every other month. The genre, led by World of Warcraft, was freaking huge at one point. However, some regulatory changes in South Korea really hampered development for a while, and we didn't see as many MMOs being made as we used to. Bandai Namco wants to change the landscape on home consoles regarding MMORPGs, and the company has announced that it's first big title for consoles will be Bless Unleashed.
In a recent press release, Bandai Namco confirmed that Bless Unleashed would be the first MMORPG published for home consoles starting in 2019. The game is powered by the Unreal Engine 4 and is based around being a fast-paced hack-and-slash online RPG for the Xbox One and PS4.
Round 8 Studio, a subsidiary under the Neowiz publishing brand, is handling the development of the console port, where gamers will attempt to utilize the character creator to sculpt a hero, team up with other players for PvE adventures, and get strong enough to engage in PvP competitions eventually.
The story for Bless Unleashed, as outlined over on the Xbox News site, centers around gods and humans having once coexisted together but a disaster created enmity between the two. One of the gods, a Mad Mistress named Lumenas, now holds humans in contempt and after gathering her forces, she decides to make one last push to wipe humanity from the Earth. You'll need to gather up your party, get strong, level-up, loot equipment, and defeat monsters on your journey to finally overthrowing the Mad Mistress.
This is a modified and different version of Neowiz's Bless Online, which was actually announced way back in 2011. It was one of the hack-and-slash style MMORPGs that was categorized as a non-targeting MMO, which was popular back during that time. Various games like Vindictus and TERA Online had made the non-targeting mechanic a popular staple in MMO games, which was a stark move away from what's known as "Tab-targeting," a common way of navigating MMOs since the heyday of World of Warcraft.
However, the old Bless Online was running on the Unreal Engine 3, not the Unreal Engine 4, and it seemed to have a very bumpy journey on the road of development, especially after publisher Aeria Games dropped the title last year.
It appears Bandai Namco sees some potential in the brand, and have taken an opportunity to have a separate version of the game made for home consoles. As noted over on the Steam page, Bless Online and Bless Unleashed are two separate projects set within the same universe (and obviously so given the fact both are running on two different game engines).
According to NeoWiz, the team currently working on Bless Online for PC is separate from the studio handling the console version of Bless Unleashed. We'll see how well that all turns out when Bandai Namco publishes the console game in 2019.