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The First Descendant promises “significant improvements” after beta

Following the success of The First Descendant crossplay beta, Nexon Games outlines the improvements it’s hoping to make before launch.

The First Descendant crossplay beta in September was a rather successful test for the upcoming co-op third-person looter shooter, with developer Nexon Games reporting “almost two million Descendants” taking part in the week-long open beta across all platforms. In a new The First Descendant update from the team, Nexon discusses feedback from players and the various ways it’s looking to improve the game ahead of launch.

Managing to hold a fairly consistent Steam player count of around 40,000 while it was active, The First Descendant beta gave players a good chance to dive into the gorgeous world and experiment with many of The First Descendant characters. Tempted by the adorable ‘bear with a can of coke sitting in a backpack’ beta reward, I found myself joining them and, while competition among the best co-op games on PC is tough right now, I could certainly see the potential here.

There’s a lot of room for improvement, however, something producer Lee Beom-jun recognizes in a lengthy statement shared today, Friday November 10. “The reason we haven’t been able to share more news with you sooner is because we received so much feedback from our Descendants who participated in this test,” he explains.

He notes that many players remarked that the game had “improved a lot since the last Steam beta test, which is incredibly encouraging to the dev team and we’re grateful for that.” However, there was also “just as much feedback about improvements that are needed,” with the most feedback regarding “repetition of missions and underutilization of fields.”

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The team says the open beta “has made us recognize an urgent need to improve the gameplay,” and that “significant improvements to both missions and fields” are top of the team’s list, with a focus on mission quality specifically along with a wider variety of content in the fields and the addition of “necessary features for co-op play and matchmaking support for dungeon missions.”

Among the other specifics highlighted in the report are “a lot of complaints of frustrated players due to the difficulty in obtaining ammunition,” an issue I certainly encountered during some of the longer wave defense missions, where you’d be forced to fall back to a less suitable secondary weapon or venture a long way out to collect ammo drops.

Regarding the revamped grappling hook and parkour abilities, the team reports that “While there was a lot of positive feedback, there were just as many suggestions for more improvement.” I certainly enjoyed the high-mobility options at my disposal, something which has long been key to making games such as Destiny 2 and Warframe stand out above just their core shooting.

The First Descendant beta feedback - Gameplay of a wave defense mission in the looter shooter.

The report notes, however, that “Despite the plentiful feedback on enhancing the action aspect, our dev team is honestly cautious about it because of the balance with the shooter play. Nevertheless,” it continues, “we’re testing several radical features to answer our Descendants’ requests.” It notes that the team will be conducting “several internal tryouts” for these new concepts, and will report back in the future.

The UI and user experience are also highlighted, in conjunction with their effect on long-term play. Lee says he believes that “for looter shooters as a genre, growth elements, motivation to play, and ease of play over a long play time are more important than anything else,” and so the team is hard at work improving the feel of character growth, making it easier for players to use a variety of characters, and ensuring “that players aren’t frustrated by repetitive gameplay.”

“This crossplay beta was an invaluable time for our dev team,” Lee concludes, and says, “We’re still discussing heatedly about our release schedule and future plans, and to implement your feedback for a better quality [game] we are looking at the launch period to be in 2024,” adding, “It’s also heartbreaking for us that we could not deliver the exact date that you have been expecting.”

The First Descendant beta feedback - Screenshot of equipment menus in the loot-based RPG

While we might be waiting a little longer for The First Descendant release date to arrive, the extra polish will almost certainly ensure a more fun game at launch, and with how important the initial weeks and months are for a free-to-play multiplayer game with a long-term view, maximizing its potential at the full release feels like the right move.

For now, then, we’ve got more of the best free Steam games to keep you plenty busy as we look forward to The First Descendant and even more of the best upcoming games in 2023 and beyond.

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