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This mini-series of articles introduces you to some of the team working on the Western release of Blade & Soul. For Part Four we meet with Producer, Nicolas Coutant and Brand Manager, Julianne Harty

Blade and Soul Meet the Team - Part Four

Blade & Soul continue our series that introduces you to the team working on bringing Blade & Soul to the west.

If you'd like to catch up on some of the team members we've already met, you can read part one, part two, and part three at their respective links.

For Part Four, we meet with Nicolas Coutant our Producer and Julianne Hartly, our Brand Manager. You've already seen Nico and Julianne on the Blade & Soul Livestreams, but now's the chance to get to know them a little better!

Blade and Soul Meet the Team - Part Four

How Can I Get Blade & Soul Gold?
If You Need blade And Soul Gold,You Can Visit BLADE-SOUL.COM


Who are you and what do you do for Blade & Soul?
My name is Nicolas Coutant and I am the NCSOFT West Producer for Blade & Soul.

Tell us something unique about your role and why you enjoy it.
I can play my favourite MMO and call it work. I think that covers both uniqueness and enjoyment.

What sort of things do you do on a regular day in your role?
Meetings, lot of meetings. I’ve met so many people since I started this job. I am a communication hub between most of the teams so I spend quite some time on email and IM, when I’m not busy making schedules and updating documents. I also like to hang out on the QA server to do wacky things or solo some dungeons.

How did you first get into the games industry?
I have been a gamer since age 3 so for me it was a natural career path. As most people will tell you, getting into the games industry is not easy, unless you are willing to start at the very bottom of the ladder and slave away for a few years. Which is exactly what I did, I started as a Game Master during the LOTRO beta, while still interviewing for a few game companies in the process. I was lucky enough to land a job at NCSOFT Europe as a Community Manager a few months later. Since then, I have worked in QA and finally Production, rounding up my experience as a Producer. To have worked in so many different departments is really helping me in my day-to-day tasks, not only for efficient communication but also to understand and anticipate the requirements from other teams.

Tell us about an interesting or amusing thing that has happened whilst working on Blade & Soul.
Seeing the reaction of people who are playing the game for the first time. We’ve had a lot of “firsts” here in the office, and the game invariably exceeds expectations. This is a great sign of good game.

What’s your favourite Race/Class in Blade & Soul?
My favourite Race are the Jin and Class is the Blade Master. I usually like to play fast and agile classes, so the Assassin is also another of my favourite.

What sort of challenges have you encountered working on Blade & Soul?
By far it is the stigma associated to Korean MMOs in general. Most people will dismiss the game before even looking at it, because they automatically assume it’s going to be grindy and very hardcore. But once they actually get hands-on experience, their prejudices are shattered and they usually are blown away by the game.

What are you looking forward to doing most in Blade & Soul once it launches in Winter?
Finally experience the story and the game at its fullest! Having played all versions of the game, I always felt I was missing so much because of the language barrier so I’m really looking forward to playing the game in English with large community.

Is there anything you want the Blade & Soul fans out there to know?
That everyone on the team here is very excited to launch this game in the West later this year, and we really want to provide our community with the best Blade & Soul experience that they can have!

How did you first get into the games industry?
When I attended Carnegie Mellon University, I did an entrepreneurship course with a student from the Entertainment Technology Center (i.e. their Game Design program). We developed a cooperative games app together and introduced me to the possibility of actually working in the games industry as opposed to just playing their games. 

I’ve always been a gamer – tabletop & video games – so being able to work on something I love is just amazing.

Tell us about an interesting or amusing thing that has happened whilst working on Blade & Soul.
I’ve visited the Dev Team in Korea a couple of times. The first time I went to visit, I was taken out to a restaurant that was famous for its raw crab! So… I ate the raw crab. The flavour was good, but the texture was eh. The second time around, I was with Mark (our Community Manager) and Nico (our Producer), and we were taken to a family-style restaurant which had raw crab as one of their dishes. Both Mark and Nico refused to try it, looking pained as they stared at the crab, whereas I happily picked up a leg and sucked the meat out to the appreciation of the dev team!

What’s your favourite Race/Class in Blade & Soul?
I started out playing a Yun Forcemaster, but I do have a soft spot for Summoners.

What sort of challenges have you encountered working on Blade & Soul?
There are some really unique challenges here. Balancing the essence of the game while catering to the tastes of a Western audience is one that is a constant challenge. The game is already out in other territories, so some players come to us with an expectation of things that they’ve experienced that may be unique to that particular territory – and so while we talk to a broader audience about what’s cool with the game, we can’t necessarily answer every specific question that’s relevant only to a small group of people that have experienced that one particular feature. 

What are you looking forward to doing most in Blade & Soul once it launches in Winter?
Arena 3v3 PvP!

Is there anything you want the Blade & Soul fans out there to know?
We love your feedback, and while we can’t incorporate everything that has been suggested, we do read everything that comes our way and so does the dev team. The community voice can be very strong.


Who are you and what do you do for Blade & Soul?
I’m Julianne Harty and I’m the Brand Manager for Blade & Soul.

Tell us something unique about your role and why you enjoy it.
I’m one of the Blade & Soul experts on the team, and therefore the hub in which all B&S information comes through – trailers, art assets, obscure lore. I’ve been working on the game for a while now, and I strongly believe that it’s our community that is the most valuable asset, so I also try to engage with and be a part of the community – both as a dev and as a fan.

My role is great because I love to show off the game, and I get excited whenever we can finally tell our fans what’s next.

What sort of things do you do on a regular day in your role?
There is no regular day! I work with Sean to plan CBT & Launch, but currently I’m focusing on creating the content for the website, working with partners to promote Blade & Soul, and starting to plan for what our esports strategies might look like. I’ve got all sorts of ideas to provide some really neat things for our Community, it’s just finding the time to get it done.
 

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