The developers behind PUBG: Battlegrounds, Krafton Inc., just announced active development on an untitled video game project based on a popular Korean fantasy series called The Bird That Drinks Tears. Though we don’t have many details at this point, Krafton launched a largely nondescript official website for the game, still bearing “unannounced project” in the web address and a titleholder “GAME” on the actual site. However, the website provides a large amount of detail regarding the novel itself and the direct inspiration it will have on the game’s development.
According to the official website, The Bird That Drinks Tears is a “best-selling fantasy novel written by renowned Korean novelist Yeongdo Lee” that has been “loved and celebrated for over 20 years.” Initially released and serialized online (as all of Yeongdo Lee’s works), the 4-book series revolves around a fictional world and its four races; disregarding the tropes of Western fantasy like elves and dragons, The Bird That Drinks Tears employs typically Korean concepts like the dokkaebi and a type of folk wrestling called ssireum, likely making the video game setting a very different place than audiences may be used to. As such, three of these four races dwell on the world’s Northern half, including the Rekkon, a race of giant bird warriors; the Tokebi (dokkaebi), based on traditional Korean goblins; and humans, which are – y’know – human. The Nhaga reside in the Southern half’s tropical jungles, being a cold-blooded reptilian race and having established their foothold in the South through an ancient prior war.
With even fewer details, the story itself will follow a human named Kagan as he survives “by eating raw Nhaga out of vengeance,” apparently “due to a certain incident with the Nhaga.” Based on some identifiable bare-bones, a fellowship must be founded to rescue a “collaborator” with the Nhaga – now in danger because they discovered a secret Nhaga plot that threatens the other races. Of this party, Kagan is the “pathfinder,” and will most likely be joined by a Tokebi as a “magician” and a Rekkon that wants to be the “defeater.” Clearly, there are specific trade-offs to each of the races, so we may see Skyrim-like character customization, allowing players different powers and abilities depending on their selected race.
Riding on the gifted imagination of Yeongdo Lee, Krafton has recruited Iain McCaig to “help bring the novel to life.” For the uninitiated, McCaig is a renowned concept artist who has worked on early characters for Star Wars, The Avengers, Harry Potter, and The Terminator franchise. Guided by Lee’s work and McCaig’s talent for complex, eye-catching characters, Krafton desires to create as faithful a world to The Bird That Drinks Tears as possible, and, from the looks of that concept art, they’re doing a spectacular job.