Medieval skydiving is not even the weirdest thing Crimson Desert crammed into this exhaustive new trailer

Singleplayer open world adventure Crimson Desert, by the developers of MMO Black Desert, reemerged after a long period of silence with a new gameplay trailer at Gamescom Opening Night Live today. It was quite the reintroduction to a game we didn't yet know much about because based on that whirlwind trailer it appears that Crimson Desert is a action game with *checks notes* everything?

The new trailer "portrays the story of the main protagonist, Kliff, who is investigating events that transpire in the region of Hernand and embarking on a journey of exploration through a vast open world," Pearl Abyss says in a press release today. "Crimson Desert depicts the story of mercenaries fighting for survival on the expansive continent of Pywel."

It's a brightly colored world with lovely lighting and uncannily pretty characters, which is no surprise for anyone that's passingly aware of Black Desert. What did surprise me was just how much the trailer felt like an exhaustive bullet list of features. And not (necessarily) in a bad way.

Things I'll be doing in Crimson Desert, based on this trailer:

  • A lot of kicking enemies' legs out from under them and grappling
  • Toppling entire watchtowers
  • Horse combat
  • So much more horsing around, including horse taming
  • Taking notice board quests, including sheep retrieval service
  • Grand theft horse carts with a crime awareness system à la GTA
  • Fishing, obviously
  • Petting dogs and holding cats, more obviously
  • Playing pied piper to a bunch of tiny black blob creatures
  • Riding in a hot air balloon, for some reason
  • Climbing buildings (and trees) Assassin's Creed style
  • Straight up pole vaulting over fortress walls
  • Climbing all over big bosses in Dragon's Dogma style
  • Skydiving, perhaps from those hot air balloons?

That's a long list already and I feel I may have even overlooked a couple features. Some are stock-standard RPG stuff, sure, like quests taken from notice boards and its third-person action combat that looks quite technique-heavy.

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

But the fact that it's jamming together a Rockstar-like vehicle theft system, quite a bit of climbing and verticality, lots of horse mechanics, and climbable bosses is, frankly, a lot. I'm reminded of watching the Craftopia trailer for the first time and thinking they couldn't possibly cram a single other idea into the thing.

This is one I've been quite eager to hear more about and though I'm wary of the apparent kitchen sink approach to game features, I'm still feeling quite psyched. Black Desert eased some of the malaise I've felt over hotbar combat in MMOs for a long time and it remains ridiculously good-looking. The only thing that's kept me away from it is how management-intense of an MMO it is, which I can't imagine will come into play in this singleplayer action game. I suppose I shouldn't say that out loud though, lest Pearl Abyss hear me and decide to put in its node supply management system into Crimson Desert as a personal attack.

There's still no release date attached to Crimson Desert yet—not since it was delayed from its initial 2021 window, that is—though Pearl Abyss says it is planning on a simultaneous global launch on PC and consoles.

You can catch everything else you may have missed in our roundup of Gamescom Opening Night Live announcements from this year.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.