The Girls' Frontline Project: Neural Cloud spinoff game starts its beta testing today! Almost 40 minutes of gameplay was shown in the previous developer stream in addition to a lot of direct reveals about the various non-combat game mechanics, giving players a much more detailed look at Project Neural Cloud's meta game mechanics that weren't previously exposed by the ChinaJoy gameplay demo a few months ago.
Included below is a summary of everything we know about what's in Project Neural Cloud: gameplay details, its character gacha, base development, combat specifics, and much more.
This article will be constantly updated as more information is revealed from the Closed Beta Test (CBT), so stay tuned!
10/27 update: Updated Battle Nodes with more info. Oasis Info is now fully available in Part 2. Corrected information about the raising character rarities as it has now been discovered that the maximum rarity is 6-star.
10/20 update: Fixed the info about limit overcharge and skill loadout, as well as an errata on the name "Sanctifier".
Also, because this is a closed beta, the exact game mechanics, numbers, or even character appearance are not final and subject to change when the game releases for real!
This page was made possible by Xynthexyz who wrote most of the content! Thank you so much for taking the time to compile everything!
All translations are tentative until an official EN release is announced.
Here's the new (but brief) Girls' Frontline: Neural Cloud PV:
Project Neural Cloud’s gameplay happens on a small hexagonal field, where you deploy your units to fight automatically, much like the autochess genre.
The above clip showcases the deployment screen. Every unit has a unique ‘drag’ animation. (Pretty cute, huh)
At the moment, it seems you may bring a maximum of 7 characters into a mission, but only deploy 5 simultaneously in an encounter.
Some tiles have special effects when units start on them:
- Orange tile eliminates the initial cooldown.
- Blue tile prevents the unit from attacking for 1 second, then teleports them to the furthest enemy. This tile only affects melee characters. This is great for letting your DPS access annoying enemies such as healers and snipers.
Once the battle starts, your units will automatically fight as shown below.
Character movement is automated, so strategic initial placement will be important for success!
The characters deployed have an orange special gauge below their HP bar, and when the special gauge is filled, they will automatically activate their special skills. The special gauge charges by itself and special activation does not require any player input.
There are various classes that seem to be broadly categorizable as Healer (asterisk icon), Warrior (axe icon), Defender (shield icon), Control (S-shaped icon, not deployed in the battle but visible on the left side off of the field), and Sniper (reticle icon, not shown in the above clip).
Healers will restore the health of your units and move around as needed, while Defenders are meant to endure incoming damage and take pressure off your squishy DPS units. The starter Defender, Croque, has a skill that can grab enemy aggro (as seen occurring halfway through the above battle).
The only interaction you will have with the field at first is through spending points on Professor Skills. These points are generated at a rate of 2SP/second, and has a maximum storage of 20.
The below clip is part of the tutorial showing a simple direct damage nuke costing 3 points to activate, dealing minor damage to an enemy unit.
Professor Skills costing more points tend to have flashier effects. In the next clip, a 10-point Professor Skill is activated, dealing damage to and stunning all enemies on the field.
This stun can interrupt enemy channels according to the developers; so if an enemy unit starts channeling a powerful skill, it might be a good idea to use this!
Ultimate Skills (Limit Techniques)
The player's team also has an limit gauge that is shared between all characters, visible as a thin blue bar at the right side of the screen.
When this gauge fills up, the player may choose to use a limit technique (or an "ultimate") which will deplete the gauge and play a short (skippable) animated cutscene depending on which character's ultimate is used.
The player can tap on the corresponding character's icon on the right side to activate their ultimate.
Because the entire team shares the same ultimate gauge, the player will have to choose which character's ultimate to activate based on what they need in the current battle.
This gauge carries over between encounters in the same map. In this clip below, the player started with a full ultimate gauge and is able to activate it whenever they want, without needing to wait for it to charge.
The bar can be overcharged to orange; once the meter is fully orange, it supposedly makes the ultimate skill stronger (although no in-game documentation states this or provides information on the overcharge effects). Note that regardless of overcharge state, the gauge fully drains to zero when an ultimate is used.
Savescumming / Retry
The developers acknowledged that players savescummed a lot in Girls' Frontline, so they've decided to officially support retrying a battle at no cost in Project Neural Cloud!
Your units have 5 main stats: max hp, attack, defense, attack speed, and crit rate.
In the below screenshot we can see the five aforementioned stats displayed in that order top-to-bottom.
This also showcases the three skills the character has equipped - from left to right, the passive, active, and ultimate skills. For more information about each character's skill loadout, check out the PNC Character Showcase.
Other stats not shown in this screenshot include crit multiplier, evasion, armor penetration, luck, and post-battle HP recovery.
Fortunately, those stats can be seen in full in the leveling screen shown below.
Characters can gain stats through leveling, which can be done in one of two ways:
- With EXP cards that are awarded through various means including stage clears.
- Small (Blue) EXP tickets are worth 1,000 EXP.
- Medium (Purple) EXP tickets are worth 10,000 EXP.
- Large (Orange) are worth 100,000 EXP.
Gaining EXP from battles, even including the two that did not participate. (Corpse dragging!)
All characters gain the same amount of EXP regardless of contribution.
Not every stat will be raised at each level up. For instance, when leveling up this Control-class doll "Groove" from level 1 to level 5, only Life, Attack, Defense, and Armor Penetration are increased. Attack Speed and Crit Multi remained at their level 1 values.
As a side note, according to the devs, everybody can be raised to the highest rarity tier. (All your waifus can be 6★!)
This is the main screen. You are the "Professor", while your enemies are called Sanctifiers.
The main features are summarized below:
- The three hexagonal icons allow you to enter the oasis. This feature is explained in more detail a bit later. (The Dorm part was unfortunately still in development at the time of the stream so it is not shown.)
- The top of the screen displays commander ID and three currencies. It is currently unknown what these are, but it can be assumed that they are:
- Premium currency (paid currency that can be used for various things)
- Gacha currency (for rolling the character gacha)
- In-game currency (bits, used for in-game upgrade functions, like QP in FGO or LMD in Arknights)
- Bits appear to have a softcap, so it is recommended to spend them as soon as you earn them.
- The mail and setting icons are visible in the top right.
- Below that is a quest banner showing the player what to do next
- The large button with the crossed swords is the combat button.
- Tapping on it opens up stage selection.
- The keys shown on the combat button are this game's stamina.
- The two buttons below that are the doll index and neural search (presumably the doll gacha system)
- The bottom right corner of the screen includes the factory, dorm, and store buttons from left to right.
By clicking the eye icon at the top left of the main screen, the player enters "Photo Mode" where they can take a screenshot or video of their adjutant without the UI. Notably, this scene has a time feature - it'll actually follow a time of day cycle based on the system clock!
Of course, the player can swipe to change the time of day as needed based on their photographic needs, as shown below.
If you've read this far, you might be wondering: why is Project Neural Cloud classified as a "roguelike" on tap.io? That's because you haven't seen the most important part of its gameplay: the combat stages!
Clicking on the combat button will open up a view of the various sectors as shown below.
Each sector contains a number of stages. Stages will cost stamina called ‘Keys’, and they have a first clear bonus as well as possible drops that may be unique to each stage.
Once a stage is selected, you can choose which Dolls to bring with you to this stage. The selection is locked in, and you must choose your deployed dolls from this roster only during the combat encounters.
Clearing battle zones grants Cache credits. These can not be taken out of the stage, so be sure to spend them during the stage when you get a chance to do so.
Clearing nodes will also grant Function Cards that grant various buffs for the rest of the stage. Function Cards can be equipped to a unit of your choosing.
Selecting function cards that synergize with your build will greatly improve your chances of successfully clearing a map.
The above screenshot shows two example function cards:
- Left card: [Warrior Only, increase ASPD] When an allied unit receives damage, gain 15% chance to attack twice during this unit's next attack. When this unit receives damage, the probability is doubled.
- Right card: [Warrior Only, decrease damage taken] After every 3 attacks performed by this unit, add a shield to the allied unit with the lowest HP, reducing their damage taken by 20% for 4 seconds.
If you choose a duplicate card, the card will be upgraded; for example, the left card has already been equipped previously, so choosing it upgrades the multiplier from 10% -> 15% as can be seen in the tooltip.
There are many, many types of function cards that cover enormous possibilities, meaning no two playthroughs of a stage will be the same! Your strategy might have to change significantly from one clear to the next based on what function cards become available.
Before you start a stage, you'll be able to preview the selection of function cards available in that particular stage.
Every ‘stage’ contains procedurally generated zones that can be thought of as a series of random battles, much like a roguelike.
You can choose which zones to tackle based on your current build. While zones are not always battles, the majority of them will be combat encounters and you will eventually have to fight a high number of battles even if you try to avoid them.
A few zone types will be shown below:
Battles are classified as Easy, Medium, Hard, and Boss. You can tap and hold on enemies to see their skills and some lore, which can be quite useful for planning battles.
The Medium node on the left also shows you what function cards are going to drop - in this case, it shows the Control class icon (that is like an S), so the player will know that this node will specifically drop those cards.
The blue node is an exchange (shop) node, while the “?!” is an Anomaly (random event) node.
Exchange (Shop) Zone
This is the Exchange (shop) node, where function cards can be bought with Cache Credits. You may also sell unwanted cards here.
The stock may be refreshed with the orange button on the bottom right. The first refresh is free, though the cost increases by 5 credits for every refresh afterward. Only purple cards are available here.
This zone lets you heal your characters. (If you're at full health, you can also choose to upgrade a function card instead.) There’s always a recovery node before the boss node in normal stages.
The first Function Card upgrade at a recovery node is free while subsequent ones require Cache Credits, starting at 30 and increasing by 30 eachtime. Cards cannot be sold here, so choose wisely.
In this particular example, the player was given the option to choose between:
- restoring 30% of all units' max health
- restoring 80% of the most damaged unit's max health,
Recovery rooms may also show up with options other than the two shown above; they were not showcased during the stream.
Random Event Zone
This zone triggers a random event, which is a fancy way of saying "choose between one of two outcomes".
Here, the options are as follows:
- Option 1: Randomly choose between the following:
- 50% to get 2 function cards
- 50% to get 1 function card, but all members lose 30% hp.
- Option 2: Get 1 function card.
Another example of a random room is shown below:
Here, the options are as follows:
- Option 1: Increase function card limit by +1.
- Option 2: Get 1 function card.
Note: Duplicate Function Cards will not take up additional Card Slots, as it upgrades the existing card. Card limit is 5 by default.
The completely RNG nature of these rooms means you could face many difficult choices in harder stages! Be sure to pick options wisely.
The Vault Zone is an opportunity to gain function cards!
You can use the Cache credits you earn to reroll these function cards. If you really like a card, you can lock it before rerolling.
Note that there's a maximum limit on how much you can reroll this, so even if you have enough credits you can't keep rerolling if you hit the max rerolls.
The developers claim that players can make any composition they want, such as no healer, no DPS, no tank, and so on. These function cards can certainly make those comps possible if you pick them wisely!
Each region has normal stages, hard mode stages, then this endless mode which is meant to give players infinite progression if they wanted to.
- Normal Stages are one-and-done, as you only really want their first clear rewards
- Hard Stages allow the player to farm Algorithms (more on that in Part 2)
- Endless Mode lets players farm skill materials and some EXP cards
The deeper you go in Endless Mode, the more rewards there are.
The first attempt of any uncleared depth doesn’t require stamina. You can keep trying until you clear it for no cost!
You can also directly clear a deeper depth and get all previous floors of rewards in one go.
The developers joked that you can just RNG your way to lots of rewards by rerolling the map, but this might actually be a viable strategy!
Each sector has clear progress and construction progress tracked and they are visible here.
Clear progress is self-explanatory, while construction progress refers to each region's own upgradable buildings that give various buffs.
- Each region has basic facilities that generate two important items, Bitcoin and Hashrate (more on that in Part 2), and also two class-specific facilities.
The building buffs may differ between zones, but an example of the four available buffs is shown below.
- Bit mining: Generate 72 bits/hr
- Calculation analyzer: Generate 36 calculations/hr
- Rebuild Formation - Warrior: Warriors gain 160 max HP
- Amplifier Drive - Sniper: Snipers gain 20 Attack
While the dorm is incomplete, the Oasis System itself thankfully is functional. It has many different structures you can build and level up. They need to be built first then upgraded.
- All equipment production rate increased by 1.0%
- Function Card Limit of 5 during battles
- Construction speed increased by 10%
- Key limit: 100
- Key Regeneration per minute: 0.06
Because keys are stamina, and stamina is required to do anything, it is highly recommended to level up the Key Collect-Port as much as possible first!
- The dev Account has 245 capacity, which could be the maximum. The stages shown in the demo cost 10 keys each, with repeating a level of endless mode costing 30 keys.
- At level 1, 0.06 keys are produced per minute, which is 16 minutes and 40 seconds per key, and 2 hours and 46 minutes 40 seconds for 10 keys.
- At level 2 it’s 0.075 keys/minute, which is 13m20s per key, and 2h13m20s for enough keys to play a stage.
- As you can see, upgrading this as much as possible will be the key (lol) to maximizing your account's progress.
Building (or upgrading) structures consume bits and calculations, both of which are passively generated as well as rewarded as stage drops.
- Upgrading structures will improve their efficiency. For example, upgrading the Key Collect-Port as shown above increases both the maximum key cap and key regeneration per minute, which is extremely important!
Construction is not instant and takes some real-world time to finish.
Quick Construction is possible using an item, which will instantly complete 10 minutes of construction. Multiple tickets can be used to skip a larger span of time.
For more information about the Oasis, check its relevant section in Part 2.
We haven't seen the gacha system in this game yet, but we do have the character acquire animations that were shown when the stage clear reward Dolls were collected.
This is a timeline of Project Neural Cloud.
From left to right:
- 2050: 42LAB cloud server created
- 2055: Project Sanctifier -- Sanctifier Anti-Virus AI
- 2057: Neural Cloud creation
- 2058: Neural Cloud Testing (This is where the game is set. An accident causes the researchers to be trapped within the Cloud.)
- 2060: Neural Cloud Technology reaches maturation
(In the same year, IOP purchases neural cloud technology from 42LAB and applies it to Griffin & Kryuger)
These are the logos of the companies that appear in Project Neural Cloud.
From left to right:
- Svarog Heavy Industries
- Global Everything Services
- Cyber Media
- Ultimate Life (Ultilife)
Remember that Svarog is responsible for Sangvis Capture in GFL. Is this another hint?
Full Demo Footage
- Preview Video - 0:00
- Tutorial - 0:27
- Rechargeable Skills - 1:38
- Ultimate Skill - 2:00
- Main Menu - 2:50
- Node Advancement (Beginner) - 3:19
- Battle (Beginner) - 3:44
- End of Battle Screen - 4:08
- In Battle Buffs - 4:29
- Headquarters - 9:40
- Mail System - 10:35
- Doll info - 10:55
- Adjustable Backgrounds (You can either manually change it, or leave it, it will adjust to your system clock automatically) - 11:15
- Swap to Developer account lol -13:04
- Check Buffs available in selected stage - 14:17
- Node Advancement (Intermediate) - 14:46
- In Battle Buff Nodes - 15:41
- Battle (Intermediate) - 17:20
- Battle Reset - 25:55
- "Data Exploration" System - 28:47
- Chapter "Passive income and buffs" - 30:46
- Neural Cloud Lore Timeline - 31:55
- PNC's Factions - 33:02
- "Oasis Dorm" System (SoonTM) - 34:00
- Game Wallpapers - 35:10
Afterword from Xyn: Personally, I think the devs saw what people didn’t like about GFL and improved upon those points, such as with the savescumming and the additional interactivity.
I trust that the gacha rates will be fair from their track record, and every unit being able to be upgraded to maximum level means people can follow their heart instead of the meta when it comes to choosing a team. My only worry is about the stamina system limiting - closed beta should tell us more about that!
What does everyone think about this game?
I'm pretty excited for it myself even though it's not like a traditional Roguelike, since the procedural stage generation really helps with replayability.
It looks very laid-back and low-stress. A good filler game that won't eat up too much time.
It's just auto chess isn't it? With some roguelike elements.
Why does it look so much like Arknights?
If I remember correctly, the UI designer for Arknights used to work for MICA team before going to work for Hypergryph. So who copied whom exactly?
One thing I'm not sure of is the random element in the stages. It might get frustrating at times if RNG doesn't like you!
Since Neural Cloud is a prequel, the lore aspect of it will be very interesting.
They have a lot of freedom to fill in the gaps without much risk of writing themselves into a corner.
One thing I'm worried about is how Project: Neural Cloud will be received by mainstream players. Autochess genre appeal is still pretty unknown, isn't it?
But then again, who knows? No one can predict when a game goes super viral. I'm sure these titles will be a huge hit when they launch!