Behind the Scenes: Developing Horror Bosses

October 31, 2023

Heroes of Arkesia,

From the pumpkin-headed Willi-Willi boss in Luterra— formed from the vengeful spirits of fallen soldiers combining into a single entity bent on revenge— to the beautiful and mysterious Countess Ezrebet (who harvests energy from her party guests in the eventual preparation that the ‘beings from the beginning of time’ that she worships descend upon Arkesia), there are dozens, if not hundreds, of unique and horrifying enemies of all types in Lost Ark.

Of all the specially crafted horror bosses in Lost Ark, Akkan is one of the most iconic. Drawing from and combining many classic horror elements along with twists and themes unique to Lost Ark, a monumental amount of work was put into designing the Plague Legion Commander, the Akkan Legion Raid, and the character’s lore and backstory. Join the creators of Akkan at Smilegate RPG for a look behind the scenes at how many different teams worked together to develop a compelling and horrifying enemy. Below you’ll find lore, stories, and quotes directly from the creators of Akkan. Happy Halloween!

Design Team - Creating Akkan

Background & Lore

While always an extremely cunning Demon, Akkan was originally vanquished by Kadan during the Chain War. Later resurrected with the help of Thaemine, he bears a deep hatred for the Sidereals that killed him and seeks revenge.

Akkan is obsessed with living bodies, so he plasters himself with the flesh of living beings. Because the skin is not his and that his powers stemming from the Plague domain, the flesh covering Akkan rots. His obsession led him to devour all life from the endless abyss, and in the process, he destroyed the dark star of Petrania (one of four prominent regions of Petrania). This earned his title as Lord of Kartheon.

But why is Akkan so obsessed with life?

Akkan had an imperfect body from birth. He was born on the edge between life and death. Due to this nature, he elongated his life and earned his powers of decay by hunting his fellow demons for their flesh and blood. His endless devouring of life also allowed him to create life (the undead), which gained Kazeros's attention. Kazeros named Akkan the Lord of Corruption and Decay, and made him a Legion Commander. Akkan is Kazeros' most loyal servant, alongside Brelshaza.

Akkan resurrected Valtan, who was initially killed by Adventurers in Luterra. They are also in a 'Note from a Dear Friend' Card Effect Set together. At first, they were not that close. But upon Valtan's death, Akkan became interested in him as the Lord of Corruption and Decay, not to mention the commander of spirits. Akkan sewed Valtan's torn spirit together to bring him back to life.

Attacks & Weapons

Akkan uses incantations to debuff enemies, creates plague fields (aoe attacks), and can both create and control infected living creatures (humans, plants, animals) to spread disease. For physical attacks, he wields Atlox. Atlox is Akkan’s gigantic scythe. The scythe type weapon is selected for Akkan, as it has life-reaping-reaper motif to it. Alongside Atlox, Akkan wields a Lantern, which is actually Akkan's eye.


Originally, the designers wanted to make him look dry and bony as to symbolize barren/lifeless nature of Akkan. Ironically, Akkan is full of resilient life as he keeps resurrecting even when only a chunk of his body remains on earth. His main color theme is green to represent disease. Because his powers are disease itself, and because he keeps resurrecting, his body is grotesque. His flesh is rotting and pale with nasty green pustules hinting at the disease residing in him. As he was resurrected in an imperfect fashion, his heart is exposed.

Raid Concept

Overall Concept: “The dying city with disease and contamination.”

Ever since Akkan brought Corruption and Decay to the city, the city began to rot. Adventurers journey to this city in order to bring back life to this dying place by defeating Akkan.

Akkan, after recovering his body, seized the city to sacrifice its people as materials needed to resurrect Kazeros. He plans to do this by first flooding the city to spread his disease easily. Akkan also created Red Moon, a vessel to absorb and store energy of humans that are infected with disease. The Red Moon grows larger, and twitches as it collects nutritious energy from the city dwellers.

In Gate 1, the city is being submerged due to Akkan, who is flooding the city so that the disease will spread easily. The floor will continue to submerge during the raid, forcing players to evacuate to safe zones.

In Gate 2 the city is being twisted. The city jail building is floating mid-air as a result. The monsters (once humans) locked behind the bars appear as enemies. The Red Moon, created by Akkan with human sacrifice, now appears at the background.

In Gate 3 (Hard) Akkan summons the execution place, a stage which symbolizes Akkan's insides. The Huge scythe is placed there as a landmark, and the ever growing Red Moon is at the background.

Concept Team - Changing Akkan’s Appearance

One design feat that the concept team needed to accomplish was changing Akkan’s appearance during live service for Lost Ark. Akkan had seen a design change for quality polishing and to fit the combat styles in Legion Raid. Akkan existed in-game from the start (In the Gunner class tutorial), and his story was already developed. Later, when Smilegate RPG was creating the Legion Raid content of Akkan, some of his appearance changed to better fit the developed combat styles, and from a desire to make Akkan look like a “King of Death” in his strongest form. To accomplish this, the team added the following changes:

  • Akkan's Eye was first placed in Atlox, but was later moved to the Lantern.

  • The green them was bright green at first but it seemed too bright and energetic for a King of Death (looked almost magical), thus the green light was toned down.

  • Akkan's exposed heart got emphasized as he was brought back to life again.

  • Overall, Smilegate RPG wanted to make Akkan more 'rotted' but powerful. The first concept looks frail/too zombie-like, while the final version is more well-built.

Server Team - Akkan Horror Stories

"Which one will die first? Server or Legion Commander?"

Generally, when it comes to any Legion Raid Updates, the Smilegate RPG Server Teams are always on alert until the first raid clear occurs. They worry if the server may crash/die due to the Raid, as there are new systems developed for each raid that may impact the servers. Luckily no server crashes or major issues requiring on-spot emergency maintenance have happened so far, including during the recent release of Thaemine in Korea. Still, the Smilegate RPG Server Teams always wait in horror in the case of a “server doomsday” due to major Legion Raid Updates.

The Server Team also takes a crucial role in creating Legion Raids. Interesting combat gimmicks may not have existed if it were not for their hard work. The Akkan Legion Raid has some combat gimmicks that required unprecedented (in Lost Ark) server side developments, which presented horrors and challenges to the Team.

Drowning Gate 1 is known for its time-attack/drown mechanism. While the mechanism brilliantly fits that concept, the system needed for this mechanic was a challenge. There were many issues regarding the timing of water flooding.

The Pillar (infamous mechanic from the last gate) also required new development of course, and also another reason of Server Team's internal horror.

The scariest story was perhaps when the Hidden Sidereal feature was first introduced in Akkan. To make hidden Sidereal cutscenes appear at the right timing while corresponding with certain events was a challenge. This unprecedented development led to major issues that required the Server Team to hardcode some features up until the last minute. The last minute is quite literal — as they stayed up until 5am to fix the issues— an hour away from the update going live in Korea. Of course, the issues were properly handled later to replace the temporary hardcode.

Designing the Soundtracks of Akkan

Below you’ll find stories and quotes directly from Smilegate RPG’s Sound Team, looking into the creation of Akkan's main musical themes. The music captures more than the Legion Commander's concept. Listen and learn how the team developed the iconic soundtrack.

Lord of Degradation Akkan (G2)

You can hear this soundtrack when you first encounter Akkan during the Akkan Legion Raid. As this is the first raid encounter music for Akkan, we wanted to make it as a powerful introduction to highlight the first encounter with Akkan in the raid.

The main internal keywords for this soundtrack are "Lord of Decay, horror, action, grotesque". We were captivated from Akkan, who is the lord of decay and death. Graphic designs of the raid location, Akkan, and his legion army inspired us while making this soundtrack. Akkan's concept that he greedily absorbs beings that he kills for his evil powers was also a huge inspiration for us. We wanted to translate the horror and despair caused by his grotesque twistedness and evil concept into this piece. We did this by adding sounds that resembled desperate screams and cries from Akkan's victims, those who were once human if not for Akkan.

Thus, we completed a song that is both heavy and desperate. The heavy feel was intended to represent Akkan's high position as a Legion Commander, while using 'Bulgarian Choir' technique along with orchestra to create terrible screams of despair.

Plague Legion Commander Akkan (G3)

The first idea that struck the team was a mash of orchestra, Bulgarian Choir, and heavy metal. We felt that heavy metal could embody action-oriented gameplay in a hellfire-ish environment very well, making the whole gameplay more immersive.

Just like 'Lord of Degradation Akkan' soundtrack, we depicted the sound of victims' screams, and Akkan's incantations with Bulgarian Choir along with orchestra to raise the tension. As the music develops to the mid-phase, heavy metal hits hard. The highlight-heavy metal part introduces solid drums and guitar to make the combat more immersive and intense. Heavy metal hits when the area destruction takes place and endless waves of demons arrive to emphasize the tense, scary emotions that the players will feel as they can die in a blink of an eye, if they are not careful.

Lord of Kartheon Akkan (G3 Hardmode Only Phase)

We wanted to not only make this song a boss combat theme, but also represent the players in this soundtrack. This is where players face Akkan for the last time, and Akkan will be in his giant form unlike previous gates. We wanted to depict this sense of gigantic scale in the music. We focused on the grotesqueness of Akkan's giant form, and pressure of facing Akkan in small, enclosed environment. The players, of course, will be at the brink of exhaustion by the time they face Akkan here. While still keeping in mind that we want to depict the intense battle with demon in the music, we wanted to add that feeling that "I" the player is a hero that is defeating the Demon Lord even while cornered.

Thank you for joining us for this special behind the scenes look at Akkan and what Smilegate RPG put into designing the horrifying and iconic enemies in Lost Ark. We hope you enjoyed and have a happy Halloween!