DOKEV
Edge|December 2021
Pearl Abyss on the inspirations behind the unexpected hit of Gamescom
Developer/publisher Pearl Abyss

Format PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series

Origin Korea

Release TBA

Honest-to-goodness surprises are a rare breed in videogames these days, with few announcements not preceded by strong rumours or outright leaks. A clumsy entry on an artist’s public portfolio. A hacked server. A misread embargo. An online storefront jumping the gun. Among the known quantities at Gamescom (including plenty of big hitters), the thrill of the unexpected meant Pearl Abyss’s creature-collecting open-world adventure always had a chance of standing out – all the more so when it looks like this.

Given the, well, familiar nature of your quest, the response from some quarters was predictable, with some suggesting that this is what they’d hoped Pokémon games might look like by now. (If we’re being harsh, the framerate during battle scenes suggests Pearl Abyss is taking one too many cues from Game Freak, though of course this is still work in progress.) But the idea behind DokeV was more straightforward: “It all started with the thought of making a game I could play with my daughter,” lead producer Sangyoung Kim tells us. “After that, I asked myself about all the things I enjoyed when I was young and that naturally led to thoughts of all the fun I had with my pals growing up.”

That explains the focus on the game’s young characters interacting with one another in the debut footage (you can tell Kim’s background in animation and motion capture was a factor in his assignment to a production role), though Pearl Abyss is keen for these social elements not to be misread: DokeV does feature a large open world, but unlike the publisher’s previous games, such as Black Desert Online, it’s not an MMORPG. Rather, these ideas were about making the characters feel more convincing. “I personally got many ideas for animations by observing my daughter and the way she moves,” Kim says.

“My kids would often play by hiding under a blanket and saying, ‘Dad, you can’t see us, right?’” game designer Changkee Nam adds. “You could say things like this were sources of inspiration.”

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