Game

DokeV is more than just a next-gen take on Pokemon

DokeV’s response to Gamescom’s August debut was perhaps predictable. It’s a gorgeous open-world creature-collecting adventure after all, so amid the buzz that followed the first trailer, it was only natural to see some suggesting that they expected Pokémon games to look like this right now. (If we’re being harsh, the framerate during the battle scenes suggests Pearl Abyss took a lot of cues from Game Freak, but of course this is still in production.)

But the idea behind DokeV was simpler: “It all started with the idea of ​​making a game that I could play with my daughter,” says executive producer Sangyoung Kim. “After that, I wondered about all the things I loved when I was younger, and that naturally made me think of all the fun I had growing up with my friends.”

That certainly explains the focus on the game’s teenage characters interacting with each other during the first shoot (you could say Kim’s background in animation and motion capture was a factor in her assignment to a production role). But developer Pearl Abyss doesn’t want these social aspects to be misinterpreted: DokeV has a vast open world, but unlike its predecessors like Black Desert Online, it’s not an MMORPG.

Doke V

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

Instead, these ideas were about making the characters feel more believable. “Following my daughter and her movements, I got a lot of ideas for animations,” says Kim. “Daddy, you can’t see us, can you?’ they used to play,” he adds. “You could say things like that are inspirational.”

This desire for originality extends to the game’s island setting. While the characters are heavily stylized, its world clearly strives for photorealism: there’s a touch of the mysterious valley associated with the combination, but it’s a stunningly beautiful game.

“We put a lot of thought into the philosophy behind the game’s visuals before deciding what to see in the trailer,” says Kim. “At first we tried to give everything an anime look, but we felt that it wasn’t enough to make the game stand out. That’s why we tried to approach things from a completely different angle by incorporating the look of the anime into a realistic setting. The effort to make the game’s background look realistic allowed us to aim for higher quality levels because it gave us a chance to focus on the finer details.”

korean accent

Doke V

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

The world is based on the Korean island of Ulleungdo, with additional elements taken from the Seoul, Busan, and Gyeonggi-do neighborhoods where Kim grew up. “But I didn’t approach the inclusion of Korean culture as a necessity,” she says. “It was more of a product of the many experiences I had growing up in Korea. You see, I don’t have a lot of experience living abroad, so what comes most naturally to me is things found in Korea.”

With its urban spaces and lively K-Pop music, this contemporary-looking place is also steeped in the country’s rich cultural heritage. Hence the side events, including places and kites inspired by traditional Korean architecture, and others that may be new to Western players. “The wooden bird-shaped pole hammered into the ground comes from what is known as ‘Sotdae’, ancient totem poles believed to protect villages from harm,” says Kim.

Doke V

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

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But first, you need to free them. DokeV’s adversary is a company (known simply as The Company) that captures these creatures and forces them into AI chips, powering robots with advanced artificial intelligence. Kim says this is not the scope of the company’s experiments, but its main goal is to release Dokebi using a vacuum cleaner-like device.

advanced warfare

Doke V

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

Unlike Pokémon, the battles will be real-time rather than turn-based. And in DokeV, you take the lead: the Dokebi next to you will be AI-controlled, occasionally weighed, and will unleash their strongest abilities when certain conditions are met.

“We tried having Dokebi at the center of the battles, but it created a feeling of disconnection,” says Kim. “We wanted to make players feel like the protagonists, so we created their own battles.”

Doke V

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

Meanwhile, there are various ways to explore the world, from skateboards to inline skates with umbrellas that work similarly to Link’s glider from Breath Of The Wild. Nam says different transit methods will be better suited to different circumstances: some are designed for getting around, some are designed for combat, for racing events to take part in. “The enthusiasm we got for Alpaca did not go unnoticed!” Adds Nam.

In fact, the ostrich can be one of the safest ways to get around, because an interesting crease to cross is that you risk attracting the wrong kind of attention. DokeV currently has a feature called ‘dream pieces’ (the game’s terminology hasn’t been fully decided yet, Nam explains), which helps you speed up while skating or buys extra glide time while holding your railing. “But every time a piece is used, it alerts patrol drones that will run to your location,” adds Nam. “These are basically the company’s security system, so expect a war.”

Doke V

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

The idea of ​​institutional intervention stifling self-expression is intriguing, but the development team doesn’t seem to hold back: From what we’ve seen so far, DokeV has no shortage of ideas, and Nam and Kim suggest it does. So many things that haven’t been shown yet..

Performance issues aside, it all seems too good to be true, but Kim says the “rock-star enthusiasm” that gave rise to it was a huge morale boost. “We look forward to repaying this support by making the game as fun and exciting as possible,” he says. In other words, they want to be the best. Maybe like no one else.

Forgive us – we couldn’t resist one last flashing reference. Because we may not have another chance. After all, all these obvious comparisons can be quickly forgotten if DokeV can fulfill its ambitions.


For more great visualizations, analytics, and detailed features, you can get the latest issue of Edge magazine at: Journalsdirect today.


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DokeV is more than just a next-gen take on Pokemon

The response to DokeV’s debut at Gamescom this August was, perhaps, predictable. It is, after all, a gorgeous creature-collecting open-world adventure so, among the buzz that followed that first trailer, it was only natural to see 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 certainly 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). Developer Pearl Abyss, though, is keen for these social elements not to be misread: DokeV does feature a large open world, but unlike its previous games, such as Black Desert Online, this is not an MMORPG. 

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)
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?’” adds game designer Changkee Nam. “You could say things like this were sources of inspiration.” 
That desire for authenticity extends to the game’s island setting. While the characters are heavily stylised, its world is evidently striving for photorealism: there’s a touch of the uncanny valley about the combination, but this is a startlingly good-looking game.
“We put a lot of thought into the philosophy behind the game’s visuals before we settled on what you saw in the trailer,” Kim says. “At first, we tried to give everything an anime kind of look, but we felt that wasn’t enough to make the game stand out. So we tried to approach things from an entirely different angle by incorporating the anime look into a realistic environment. The push to make the game’s background appear realistic made it possible for us to pursue higher levels of quality, because it gave us the chance to focus on the finer details.”
Korea highlight

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)
The world is based on the Korean island of Ulleungdo, with additional elements taken from the neighbourhoods in Seoul, Busan and Gyeonggi-do where Kim grew up. “I didn’t approach the inclusion of Korean culture as a must, though,” he says. “It was more a product of the many experiences I had growing up in Korea. You see, I don’t have much experience living abroad, and so the things found in Korea are what came most naturally to me.” 
This contemporary-feeling place, with its urban spaces and upbeat K-Pop soundtrack, is also steeped in the country’s rich cultural heritage. Hence the places inspired by traditional Korean architecture, and side activities including kite-flying and others that may be new to western players. “The bird-shaped wooden pole hammered into the ground comes from what are known as ‘Sotdae,’ which are totems of old believed to safeguard villages from harm,” Kim says. 

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)
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First, however, you need to free them. The antagonist of DokeV is a corporation (known simply as the Company) that has captured these creatures and forced them nto AI chips, powering robots with advanced artificial intelligence. That, Kim says, is not the extent of the Company’s experiments, but your main goal is to liberate the Dokebi, using a device akin to a vacuum cleaner. 
Combat evolved

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)
Unlike in Pokémon, battles won’t be turn-based but fought in real time. And in DokeV you take the lead: the Dokebi on your side will be AI-controlled, weighing in occasionally, and, when certain conditions are met, unleashing their most powerful abilities. 
“We experimented with having the Dokebi at the centre of battles, but doing so created quite a sense of detachment,” Kim says. “We really wanted to make players feel as if they were the protagonist, so that’s why we designed battles to be fought by the players themselves.” 

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)
In between, you have a variety of ways to explore the world, from skateboards to inline skates, with umbrellas functioning in a similar way to Link’s glider in Breath Of The Wild. Different methods of traversal will be better suited to different circumstances, Nam says: some are designed for getting around, others for combat, with racing activities to take part in besides. “The enthusiasm we received for the alpaca did not go unnoticed!” Nam adds. 
Indeed, the camelid might be one of the safer ways to get around, since an interesting wrinkle to traversal is that you risk attracting the wrong kind of attention. DokeV currently has a resource called ‘dream fragments’ (the in-game terminology hasn’t been fully decided yet, Nam explains) which help you pull off a boost while you’re skateboarding or gain extra gliding time while clutching your umbrella. “But every time a fragment is used, it alerts patrol drones who will rush to your location,” Nam adds. “These are basically the Company’s security system, so expect a battle.”

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)
The idea of corporate interference stifling self-expression is an intriguing one, though the development team doesn’t appear to have been held back at all: from what we’ve seen so far, DokeV is hardly short of ideas, and Nam and Kim suggest there’s plenty that hasn’t been shown yet. 
Performance issues aside, it all seems a little too good to be true, though Kim says the “rockstar enthusiasm” that greeted its reveal was a big morale booster. “We look forward to repaying this support by making the game as fun and exciting as we can,” he says. In other words, they want to be the very best. Perhaps like no one ever was. 
Forgive us – we couldn’t resist getting in one last winking reference. Not least because we might not get another chance. After all, if DokeV can deliver on its ambitions, all those obvious comparisons could be quickly forgotten.
For more fantastic previews, reviews, and in-depth features, you can pick up the latest issue of Edge magazine from Magazinesdirect today. 

#DokeV #nextgen #Pokemon


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