In the wake of a boring Xbox Gamescon presentation featuring a documentary about everyone’s favorite topic, trebuchets, Geoff Keighley took over with a much more exciting and applicable presentation. During his event, Keighley showcased several video game reveals including the launch date for Halo Infinite and a trailer for the next Saint’s Row. Yet none of these, or any other reveal, could topple DokeV’s brilliance, at least according to video game Twitter.
Fans at Opening Night Live watched the future of video games with a slight smile before their jaws dropped in pure amazement at the bizarre world of DokeV. The game that features skateboarding, monster-fighting, and adorable characters was a shock to everyone, but even more shocking was the black hole it seemed to come from. Randomly, in a world full of leaks, an unrecognizable developer releases a trailer that quickly captures the hearts and minds of gamers. In short, it made us feel like rockstars. So everyone is in withdrawal from DokeV’s surprising dopamine hit, but what is it and where did it come from? Let’s start with the gameplay trailer.
What the Heck is Happening on Our Screens?
That’s what most people asked when DokeV embraced our screens, not out of disgust, but gleeful curiosity. There are many kids playing in a hyper-realistic world that might as well belong on a PlayStation 6, so much so that the Pixar-looking characters don’t seem at home in such a breathtaking setting. The trailer quickly piqued our interest for the sheer variety of scenarios it introduced to us. A kid rides a bicycle in a brilliantly animated sequence while another rides a jet-boosted skateboard.
At first, DokeV seems like an exploration game with fancy avenues of travel, but it transitions into several combat encounters, which bombard the screen with countless characters, particles, and colors. Among the craziness, one kid is riding a bouncing ball and using it to crush a rainbow-colored monster, while another is fighting alongside a panda wearing boxing gloves. The next thing we know, someone is riding a llama. No joke. In three minutes, we’re completely captivated, but also completely befuddled by the wacky adventure.
The alluring game is described by some as a cross between Pokémon and Monster Hunter. Whatever it is, DokeV seemed to come out of nowhere and suddenly become the surprising MVP at Gamescon Opening Night Live. In reality, though, the game and its developer have some history that could shed some light on the confusing phenomenon.
Who the heck is Pearl Abyss?
Pearl Abyss isn’t a South Korean studio that just popped up out of nowhere – it has quite a few games in its toolbelt, especially those of the MMO variety. Before further ado, let’s do a brief history lesson, and we promise it won’t be as long or dull as a trebuchet documentary. Kim Daeil and Youn Jaemin, two developers from Hangame and NHN Gaming formed their own studio in 2010, Pearl Abyss, and quickly went to work on their first title, the wildly successful MMORPG Black Desert Online.
The game broke outside of the Korean market and grossed $2 billion in sales, as of 2020. The beautiful and vast world is ever updating to fit the preferences of each region of players, according to Daniel Ahmad, a video game analyst. Its Asian markets adopted the free-to-play model, while its western markets implemented the buy-to-play model. A well-crafted game and solid business strategies enabled the new studio to achieve success and pursue additional projects. These include Black Desert Mobile, and Shadow Arena, a battle royale.
Currently, the studio is developing an ambitious open-world game titled Crimson Desert. With some stunning vistas and medieval fantasy elements, the first trailer had fans stunned. Looking back at this trailer reveals a surprising amount of semblance between it and DokeV. For one, the graphics look too good to be true and secondly, it throws a hodgepodge of mechanics at the viewer in quick succession. Crimson Desert and DokeV share another surprising similarity in that both are not MMO’s but rather open-world action adventures.
Where the Heck did DokeV come from?
Now that we know the history and games behind Pearl Abyss, we must jump to the story behind DokeV. Hopefully, in doing so, we’ll shed some light on the confusing Gamescon announcement. The fantastical game was actually revealed at the Pearl Abyss Connect in 2019 alongside upcoming games like Crimson Desert and Plan 8. At the time, DokeV was advertised as an MMORPG collectible fest for all ages. Besides the switch in genre, the general concept looks to be intact. Several kids, with customizable outfits, race down the city streets to confront a creature, alongside their friendly companions called Dokebi.
Two kids, with their trusty sidekicks, fight an inflatable, construction cone shooting menace. The weird companions seen fighting alongside our heroes, such as the boxing panda mentioned before, are captured Dokebi. The first trailer does a much better job of illustrating the gameplay loop, which is, from what we can gather, an open-world adventure where decked-out kids (players) collect Dokebi and fight alongside them. It comes from MMO roots, but it seems Pearl Abyss is turning a new, action-adventure leaf. However, the presence of several protagonists and heavy customizability still suggests an online component, perhaps cooperative.
What the Heck is the Gameplay Like?
The answers to this question come from developer commentary during the Future Games Show, conveniently organized by GamesRadar. Dokebi collection is at the heart of the adventure, and since these creatures are inspired by Korean folklore, they are truly unique. Even though we’ve seen characters fighting Dokebi, who gain their power from dreams, there are other ways to collect them and eventually fight alongside them. Each Dokebi is unlocked through various storylines, which may prove fascinating due to their dream-like nature. Perhaps DokeV will explore the inner workings of dreams and how they correlate to the mental state of the dreamer.
Furthermore, we need to reach the Dokebi in the first place, which brings us to the clever avenues of transportation we’ve seen thus far. The slew of transportation options includes floating around with an umbrella, riding tiny cars, and swinging across the sky with a magical rope. These expertly animated techniques look like a fun and fast way to explore a brightly colored city. Therefore, they are worthwhile prizes for players who complete challenges. That’s right, the llama won’t be available from the gecko. Players have to work for it.
Alongside mini-games and quests, players will find themselves in combat often. Aside from a confetti-filled trailer, we don’t know much about how this works. The trailer in question promises action-packed encounters that, honestly, suffer from a sluggish framerate. Barring the complaints of frame rate champions, the sheer amount of attacks is enough to entice us. Players can wield a large hammer and stylishly kick a ball into a ravaging creature’s chest. Combat seems to be sectioned off by swirling winds imitating locked-in encounters seen in some turn-based RPGs. Unlike said turn-based combat, the high-flying, colorful antics of DokeV combat look to be far from a tedious endeavor.
Now, hopefully, we have a clear picture of what the heck DokeV actually is. There is only one question that remains: will it look this good at launch? Until that questionable day comes stay tuned to Gaming Instincts via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for more gaming news.