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Pragmata – What We Know

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Pragmata was one of the PlayStation 5 event’s most mysterious titles. For a showcase largely centered around gameplay and real-time representative footage, Pragmata was one of the few outliers. Of the announced release dates, it’s also far off with a 2022 window.

Pragmata’s Basics

Pragmata is coming exclusively to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Steam sometime in 2022. Developed and published by Capcom, it runs on the company’s proprietary RE engine, with a focus on utilizing next-gen hardware’s capabilities. It will use ray-tracing, though, the extent to which it’ll be applied remains a mystery. Considering the trailer makes judicious use of reflections within the puddles and windows of buildings, ray-traced reflections are a safe bet. This would fall in line with the game’s general aesthetic, with reflective surfaces in abundance. 

Pragmata is classified as an action adventure title set in a dystopian near-future world on the moon. The developers aim to provide “deeply profound storytelling”, meaning audiences shouldn’t expect anything to the effect of Vanquish

Capcom aims to establish this next-gen game as one of its core brands moving forward. Further information is set to be revealed in 2021. 

Examining the Trailer

Capcom released an extended cut of the Pragmata trailer after the PlayStation 5 stream, running a minute longer than the original announcement trailer. The trailer’s extended cut provides no new information. It showcases extra landscape shots. There’s also an extended version of the protagonist’s interaction with the young girl prior to being sucked through the moon’s artificial atmospheric bubble. 

The trailer shows a man walking through an abandoned New York City-inspired environment decked out in semi-futuristic space gear. He shoots a canister, which explodes mid-air, leaving behind a flurry of particles. The protagonist is able to use this newly-covered radius to examine holographic images with his visor, leading him toward the trailer’s only other human: the little girl. She’s seen playing with a holographic cat, lending further evidence that its setting heavily involves some sort of time and spatial interaction. 

Soon after meeting the girl, a satellite comes crashing, exposing an artificially crafted atmosphere. They weren’t in New York City. They were in an approximated recreation beneath the moon’s surface. After breaking through the barrier, the protagonist and young girl stand in unison, staring at Earth as the man ends the trailer with these words: “Freedom. Our freedom”. There’s not much else to glean from the trailer other than the assumption that the young girl may follow the protagonist through most of the game, whether as a playable character or an NPC. 

Visual Imperfections

Pragmata was one of the event’s few games showcased in such a way that made it unclear whether it was real-time, pre-rendered, or in-engine. Nothing in the trailer indicated possible gameplay sequences, though, more games have adopted in-game cinematics in recent years. 

Pragmata’s trailer could have been pre-rendered, however, two major imperfections make it difficult to stick by this assertion. The girl’s hair wasn’t impressive in the slightest. Looking at past RE engine titles such as Resident Evil 7, hair rendering was a sticking point. CG renders typically clean up these sorts of flaws. 

Additionally, pause the extended cut trailer at the 44-second mark. The Stardust billboard sports low resolution artwork and text that would look bad even on current-gen hardware. This suggests a possible streaming issue or low quality asset. Pre-rendered trailers would never showcase such low resolution assets. With those two imperfections in mind, Pragmata’s trailer had to be running either in-engine or in real-time. 

With two years until Pragmata’s release, there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding Capcom’s new story-driven title. Whether it succeeds and grows into a core property as the company hopes or fails remains to be seen. 

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