DokeV was one of the hottest games that appeared during Gamescom 2021. We reached out to the team behind DokeV for an interview. Representing Pearl Abyss is DokeV Lead Producer Sangyoung Kim and Game Designer Changkee Nam, who graciously answered our questions in this interview.
Why did the game’s direction shift from MMORPG to creature-collecting open world action-adventure game?
Sangyoung: We’ve changed it from an MMO to a creature-collecting open world action-adventure game. We were thinking about the game’s direction and decided our goals for the game would be best manifested as an open world and action-adventure game. So now, it’s set to take place in an open world to allow for different playstyles.
Based on the trailer, the world looks rather hip and modern—can you share with us the design choice or inspiration behind it?
Sangyoung: In the trailer, you will be able to feel Korea’s modernity. I thought that the best way to make a game was to create something familiar to myself. I tried to capture the experiences of living in Busan and visiting the Hanok Village in Seoul, the city I live in, and the park in front of our office, and many other things that are familiar to us and that we observe in our daily life. The game has become even more detailed by capturing landscapes that I see outside the office, including traffic lights and fences.
How big is the world of DokeV and how much of it is accessible to players?
Sangyoung: What you were able to see is only a small part of the open world. Two villages were introduced in the video, including the White Whale Village. I don’t know how to describe the scale, but I think I can tell you that the areas you saw in the video are less than one-tenth the size of the entire island. It’s fun to just go around the open world, and you won’t get bored of its scale.
Changkee: DokeV is basically a single-player game. There will be collaborative content that you can enjoy with other players. As for the number of people in the multiplayer mode, we are still thinking about it and this will be determined as development progresses further.
Can you share a bit of the game’s story? Is it a linear story-based game or will it be a more sandbox-kind of experience?
Sangyoung: DokeV is set in a world where Artificial Intelligence technology is developed. A place called “The Company” is using AI to create android robots. However, the Company is kind of the villian from the perspective of the main character. The reason why AI technology for the android robots is possible is because they catch Dokebi and force them into the AI chips. The Company is up to something through this. The main character, who learns the truth of the Company’s experiment with Dokebi and suppressing them, starts to release the Dokebi from the android robots and plays a role opposing the Company.
Changkee: In order to make the story more immersive, you will have to follow the main storyline at the beginning of the game. But after that, we think it will be important for you to create your own story throughout the game.
Ed. note: Dokebi are the creatures in DokeV that can be collected by the player.
Can you share how players get Dokebi companions? How many Dokebi can players expect to find in the game and will there be any super rare or legendary Dokebi?
Changkee: There are hints related to Dokebi in villages and around the open world. Based on such information, if you meet certain conditions, you can meet a Dokebi while discovering its unique story. There are some Dokebi that are relatively easy to get, and some Dokebi require special conditions, so it will be fun to meet and experience the story of each Dokebi.
To give you a better idea of how the battles against the android robots you saw in the trailer work, I need to explain the concept of Dream Fragments (tentative name) first. They’re a kind of resource, which is used when activating a boost for skateboarding, or jumping while hanging to climb higher with an umbrella.
But every time a Dream Fragment is used, patrol drones of the Company will sense that someone is using it or the power of a Dokebi and will fly over to catch you. These patrol drones are sort of like the Company’s security system, so when this situation occurs, a battle will begin.
There is also a scene in the trailer where a battle was ended by a vaccum cleaner. After defeating the android robot, the player used the vacuum cleaner to save a Dokebi. Details of this part will be revealed later along with a story behind it.
Sangyoung: The Dokebi we’ve shown you so far are just a few of many Dokebi we created. They represent the dreams and passions of people, which is why each Dokebi is a unique and distinctive creature that has its own abilities and moves. We will introduce you to these charming Dokebi one by one in the future.
Some of the Dokebi designs have a modern twist to them—can you share the design philosophy behind the Dokebi?
Changkee: I referred to a lot of Korean folk tales when designing Dokebi. You’ve seen a Dokebi that looks like a pink anteater in the video, but it’s not actually an anteater. It’s based on the concept of “Bulgasari”, an imaginative bear-like creature that eats iron. The large bird flying in the sky is also based on the concept of ‘Eoduksini’, in folk tales it represents darkness.
However, not everything is developed in this way, and there are many elements that I design just out of inspiration. Some of them are not even applied to the game, but I use them for murals, which turn out to be great as they make the game look visually richer.
Are the playable characters only children? Will players have the option of playing as adult characters?
Sangyoung: The children shown in the video are between 11 and 12 years old.
Will there be any character customization? How much freedom can players expect in terms of changing their appearance or fashion?
Changkee: Pearl Abyss has a deep experience and technical expertise in customization. We will be able to reveal more details later. We also plan to allow players to freely customize their fashion as much as they want.
There appear to be rollerblades, skateboard, gliders in the game. Will there be any more types of tools or transportation we can use, perhaps any vehicles?
Changkee: The trailer we showed revealed a lot of options that players can use to get around in the vast world of DokeV. There are skateboards, inline skates, compact cars, and even an umbrella to help you soar the skies. What you saw was only a glimpse of the many transportation vehicles and methods that are available in the game, but there will be more interesting options that allow players to traverse across this magical world.
Can you share more on the side activities players can partake in the game? In the trailer, it seems like players can do all sorts of things, like playing with kites, for example.
Changkee: Since it’s an open world, you can just go about anywhere, really. You’ll be able to freely explore the world with charming Dokebi sidekicks and embark on interesting adventures. You’ll meet new Dokebi, hear the stories of different kinds of people, and help them solve their problems. Also, the world is full of various mini-games and interactions such as fishing and kite flying. I cannot reveal exactly what activities will be available, but we are not trying to put any particular restrictions on it. We try to add as many interesting elements as possible.
In the trailer, we can see a wide variety of weapons. Can you elaborate on the concept or core ideas behind the weapons?
Sangyoung: I came up with these weapons thinking what I used to play with when I was young, and what wouldn’t be so violent. With these thoughts, I started making things like water guns, squeaky hammers, and hopping balls.
The way combat was portrayed in the trailer, with players being able to fight alongside their Dokebi partners, is really fascinating. Will there be a mode or an option in the game where you can fight other players and their Dokebi PvP-style?
Changkee: DokeV is a very flexible game and has an open play style. There will be a single player experience in the main storyline, as well as collaborative multiplayer elements to work with other players. If the player desires, they can tackle a boss monster together with other players. Of course, there will be PvP elements in the game. For those competitive elements, we are developing it with the idea of friendly competition that encourages good sportsmanship. We will come back with more information on this in the future.
Kpop music was featured in the trailer. Can players expect more kpop songs in the game itself?
Sangyoung: It’s not necessarily limited to K-pop, but we’re trying to prepare a variety of exciting and fun soundtracks that go well with the game.
Will DokeV be a premium game or a free to play game?
Sangyoung: Right now, we are concentrating on the game’s development, and we hope to share more on this later.
What platform will DokeV be on? If it will be on multiple platforms, will there be any cross-play features?
Sangyoung: Currently, we’re focusing on PC and consoles. We are also considering adding features such as cross-platform and cross-save.
What do you want gamers to know about DokeV?
Sangyoung: I can tell you about the flying umbrella. When you use the umbrella, you hide your form and essentially become invisible. There’s something called the ‘Dokebi Gamtu (hat)’ in Korean folklore, which makes the wearer invisible when they put it on. We also included that bit of folklore in the game. Additionally, I was inspired by children who hide under umbrellas as they’re playing, thinking that no one else can see them.
Changkee: My kids often play around by hiding under the blanket saying, “Dad, you can’t see us, right?”, which is depicted as an umbrella in the game.
Thanks Sangyoung and Changkee for enlightening us on DokeV in this interview. We hope to hear more from them and their team in the future as development for the game continues. To stay up to date with DokeV news or to learn more about what was mentioned in this interview, check out the game’s website.
Besides DokeV, you can also check out our interview on Marvel’s Midnight Suns, another title that was also shown at Gamescom 2021.