Earlier this month, South Korean developer Round8 Studio shared early gameplay footage for Lies of P, its upcoming Souls-like based on the classic Pinocchio fairy tale. And while the dark fantasy setting elicited obvious comparisons to From Software masterpiece Bloodborne, the devs recently told Kotaku that any similarities between the two games were inadvertent.
“Though we’re greatly honored that many players felt the ‘Bloodborne vibe’ through our trailer release, it definitely wasn’t intentional,” said Ji-won Choi, lead producer at Lies of P publisher Neowiz, via email. “Still, Bloodborne and other Souls-like titles are certainly inspirational, and almost everyone in our team is a hardcore Souls-like fan.”
Choi added that the Lies of P team’s main source of inspiration as far as From Software is concerned is how the Japanese studio seems to apply a “high level of craftsmanship” to each frame of action, particularly when it comes to the way games in the Souls series convey movement. “We’re trying to polish the motion with as much care and quality,” said Choi.
I was naturally curious how far this inspiration went mechanics-wise. Are there bonfires, for instance? Estus flasks? Bloodstains? Multiplayer?
“We would say Lies of P is most Souls-like in the aspects of death penalty and difficulty level,” said Choi, further explaining that the game will employ a checkpoint system similar to bonfires but is focusing on original mechanics otherwise.
Lies of P’s concept and setting were finalized a year and a half ago, I’m told, with development beginning shortly thereafter. Since then, the game was officially revealed in May, turning heads with its unique take on the classic Pinocchio story and Belle Époque aesthetics. Choi said the team is about 50% done with the base content but only around 30% finished overall, taking into account the six-month polishing process planned for post-development.
Lies of P follows Pinocchio as he explores the “pre-industrial hellscape” of Krat in search of Geppetto, the man who made him. Along the way, the “puppet mechanoid” will make use of his Slave Arm—an artificial appendage that can be customized with eight different tools, including a grappling hook—and potentially lie his artificial ass off in conversations with NPCs. The more the player chooses to fib in these situations, the more human Pinocchio becomes, leading to different in-game events and several alternate endings.
“Our primary goal was to find a story known to everyone, if not the vast majority of the player base,” Choi said about the Lies of P team’s decision to base a game on the Pinocchio fairy tale. “We also wanted a story that is not a typical dark fantasy, not set in the Middle Ages, has adventure as the core theme, and comes with charming characters. Pinocchio fit the bill and it was easy to conceptualize it as a Souls-like.”
Combat in Lies of P will revolve around its weapon-building system. Every weapon in the game can be split between its damage-dealing end (blades for sharp weapons, heads for blunt weapons) and its hilt. Choi promises over 30 base weapons that can be mixed and matched in this way, allowing folks to experiment with the various combinations and find one that matches their style. Pinocchio’s stats can also be upgraded, providing further customization to how players approach battles.
Of course, this was just prelude to the biggest question of all: Will Pinocchio’s nose grow when he lies?
“We decided against allowing Pinocchio’s nose to grow because we wanted to make him look cool (as opposed to silly),” said Choi. “But we do want to implement the idea somewhere. We can’t say we have any solid plans at this point.”
Well, damn. I guess the game looks fine otherwise.
Lies of P is tentatively scheduled to arrive on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC in 2023. Here’s hoping they get the nose thing figured out before then.