Korean pop, anthropomorphized animals, strong visual effects coming out of a comically large hammer—the DokeV trailer has it all. Developer Pearl Abyss showed a new trailer for their upcoming open-world game at Gamescom today, and I was intrigued by the juxtaposition between the realistic art style of American animation and the dramatic visual-effects style commonly seen in anime. Characters with realistically rendered faces executed attacks with colorful flourishes. As an Asian American writer, the game gives me a feeling that two worlds have collided into a single wonderful mashup.
What we know so far is that DokeV is an open-world game that focuses on collecting creatures. Kind of like Pokémon, except the human character is also capable of combat. Since the South Korean developer advertised the game as “family-friendly” in its trailer from 2019, I have to wonder if its target audience affected their decision to aim for the Pixar look. For those who are unfamiliar with Pearl Abyss’ previous work, their high fantasy MMO Black Desert Online was considerably less child-appropriate. DokeV looks great, and it shows that Pearl Abyss has a lot of range when it comes to genre and age group.
One thing today’s trailer makes clear is that DokeV has become considerably more dynamic and colorful in the years since the initial trailer debuted. The characters also spend a lot more time on skateboards now. While I can’t tell if the city we see is based on South Korea or not, I’m excited to explore its tightly designed streets. And its seas. And even its skies, as the trailer showed the player swinging from the air. (Please don’t ask me how this works.) I’m also a little bit concerned about why the children are driving cars in this game, but I’m sure that it’s fine.
DokeV seems to be a playground where children aren’t held to petty limitations like gravity, the conservation of mass, or basic safety laws. It’s a world that I wish I lived in when I was eight years old. It’s pretty exciting that such a detailed open-world game is something that might be appropriate for me to play with younger family members. AAA games are usually designed for adult players, and DokeV breaks that mold. It’s also a nice departure for any adults who want to play a big-budget video game that doesn’t involve highly graphic murder.
(Clarification 8/26/2021, 9:11 a.m. EDT: A previous version of this article quoted the genre based on the game’s own official website, which turned out to be outdated.)