What happened to DokeV?

Do you all know about DokeV? I’m willing to bet that a lot of you haven’t even heard of it. It’s an Open-World, Action-Adventure game about catching creatures similar to Pokemon being developed by Korean game studio Pearl Abyss. The game is also allegedly going to have various multiplayer mechanics so that you can play in its world with your friends, we’ll get into more detail about that part later as it’s complicated.

I’ve been greatly looking forward to DokeV ever since it first got revealed. The art style and character designs are very appealing to me and the thought of an open world Pokemon styled game that actually works sounds amazing. However as time goes on a big question keeps popping up “When is this game going to come out?”. Let’s go over the game’s history and try to figure out exactly what’s going on with this game.

DokeV was initially announced to public in November 7th 2019 as a brand new MMO from Pearl Abyss before receiving its first trailer on the 14th of the same month at G★STAR, an annual Korean video game trade show. This first trailer flew under the radar for most of the internet but did gain a niche audience of interested gamers. A few days later in early December Pearl Abyss opened up the official website for DokeV, showing off various screenshots as well as advertising the game’s theme song “Rockstar” by Galactika and a promise that the game would go into beta during 2020.

After the initial reveal in 2019 news about DokeV was very sparse with the only noteworthy thing to speak of being a small mention in Pearl Abyss’ 2020 Financial Report as an upcoming project. Eventually we did get more news about the game during Gamescom 2021 where we received a new trailer! This was where I first learned about the game and became super excited for it! Around this time it was also announced that DokeV would no longer be an MMO but rather a normal Open-World Action Adventure game that would have some multiplayer features that were not highlighted at Gamescom.

From this point on DokeV entered a typical gaming news cycle of the devs giving interviews every once and a while as well as development videos showing up online to show off graphical details such as the game’s lighting engine and water physics.

During the 2021 Game Awards on December 10th 2021 DokeV once again received a trailer and it…wasn’t very good. This was by far the biggest stage DokeV has ever been on and instead of showing any gameplay or something super substantial like the previous Gamescom trailer we instead got a music video of various 3D models dancing to the game’s theme song. Keep in mind this was a majority of the world’s first impression of DokeV and this negative impression will stick with the game forever.

Soon after the Game Awards we learned via another financial report that Pearl Abyss was planning to release DokeV in 2023! And after that we got next to radio silence about the game for most of 2022. It wasn’t until Pearl Abyss’ Q3 2022 Earnings Report that we heard about the game again, and the news was far from positive.

DokeV has now been delayed to 2024 and rumors began to spur that some of the game’s core staff members left the team. However those rumors were quickly denied

Our most recent DokeV news came from a livestream done by Pearl Abyss to give us an update on the game. The game has indeed been moved back to 2024 but will now be released on mobile devices alongside consoles and PC, despite earlier interviews denying the possibility of a mobile version. The game is also slated to once again be an MMO like originally planned!

Now that we’ve reached the present day I have to say, a lot of my confidence in DokeV is quickly draining away. While we know very little about the game’s internal development I cannot imagine it has been pleasant due to factors like changing the game from being an MMO to not being an MMO to an MMO again or suddenly creating a mobile version despite claiming there wouldn’t be one a year ago.

There have also been a few minor red flags for me personally in the marketing, the biggest of which being a lack of showing off actual gameplay. While it is expected for games not to show off a lot of gameplay for their first or second trailer we are rapidly approaching the fourth anniversary of this game’s reveal and have seen very little. While the second trailer claims to be a gameplay trailer, a lack of UI and the quick cuts between clips makes it feel more like a gameplay concept trailer than an actual gameplay one. I still love this trailer but I’m now at a point where I need to see this stuff in action to believe it.

Then there’s the icky elephant in the room we need to talk about, Pearl Abyss. While it has unfortunately started to become a common trend for game companies to begin backing stuff like the Metaverse and NFTs it always stings when a project you’re looking forward to goes all in on them. Now while DokeV has yet to explicitly become a blockchain game Pearl Abyss has stated on multiple occasions they’re open to the idea as well as other ‘play to earn’ mechanics. I wonder if the game’s sudden change back to being an MMO has anything to do with this.

I really, really want DokeV to be good. I have been looking forward to this game for years but the combination of strange radio silence making me temporarily forget about the game and the constant red flags about the game’s development leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’m going to keep looking forward to DokeV but it’s going to be with a much more cautionary glance from now on.

I would like to extend special thanks to the fansite DokeV.club for keeping constant track of the game’s development and interviews with Pearl Abyss. The small DokeV community has been a great help in getting all of this information straight.

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