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Dragon's Dogma

Not Just A Pawn

When Capcom revealed Dragon’s Dogma at its Captivate event in April, the game’s development team teased about how the game would have an online component, but that it wasn’t a traditional approach. Today at Gamescom, they elaborated on what exactly they meant. And you know what? They were absolutely right.

To refresh your memory, Dragon’s Dogma is Capcom’s attempt at creating an action-based, open-world RPG. In the game, the player character is accompanied by three other AI-controlled allies, known as pawns. They work with the player, calling out strategies, providing buffs and heals, and generally offering invaluable assistance on the battlefield.

As it turns out, those pawns aren’t as simple as they may have seemed. According to the game’s lore, pawns never age or die. That’s a convenient way to explain how they can be revived after a battle, but it also ties in nicely to the game’s online functionality.

At the beginning of the game, players are assigned a pawn who will accompany the player for the duration of the game. That character, like the main character, can be customized in both the way he or she looks to what kind of role they will take in fights. A magic user might want to team up with a fighter, for instance, since casting spells takes time and leaves the caster vulnerable. The other two pawns can be recruited from a place called the Rift.

Players enter the Rift, which looks like a foggy, black expanse of nothingness. Pawns mill around, looking to be recruited. Players bring them back to the physical plane, where they fight alongside each other. Here’s the interesting bit: Players can send their companion pawn into the Rift, where players online can recruit them. Those pawns you see in the Rift? They actually belong to other people. As your pawn goes through adventures, they retain currency and experiences. When you synch your pawn back into your game, those memories can help you.

For example, your pawn may join a player during a boss battle that you haven’t yet encountered. When she rejoins you and you eventually find the same creature, she’ll offer you tips on how to defeat it. Likewise, she might point you toward points of interest that she saw on her own that you might not otherwise discover.

Capcom says that the game was designed to be a single-player adventure, first and foremost. That clearly didn’t prevent the developers from experimenting with online support. If it manages to deliver what they outlined in today’s presentation, I can’t wait to send my pawn into the Rift. I kind of like the idea that my pawn could be having amazing adventures while I’m sleeping. The fact that I’d benefit from them is even better.

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Comments
  • FIRST!!!!!!! Theres no release date yet???
  • Interesting, but does that mean if you send your pawn into the Rift and someone takes them, that you can't use them until that person sends them back to the Rift?
  • "When she rejoins you and you eventually find the same creature, she’ll offer you tips on how to defeat it." This sounds more like unlocking tips. I don't expect the pawn to actually "learn" from the way the player fought and defeated the boss and then give tips based on that.
  • One of the coolest online features that I've ever heard of. This game looks great. I will be pre-ordering it when the option becomes available.
  • Interesting way to do the whole AI assistant thing.  I'm interested to see how it works in gameplay (Will your pawns become way too overpowered if they get chosen a lot while you arent playing? Rack up so much gold that you can just buy the best junk? Etc..), but I love that they're attempting to try something new.

  • looks like a great online addition, but it is still is not substantial online material. why can u not just incoorporate online coop or pvp? this feature sounds more like animal crossing's online stuff lol i like what demon souls did btw
  • Sounds pretty cool, kind of like a watered down Demon's souls online component. Nice screenshots, this looks good.
  • That sounds pretty sweet actually

  • Huh... I'm not sure what to think of that. The prospect of my AI helper blurting out spoilers on how to defeat a boss before I've even tried to engage it for the first time is a big turn-off though.
  • This looks to be a very promising game

  • This game is looking gorgeous and sounding better each time a new piece of information is revealed.  I can't wait to see how it plays.

  • Now this sounds really interesting. I hope they pull it off. Had a lot of mixed feelings with Capcom in the past and present. At least it's something new for a change.

  • It's strange that when I first heard of this, I had zero interest. Now, Dragon's Dogma is quickly rising of my list of most anticipated games.

  • I do like devs using multi to actually improve the singlplayer experience rather than add on a weird pvp component. But this is far behind demon's souls.

  • that sounds cool n all but i still wouldnt mind some co op action. what if you could control a pawn with the vita.

  • wow this game looks reaaally good.

  • I bet it gets cancelled in favor of another Street fighter. :/
  • I have high hopes for this game, but this sounds like a tricky way to implement online capabilities. It's a new idea, but that runs the risk of ruining the experience.

  • Very interesting, I can't wait to try out this game.

  • I'm very interested in this game, and can't wait to try it out.

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