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Lies of P’s Game Director Jiwon Choi Discusses the Game, Disney and the Darker Sides of Pinocchio [EXCLUSIVE]

During our time at Gamescom this year, we spoke and met a considerable amount of game developers, creators, visionaries, and storytellers. This is nothing new. However, prior to the interview below, we had a unique encounter with Jiwon Choi, who decided to show our Head of Gaming how it was done, during the hands-on preview of Lies of P, and unsurprisingly, showed off his mastery of the game, dispatching the King of Puppets with complete ease, before sitting down to discuss the game as if his feat was nothing. It was the best way to start an interview.

Lies of P is Dark, Grisly, and Fun

Lies of P

Many of you reading this may well have played Lies of P already. If you haven’t then you should be. Lies of P is a Souls-like video game, but unlike the scores of imitators since Dark Souls was first released in 2011, it has crafted a niche for itself, and one that propels it from imitator status to boundary pusher.

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Set in the Belle Poque era, you’ll spend your time as Pinocchio, working your way through the desolate, destroyed city of Krat and its various buildings and areas, all the while bombarded with familiar, if twisted characters from one of our favorite childhood stories and that is the topic of our interview.

Q. Firstly, thank you for time and being here with us, but for those who may not be aware of who you are and what you’re bringing to the table?

A. Hello! I’m Jiwon Choi, Game Director of Lies of P, the action-adventure Souls-like video game.

Q. Why specifically Pinocchio? Out of all the fables, childhood stories, and tales we were told as children? It’s not necessarily the first story you’d think of when adapting for a Souls-like.

A. First of all it was a challenge for us to create for the first time, a single-player game, and also a Souls-like game. That’s why we wanted to attract more people and how we came to the idea of taking a story that is well-known, that everyone knows and has heard of. We were reading and approaching the original story of Pinocchio, which was not necessarily appropriate for children. Very dark, brutal even, and that was fitting for our game, we thought.

Q. You did just mention it, but Lies of P is based more on the original Carlo Collodi novel than the Disney version of Pinocchio, and for good reason, is that right?

A. One of our goals was to add another refreshing layer to a story that is so well known, but it surprised us to find out that Pinocchio’s original story isn’t widely known to be the dark, brutal tale it is. So this allowed us to add our own layer, with our own interpretation which is darker and more grotesque, which in turn we’ve added our own original twist to it, as you’ll see.

Q. With that said then, what creative license have you taken from the original story to allow it to be adapted to a Souls-like formula?

A. There are specific stories and characters in Lies of P that differ massively from the original story. For example, there is a rabbit and a hat which appears as more of a funny, hilarious character, but in the original story they have their fingers cut off, as well as a situation with Pinocchio getting trapped and almost getting hung, and these are the sorts of things that we can’t necessarily fit into our game, but have adapted in our way.

Q. Other than Pinocchio, and Geppetto – the obvious characters – what other characters are we likely to see be it from the original novel or the Disney versions we’re likely to meet during our journey?

A. We wanted to adapt and use both versions as best we could. For example in the original version, there is Antonio, who has been swapped to Antonia in Lies of P, and of course, the cricket, who dies early in the novel due to it annoying Pinocchio at some point. He got hammered and killed in the original but is one of the main characters in the Disney version, and in Lies of P, appears as Gemini in our game.

Related: Lies of P Review: Carlo Collodi Would Have Loved Pinocchio’s Most Outlandish Interpretation (PS5)

Lies of P

Q. What if anything, did you take from the other Souls-like titles in the genre, and what inspired you from those titles to make Lies of P as you have, instead of just developing a ‘normal’ action-adventure game?

A. I am a big fan of Souls-like games but personally am more inspired by fighting games, for example, Street Fighter, Tekken, and Ultra Fighter. I’m a big fan of fighting games and they were the biggest inspiration for me.

Q. How do you mean? As in the way characters move, fight, the combat involved?

A. All of that, and more. Most of all I find the ‘sense of hit’ to be the most important thing to have in this action-orientated game.

Q. Was there ever, or is there ever a point where you’d bring cooperative play into Lies of P?

A. So far with this game and the DLC planned, we just wanted to make a single-player game and make it reach perfection, but for the other games and future projects we have coming up, we’re seriously considering introducing that.

Q. Did you ever consider upgrading to Unreal Engine 5 for Lies of P, or was it just too late

A. So what we have now is currently running on 4.27, but again, the future project mentioned already will be using Unreal Engine 5.

Q. Are you able or willing to let us know about those future projects at all?

A. I can’t say anything much due to wanting to keep you all excited, but I can say that what we have in mind is much bigger. Much bigger in scale, idea, concept, and execution.

Q. Lastly, any tips or tricks that you could give us to be better at Lies of P? 

A. I cannot tell you anything specific, but I would encourage you to learn the learn the fighting styles of the enemies, and the layout of the level design as both are incredibly tightly designed. We’d encourage everyone to go through everything slowly, and try out different things, weapons, ideas, and approaches. Lies of P isn’t one way fits all, but it is about patience and fun. Most of all, enjoy it.

Lies of P is out now, both to buy and also on Xbox Game Pass. Have you tried it? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by Luke Addison

Luke Addison is the Lead Video Game Critic and Gaming Editor. As likely to be caught listening to noughties rock as he is watching the latest blockbuster cinema release, Luke is the quintessential millennial wistfully wishing after a forgotten era of entertainment. Also a diehard Chelsea fan, for his sins.

Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd