The Pascal’s Wager: Annunciation E3 Impression, Interview
One of the best things about E3 is stumbling on interesting games you would never know about otherwise, and The Pascal’s Wager is just such a game. It’s a mobile game developed and published by China-based companies Tipsworks and Giant Network, but this isn’t immediately apparent from the visuals. The Pascal’s Wager takes place in a world where the sun has sunk into the sea, never to rise again, and the evaporation of the sea (and, presumably, the lack of a sun) has caused the earth to be blanketed in eternal darkness. The game features beautiful and atmospheric environments and character designs, a Victorian aesthetic with a dash of anime stylization, and even a Cthulhu-esque monster making an appearance in a promo video and envoking memories of Bloodborne.
The combat is stamina-based with lock-on and definitely inspired by the Souls series, but the demo is quite forgiving. There are also many differences, including a slower pace, and the fact that players can switch between multiple characters in combat, each with unique weapons and special abilities. Leveling up is also different, offering multiple skill trees to advance in addition to letting players spend points to level up character attributes. The game will also feature two multiplayer modes — a regular PVP mode that takes place in the game’s stages, as well as an arena mode.
There were some troubling signs that the game’s media and press materials are not properly localized, but hopefully there will be a bigger investment in that if the game gets traction in China. I really liked the aesthetic and setting, as well as the feel of combat, and I also hope the game will deliver in terms of quality content. I had the chance to ask the developers some questions to learn more about the game:
For the story mode, how long does that take to complete?
In general, there will be eight to ten stages. E3 demo’s stage is one of them. But there’s going to be DLC like other games. You can play these stages again and again to find hidden elements.
Would you say that the story mode is a core focus of the game, or is the game mostly focused on its multiplayer offerings?
Yes, story mode is the main mode of the game. Perhaps the first version will not include the multiplayer mode, in which case we will add it in a future update.
Are the levels in the story mode linear or do they interconnect and loop back on themselves?
It’s more of a linear story, but there will be some elements that players need to go back and look for.
Is the game open-world, or is it divided in different missions?
It’s not open-world, but we have a world map in the game where you can select stages or missions on the map. There is a carriage that is the main mode of transportation. And the carriage is your base, too. You can change your character in it, open the map, etc.
Regarding multiplayer competition mode, can you talk a bit about how that works? How do fights work? Is there a ranking and matching system? What else should people know about this mode?
Like most console games, we have a multiplayer mode. You can play multiplayer in either PvP or PvE. In 1 vs. 1 PvP, it’s a bit like a 3D fighting game, and we support online battles. Of course, there will be a ranking system, and players can use their own character to play in a challenge mode with other players.
For the combat, what games do you consider as inspirations, and what games is the combat closest to? And how does the combat in The Pascal’s Wager differ from those games?
We will refer to all the famous action games on the market, like Dark Souls, The Witcher, For Honor, Monster Hunter: World, God of War, and more. Of course we have our own system, with big improvements coming after E3. Because this is a game with a lot of roles, the weapons and control mode between characters are very different. Finding your favorite role and using it skillfully is very important.
Is this a paid game or is it free-to-play? If it’s free-to-play, what is the monetization scheme?
It’s not a free game, but it won’t be very expensive. And of course we will charge for DLC, but will also develop free DLC in the future. The DLC could be about a new character or a new story. Multiplayer mode may also be DLC.
I also saw that there will be a beta test open to players. Do you know when that will go live?
We haven’t decided yet on a date when it will go live in the European and American markets. But we will soon be testing in the Chinese market.