Lies Of P Interview – Balancing Difficulty, Bloodborne And The Importance Of Game Pass

Neowiz talk about their most ambitious game so far.

Lies of P is out from today and in my review last week I was keen to tell everybody just how much of a surprise it was. It manages to craft its niche in the much-imitated Soulslike genre to offer something unique. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d not heard of Neowiz. The Korean-based publisher and developer has previously worked mainly on mobile games, so this represented their first foray into the very crowded console market. I had the chance to interview Choi Ji-Won, the director who worked on the game at Neowiz, about the development of the game and the inspirations they took.

I asked them how the inspiration for the game came about and, besides the obvious, if any other inspirations helped Lies of P come to life. Where Bloodborne is the apparent influence, Choi Ji-Won told me that their “inspiration comes from diverse sources including other Souls-like games, books, movies, cartoons, and any mass media that centre around the concepts of greed or cultism. The development team’s own life and travel experiences were also a point of inspiration.

Lies of P Interview - Krat

Of course, the main inspiration was the story of Pinnochio, specifically taken from the 1881 novel by Italian writer Carlo Collodi more so than the much beloved Disney adaptation. I naturally had to ask as to why such a story would be chosen for the foundation of an action-RPG like this.

We wanted to use a story that is well-known around the world, a story people confidently believe they know well, and one that possessed a maturity that would captivate adult audiences. The Adventure of Pinocchio had the elements of innocence, gore, darkness, black comedy, and compelling characters that we were searching for. Moreover, The Adventure of Pinocchio is also a story of growing to be better, which seamlessly aligned with the game we wanted to create.” said Ji-Won.

Lies of P Interview - Battle

When players hear that Bloodborne or even Elden Ring inspires a game, they naturally assume that Lie of P might be devastatingly difficult. I mentioned in my review that there were some design choices that clearly attempt to ease more players into the format, making it a good entry level game. But it made me ponder whether Neowiz ever thought to include difficulty options in Lies of P. On the topic of difficulty options, Ji-Won said:

We believe that solid-level design and balance are extremely important in Lies of P. We felt that we might not be able to offer this if we chose to implement difficulty options, which ultimately led us to stick with the single difficulty. However, even though we decided not to offer difficulty options, we would like to see Lies of P become an entry point for the Souls-like genre. With this in mind, we added various items and other features to make the game a bit more welcoming to new players. For players who worry that Souls-like are too hard to play, we hope that they can leverage those items and elements to help their journey in the Krat.

On another note, there was actually some very interesting feedback we received from the public demo. Players who did multiple playthroughs questioned whether we ever patched the difficulty of the game because they found that it became much easier after their initial run. However, we never applied a patch to the demo and it was just that they improved their skills without realizing, instead assuming the game had been nerfed. Ultimately, Souls-like can be hard for anyone when they first try it out and there is nothing wrong with that. We have all been there before!

Lies of P Interview - Weapon

And finally, to wrap the interview up, I was keen to discover how Neowiz working with Xbox might have played out, given a very public display of support from the publishing giant on other third party games like Baldur’s Gate in the months just passed by. On working with Xbox to bring Lies of P to Game Pass, Ji-Won had the following to say:

Neowiz had joined Xbox Game Pass with previous titles before. Because of that, we already had a relationship with Xbox, and Microsoft showed interest in Lies of P. This ultimately led to further discussions and in August 2022, we announced Lies of P would join Xbox Game Pass.

Neowiz solely worked on the game, but whenever we had any troubles around development and launching on Xbox, they always offered tremendous technical help to our team.

For studios launching a new IP without a considerable presence globally, I believe it is very important to create opportunities that allow many people to play and experience your game. Xbox has always offered tremendous support on this. For example, we were able to show off Lies of P to a large audience at Gamescom 2023 because of the Xbox team. The same goes for the Xbox Showcase, where the game was on display for a global audience.

Lies of P Interview - Festival

Lies Of P releases today, September 19th 2023, for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC. It is available on Xbox Game Pass. You can read my review with final thoughts of the game HERE and grab the cheapest copy of the game using our bargain guide HERE.