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How Goddess of Victory: Nikke and Dave The Diver came together for one of gaming's most surprising crossovers

The unique collaboration between Nikke and Dave the Diver

Dave the Diver and creepy fishing sim Dredge? Sure. That's a collaboration that's easy to understand – they each have boats in them, for starters. Dave the Diver and sci-fi RPG shooter Goddess of Victory: Nikke? Well, that's an altogether more intriguing pairing.

"Nikke and Dave the Diver are both developed in Korea," explains Nikke's director Yoo HyungSuk. "Because our [development] team loves creative games and we enjoy playing Dave the Diver, we discussed collaborating. Its gameplay and diving mechanics make it an excellent fusion [with Nikke because of its] different gameplay styles.

"Many of us in the team play Nikke, so when we received the collaboration proposal, it's fair to say we felt both anticipation and concern," adds Jaeho Hwang, the director of Dave the Diver, reflecting on Nikke's suggestion to pair up for a special summer crossover event.

"This is because the platforms and art styles of the two games are quite different. Previously, Nikke collaborations have mainly focused on storytelling and characters, but we were curious about how this collaboration could integrate Dave’s gameplay into Nikke."

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Dave isn't wrong about Nikke being "quite different" from indie darling Dave the Diver. But given RPG shooter Nikke boasts over 25m downloads since its release in 2022, it's perhaps no surprise that it has all manner of partners lining up to collaborate, including Japanese manga series Chainsaw Man, Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World and fan-favourite Nier: Automata.

And it's constantly evolving, too. For its first anniversary, Nikke introduced a survival minigame. To mark its eighteenth-month anniversary, a tower defence minigame was added. For Dave the Diver's arrival, players will be able to control three Nikke characters who can dive into the depths, complete with their own guns, catch fish, and scavenge ingredients. They can also run a sushi restaurant in the Nikke world with Banjo.

The Nikke team hopes this update – which can be accessed via PC and mobile devices – will "surprise and delight players" as part of Nikke's July summer event, Beauty Full Shot.

"The event's storyline revolves around the player/Commander and several Nikkes spending their vacation at the seaside," Yoo HyungSuk explains. "We've prepared a variety of activities that allow you to fully enjoy your summer vacation, both at the seaside and underwater."

It's this addition of a seaside-themed summer update that so effortlessly blends Dave the Diver – the BAFTA-winning 2.5D hybrid adventure game where players explore a mysterious Blue Hole and run a sushi restaurant – with Nikke's world, not least because the latter's team is keen to "continuously" introduce new experiences to its players through its diverse and casual minigames.

The collaboration means each game will feature in the other, tapping into a brand new audience and allowing fans to enjoy cinematics with Dave the Diver and Nikke characters together. If the Dave team had any hesitation about how Nikke could bring the two games together stylistically and mechanically, the first test build dispelled all and any fears.

"After receiving the test build, we found that the Nikke development team has blended Dave and Nikke very well, creating a wonderful synergy between the two games," Jaeho Hwang from Dave the Diver said. "We are deeply grateful for this and are even more excited about this collaboration event."

"In terms of art style, we retained Dave the Diver's original style, aiming to make it visually different from Nikke."

Yoo HyungSuk, Director, Nikke

While both games have distinct styles, the Nikke team says it has "put in a lot of effort" and worked to "faithfully preserve the original gameplay experience and fun".

"Although Goddess of Victory: Nikke is based on arcade shooting gameplay, we've always strived to offer various fun elements beyond that, including storylines, character collection and growth, decoration, puzzle games, explorations, and co-op mode," Yoo HyungSuk explains. "Therefore, we have developed many different types of minigames to provide all Commanders with a richer and diversified experience.

"The minigames we have developed so far have been fast-paced, light-weighted ones - such as grilling skewers - while Dave the Diver is actually a larger-scale game with more comprehensive gameplay. In this collaboration, we have integrated the settings of both games so that you can fully enjoy the fun of Dave the Diver in Nikke.

"The gameplay of Nikke and Dave the Diver may seem significantly different from each other, but they are, in fact, similar in some ways," Yoo HyungSuk adds. "For example, both games feature shooting elements to some extent. This time, we have combined Dave's underwater weapons with the unique characteristics of Nikke's characters' weapons, allowing players to experience a differentiated diving and fishing experience by operating different Nikkes.

"In terms of art style, we retained Dave the Diver's original style, aiming to make it visually different from Nikke."

That's not to say it didn't take considerable time and thought to carefully blend the two games together, of course.

"Dave's game content is vast and rich, while Nikke's minigames lean toward providing a lightweight experience," Yoo HyungSuk says. "Therefore, the challenge in the design process was how to simplify the framework, while retaining the essence of the original gameplay, and, at the same time, incorporate Nikke's unique elements. We hope the final outcome is a gaming experience that is different from what we've done previously."

As for what's next for Dave the Diver? Yes, DLC is on the way.

"We are working hard to develop it and hope to share more about it soon," Jaeho Hwang says. "Additionally, because many players like the characters in Dave the Diver, we are exploring the possibility of showing more stories of each character in the game. And of course, we plan to utilise a Nikke-themed boat skin in Dave the Diver [as part of the collaboration], too…"

And for Goddess of Victory: Nikke? Expect more about a special "unannounced collaboration" later this year.

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