ONE PIECE has been joked about to not merely be “an interest”, but a lifestyle. It’s an incredibly long running series, after all, and remains a media juggernaut to this day. ONE PIECE Odyssey is the latest game to join the line-up, an RPG appearing to tell its own tale instead of adapting the many, many arcs it has had so far.
Let’s not dally and don some suitable pirate gear and come aboard with Katsuaki Tsuzuki, Producer of ONE PIECE Odyssey, in this interview!
THE FIRST STEP
A ONE PIECE RPG has been a long awaited one. How did you approach the development of this game?
We had a lot of action with the Pirate Warriors series, but many fans requested a game to experience more of the Straw Hat Crew and see their best parts in motion. In that sense, we’re able to show that through a turn-based RPG where you can see all the details both in and out of battle.
We wanted to make sure everyone could see every aspect of ONE PIECE. We felt that in our previous action-oriented games, you could only control one character. With a turn-based RPG, you get to use several characters in a team in combination, see more of them at any given time. That what makes it a whole of the ONE PIECE experience.
Was there anything specific in ONE PIECE that inspired you during the making of Odyssey?
For this game, we looked at the story before the two year ‘time-skip’, at most, before Sabaody Archipelago. There’s plenty of discoveries in the world of ONE PIECE, like a new island, a new arc with a new character, which is what we’re looking at here. We want to convey the excitement and wonder of finding new things, playing as the Straw Hats of the current day.
What’s the hardest thing about making a ONE PIECE game considering how long running the series is?
The team has been developing this title for around 4-5 years and it was very difficult to get the story going when considering discrepancies or story continuity, and having the player enjoy the world of ONE PIECE. The first hurdle was the foundation of the game before we could keep making it better and better.
Can those not familiar with ONE PIECE enjoy Odyssey?
One of the main things the team did was put a lot of effort in making sure both fans of ONE PIECE and newcomers can have fun with the game. Since in an RPG you can start off with a character’s introductions and backstories, we hope we will be able to convey the story of what happened, the character’s strengths, and everything in between so that people who play until the end understand what the best parts of ONE PIECE are.
BEGINNING THE ODYSSEY
So the Straw Hats have been shipwrecked and stranded on a mysterious island. What happens next? Is their objective just to get off the island?
In a way, escaping the island is one of the points of the game. If you don’t escape, how do be a pirate? However, that’s not the main point, which we’ll reveal more about soon. The focus is really more on exploring the island, discovering what it holds. We’ve talked through the story with Oda-sensei and his team, so we hope players will enjoy all that will be revealed.
Where does the story in One Piece Odyssey fit into the main timeline? Is it canon?
The story has been in development for a long time, taking place around the Whole Cake Island arc where the Straw Hat Crew are still fighting Big Mom. The story itself is not canon, but it does fit within the story of ONE PIECE itself so fans won’t need to worry about discrepancies.
We just want to tell a ONE PIECE story that everyone can enjoy without fans needing to think too hard about how canon it is.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by ONE PIECE Odyssey offering a “ONE PIECE adventure experience like never before”?
We still have more things to show you so that you understand what we mean. For now, please wait for it.
What can you tell us about the game world? Is it open world or linear?
It’s an RPG, but not open world. We’re not ready to disclose why it’s not open world, so please stay tuned.
Is there anything you’d say is a unique approach you’ve taken for this game?
You’ll see more of it at Tokyo Game Show.
For now, I’ll talk about the battle system. You can have four characters in battle, and you can change them at any time. RPGs typically have them stand in a row, but this doesn’t show that ONE PIECE experience. So, we have four areas to move the characters around at any time in battle too.
Characters can be good at either long or close range, so for example, putting Usopp in long-range will give him more plus points. This lets you make your own combinations among the crew members and you get to play around with the things ONE PIECE is known for.
Outside of battle, the characters have their own specialties too: Luffy can reach for far items, Zorro can cut steel boxes, Sanji can cook up items for HP recovery, and so on. You really do get to experience for yourself the full breadth of the crew.
There’s more we can’t show yet, but basically, in this game, everyone gets to be a main character.
Will there be non-Straw Hat Pirates who are playable?
As we explained, the game is meant to revolve around the pirates to provide a story that both fans and newcomers can enjoy. We will share more information later on, but we are not disclosing any details on other characters right now.
Besides the new characters and monsters, what else did Oda-sensei work on for the game?
From the beginning, the team talked to Oda-sensei to convey their wish to tell a new ONE PIECE story, asking him and Shueisha for their feedback. It’s the biggest ONE PIECE title we’ve done yet, having the cooperation of the production and development team, Oda-sensei, and Shueisha. Oda-sensei has also done some artwork for the game.
What can you tell us about the new characters in Odyssey?
We have Adio and Lim. Without giving any spoilers, they embody two themes. We can’t say what one is yet, but the other would be the “Kizuna”, or the connections between people. If players kept these themes in mind while playing the game, they will have a deeper understanding and better experience of the game itself.
Like you, we’re also still kept in suspense about where this adventure may take us. While I’d personally find it a little disappointing that there isn’t really a “canon” timeline to Odyssey‘s story, what’s more important is having a compelling story and getting a tale to really last the ages. Is that not ONE PIECE?