Hideki Kamiya, designer of Bayonetta, created Okami back when he worked at Capcom's Clover. In the recent issue of Famitsu (translated by 1Up), Kamiya looks back at making Okami.
When I first started talking about it with [producer Atsushi]Inaba, the only starting point we had for Okami was a game that depicted a lot of nature," he told Famitsu. "I couldn't say 'I don't know if this'll be fun or not' because than nobody on the dev team would be enthusiastic about it, so instead I was like 'This is gonna be great! I know it will!' So eventually the discussion shifted to a wolf running around, and we made this minute-long video depicting a wolf running through a field and trees sprouting up behind him and I told the team 'See, isn't that neat?'"
There was no story at the time and no gameplay system. There was an original concept — depicting the splendour of nature.
"Our first test run was incredibly boring to play," he continued. "I was grinding my teeth at night, I was so worried. At one point, we were so far off-track that it had turned into a simulation game — you had hexes and trees sprouted on them. It was total garbage. A couple of devs said to me afterwards 'Something was definitely wrong with you around that time, Kamiya!'"
Read more in the link below.