Leading up to the release of One Piece’s upcoming RPG, One Piece Odyssey’s producer and composer were joined by the manga’s editor-in-chief in a sneak peak developer diary video discussing the game’s development, battle system, and music.
During the dev diary, producer Tsuzuki revealed that the Straw Hat crew and their abilities in One Piece Odyssey coincide with the midway point of the Whole Cake Island story arc of the series. As detailed on the game’s website update back in May, One Piece Odyssey’s battle system features classic turn-based combat with a mix of the series’ humour and characterization of the Straw Hats.
“Until now, most One Piece games have been in the action genre, which is a fascinating experience too, but the battle system for this title is built for you to experience the thrill of adventuring with the Straw Hat crew and overcoming opponents by taking advantage of each crew member’s unique abilities,” producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki said.
Battles are broken up into stages with battle-ready and reserved crew members on deck, much like how the Straw Hats split up prior to venturing to a new island. Once you cross paths with enemies littered about the island, combat-ready Straw Hats are randomly assigned to foes. By picking the attack range of the Straw Hats in battle, you can maximise the effectiveness of their attacks. While showcasing footage of ‘God Usopp’ making a break for it, Tsuzuki added that players can run away from battles that are too tough to handle.
The video also gave players a preview of the game’s “Dramatic Scenes,”One Piece Odyssey’s random encounter battle sequences. During Dramatic Scenes you are tasked with overcoming “unexpected situations” while roaming about the island. These situations can include slapboxing the lights out of a sleepy Shogun Jishi that you mistakenly woke up while playing as Luffy or overcoming Sanji’s simping status effect that makes him unable to attack while he’s surrounded by women.
“Various and diverse constraints or events can happen, and greater rewards can be earned if the player successfully works through them,” Tsuzuki said.
While adventuring across Waford island, players can switch between members of the Straw Hat pirate crew and use their abilities to manoeuvre around mysterious ruins and dungeons. Switching to Chopper allows you to crawl into small spaces; Luffy’s stretchy arms can swing you toward higher ground; Zoro can cut through obstacles; and Franky can build bridges across small-but-deadly bodies of water for the crew’s devil-fruit users to safely cross.
“Of course, players will explore more than just dungeons and ruins, but we don’t want to reveal too much yet,” producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki said.
Contrary to creator Eiichiro Oda’s special message saying he was asked to design characters for One Piece Odyssey, Tsuzuki said the JRPG was in development five years ago while One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 was produced. One Piece Odyssey’s production was halfway done by the time Bandai Namco contacted Oda for character designs in 2019. Ken Takano, One Piece’s editor-in-chief, said Oda designed two new characters and creatures for the game after seeing its gameplay footage and script.
The designs for each 3D character, building, and prop in One Piece Odyssey were independently 3D-modelled from scratch, including the game’s wispy clouds, which Tsusuki noted were inspired by Oda’s drawings in the manga.
“One Piece characters are known to have overly dramatic facial expressions, so we reworked them many times to properly represent their facial expressions on a 3D model,” Tsuzuki said.
At the end of the dev diary, composer Motoi Sakuraba–who worked on the music for games like Dark Souls and the Tales of series–said he created a wide range of music for players to listen to while adventuring Waford Island. Sakuraba requested that players listen to One Piece Odyssey’s music with a high-quality speaker if possible.
One Piece Odyssey is slated to release later this year on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X.