Okamiden Is a Sequel After All

By Ishaan . September 2, 2009 . 12:14am

image After a painful week of waiting, we finally have some concrete info on Okamiden, thanks to Famitsu. The game’s full title is Okamiden: Chisaki Taiyou, and the events it depicts take place a few months after the original game.

 

For anyone just getting caught up, Okamiden – like many other Japanese franchises of late — has made a transition from console to portable, being developed for the DS this time around. The game features the return of Issun, as well as a new wolf, Chibiterasu. (Ammy’s kid maybe? Which would make Wakka something that isn’t safe to say in this post.) Issun is escorting Chibiterasu to the wood sprite Sakuya, who is in need of his assistance.

 

Chibi isn’t the only mystery either, seeing as how Okamiden also features Susano’s son(!), Kuninushi. The Famitsu article points out that the game will reveal just how it is that Susano suddenly has a kid despite not much time having passed between Okami and Okamiden.

 

http://www.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/okami_ds.jpgAs you’d expect, you’ll be using the stylus to perform the different Celestial Brush techniques. There’s no mention of whether or not Chibiterasu is able to command any new techniques that Ammy couldn’t, but Famitsu does mention that Okamiden will have a greater focus on cooperation with the partners that ride on Chibi’s back. An example was cited where you have to use the Celestial Brush to to draw a different path for your partner to take, while you yourself make your way across a rickety old bridge.

 

Since the original announcement of the game being on DS, there has understandably been some concern over how well it will be able to live up to the expectations set by its predecessor. Most of us weren’t expecting an Okami sequel at all, and while I empathize with the “something’s better than nothing” sentiment, the original just so happens to be my favourite game of all time.

 

The problem is, the original Okami represented something that was a whole lot more than just a “game.” Whenever the games-as-art argument is brought up, Okami is the first name that springs to mind, not simply because of the art style, but because Clover did such an incredible job creating and executing an aesthetic vision. The world was believable, the characters were believable…but more importantly, Okami allowed you to explore every inch of this world at your leisure, to uncover its secrets and the secrets of Nippon’s populace.

 

Not to sound overly harsh or judgmental, but I don’t see how Okamiden will be able to replicate the feel of tearing through the Shinsuu Fields, weaving your way in and out of the flora, leaping over rocks, leaving a trail of gorgeous flowers and leaves behind you. Regardless of how good its characters were or how much fun the brush techniques were to use or how amusing the game could be, Okami did rely heavily on its visuals to help bring its world to life. There was something incredibly breathtaking about pulling the camera back to a bird’s-eye view of Ammy running through a forest, leaving a trail of flowers in her wake. It isn’t something that can’t be replicated on the DS, and this comes from someone who normally loves watching developers create 3D games for the system.

 

There’s also that little matter of who’s in charge of Okamiden. Naturally, it’s not Clover/Platinum Games, which makes a big difference. No, Okamiden is being produced by Motohide Eshiro, producer of Ace Attorney Investigations and directed by Kuniomi Matsushita, who directed the Wii port of Okami.

 

What strikes me as odd is, Matsushita says the reason behind Okamiden being for the DS is that he wants more people to experience the visuals and the world of Okami. While that’s a noble endeavour, the problem with this line of reasoning is that, by putting it on the DS, you aren’t exactly exploiting one of Okami’s most appealing traits: the artwork. Okamiden is only about 25% complete at the moment, but as you’d expect, it looks pretty terrible. The chances of it being DSi-exclusive so they can spruce up the art are pretty slim, too.

 

I suppose we should all thank Eshiro-san for green lighting the project. After all, it is nice to see Capcom give Okami another shot at success. Still, this is hardly the ideal situation for the franchise, and one wonders if scaling it back so much in an effort to keep the budget under control that it loses much of its appeal is worth the effort at all.


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  • http://several-hours-into-the-game.blogspot.com/ Nika

    No comment, I completely agree.
    I’m happy that one of my favorite games gets a sequel but I just can’t imagine the world on DS. Okamis beautiful artstyle will suffer. And Chibiterasu sounds… ah well.

  • BraveWind

    Ah Well It’s the DS, I won’t expect much of great graphics.

    Also Ishaaaaan =P You made the article before Spencer now xD

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Actually, Spencer was going to cover this initially, but we decided it would be a good idea to represent both sides of the argument…for and against DS. I did find it before him though, yea! (I think) :P

      • BraveWind

        I don’t think I can believe the last sentence XD

        Well none the less, good job both you, this is my all-time favorite site for news on Games.
        Keep it up both of ya =P

      • http://www.twitter.com/Celedin Celedin

        Now, now. We all love you both the same, no matter who gets articles up first : P

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Thanks you guys. We were just talking yesterday about how we have a pretty awesome community on Siliconera…it’s why we’re all doing this. :)

  • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

    While Okami is one of my all-time favorite games, I’m in the “better than nothing bin”. At least it’s a little more “spin-offy” and a little less sequely. I hope someday we can play a “true” sequel with Ammy saving the Celestial Plain or something.

  • ElTopo

    Thank you, and I’ve been saying this the entire time. The game loses all that substance and visual appeal going from a console to the small screens of the portable (especially the DS which just doesn’t have the power to render the 3D in the same quality). That’s what really made the game for me, the adventure was great, but what made it stand out was just how incredible the world was artistically and sadly this just isn’t going to translate over very well at all.

    • Aoshi00

      Exactly, I didn’t understand why people would want a DS downgrade to such a beautiful game in the first place. If not on a HD console, at least the sequel should be on the Wii or PSP (which can do magic like Crisis Core). After playing Ico and Colossus, is it unreasonable to want something better like the Last Guardian (I know, there’s the sales and cost, etc), or we get something looking like Blood of Bahamut. It just totally throws the artistic vision/aspect of the game out the window..

      Or another way to see it would be Zelda Windwaker –> Phantom Hourglass.. guess the stylus could be fun.

      I still need to finish Okami first, seems like I’m the only one here who hasn’t finished the game.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        The difference being Zelda never had a jump button, and Twilight Princess was the only game that let you ride around Hyrule that fast. Plus, Zelda has always been about the puzzles. Phantom Hourglass didn’t really need to go out of its way to do that stuff, since most of it had already been tackled in past portable Zeldas.

        Okami, on the other hand, is all about the characters and exploration and the gazillion sidequests you could take on. It felt so alive :)

      • Pichi

        I don’t really find it as a downgrade, as more of another take of the game. It still has that art style of the original game. Not to mention that it can be very story heavy and the likes.

        I guess it’ll be like going for a high production value of an anime to a “low grade” manga sequel, but I wouldn’t see that as all gloom and doom like many are making. The spirit is there, just not “flashy” like how those who judged the paper filter on the Wii.

        But I’ll wait for a trailer of sorts to get that feel. Love the art in the scans already and if it works in motion, all the better.

        In the meanwhile, another scan to judge it by:
        http://img17.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=03961_O25_122_341lo.jpg

        • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

          OMG. Chibiterasu is one of the most adorable things I’ve seen. The art looks a little better here too.

        • Aoshi00

          It looks okay, since we can’t set our expectation high and need to settle for the best graphics on the DS.. Not being a remake is good since there would be no reason to play the same game again except in worse graphics, like Xenosaga Ep1&2 on the DS (game is bad).

          I’m not sure about the anime manga comparison since they’re essentially both 2-D arts, and manga art could be a lot more detailed and in most cases superior to the anime, the sound and motion are bells and whistles, but you can’t honestly say the graphics on the DS can look better than on the Wii/PS2, it can’t even compare to the PSP. It would be nice if this is on PSP, but they’re going for the stylus control (which could be cool like Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword).

          I still can’t believe the critter is actually called “Chibiterasu-sama”, lol..

          • Pichi

            Its subjective though. If some feel the same of manga to anime, then it can apply here. I see where you’re coming from though.

            Another example is the now canceled “Pushing Daisies” and hearing how the creator wants his work in comic book form to continue the story. I know that show looks amazing and I can imagine similar people saying the same thing of the comic not being the same(ignoring the creator is still working on the project).

            If the limitations are still in the style and can still move things forward, I guess I have no problem. But alas, I can see this game won’t have a chance with the many out there, so I hope it can rope others with the gameplay and storytelling if it proves well.

  • Advent_Andaryu

    This should be for the Wii instead… I will at least give it a chance though. I wonder if it will still hold the magic the first one had without Clover behind it?

  • Aoshi00

    If any game needs to take full advantage of the DSi’s beefed up hardware, this would be it, but it wouldn’t be fair to those who only have the phat and lite. I wonder when we would ever see the first true DSi game built from the ground up for the new system, I’m curious to see what it can do, other than incorporating the camera element.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Yea, I’m very curious to see Square in particular make a DSi-exclusive. Their 3D stuff on DS already looks fantastic…I can’t wait to see how they make use of DSi’s additional RAM and whatnot. 4x is no joke.

      Maybe by the time FFVI DS comes around, it’ll be DSi-exclusive with Amano-style ingame art. :o

      • lostinblue

        Well… you should probably be asking Matrix, TOSE, Think & Feel, h.a.n.d. or Level-5 to do it then, FF3/FF4 and FF Gaiden Four Warriors of Light were done by Matrix; Dragon Quest Monster Joker and Saga 2 are TOSE (not 100% sure on the later, but 99%) Blood of Bahamut was Think & Feel, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 was by h.a.n.d. and Dragon Quest IX was Level-5.

    • lostinblue

      A new DSi-only retail game was announced yesterday I think. called Monster Finder.

  • jarrodand

    Eshiro also worked on the earlier Onimusha games and directed/wrote Shadow of Rome. Matsushita also worked on RE4 PS2, RE2, PN03 and the Dino Crisis games. Personally, I’m hoping the remaining staff (about half) from Capcom’s GB Zelda team is on it too.

  • lostinblue

    I don’t agree with the part that says it looks terrible… it doesn’t, for me.

    • Pichi

      It looks like the style of the first game, a far cry from being terrible. I can see one saying it terrible comparing to the original, but that’s the problem. Comparing to the original and not seeing the other view on a different system.

  • mkshiranui

    I’m also in the “better than nothing” category, but since I don’t currently own a DS, this is kind of disappointing. To use a non-gaming software example, it’s like asking for a new version of Microsoft Office Outlook and getting Windows Mail.

    What would be a GREAT idea is to make this a playable advertisement for a true Okami sequel. That way, when the game actually comes out, there will be enough publicity that we won’t have the catastrophic sales numbers of the original game. Maybe the game could even include a coupon or something.

    The only thing that will release Amaterasu from her cage in Capcom’s basement is a good profit.

    • mkshiranui

      By the way, why did this discussion end two weeks ago? If you want a vibrant community that will attract even non-gamers, we’re going to have to keep things current, or at least provide a link to the next “hot spot” of discussion.

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