Opus Studio Turns Back Time To Discuss The Making Of Jikandia: The Timeless Land

By Spencer . March 4, 2011 . 6:00pm

03 Bus Intro

You already played the demo on PlayStation Network. Now find out the story behind Jikandia: The Timeless Land. Developer Opus Studio and publisher Idea Factory sat down to discuss the time setting PSP game. In this interview, we asked how they designed levels to support the feature and why they picked side-scrolling as the game’s genre.


So, you’re sitting down discussing a new project. How did those ideas evolve into Jikandia: The Timeless Land?


Opus Studio: In the city areas of Japan, everyone uses the train for their everyday commute. Like everyone else, our staff commutes via train, and we were talking about how it would be perfect if there was a game that we could finish in the time frame of our commute. That conversation was what gave us the idea for this game.


Idea Factory: In the initial stages of the concept, we contacted Opus for game development because of their experience with Half-Minute Hero—specifically, their experience with time as a gameplay mechanic. The plot of Jikandia was based on the word “time.”


Why did you want to make a side-scrolling action game?


Opus: First off, we’re fans of Metroid and Castlevania. During development, we also felt that there was a trend toward side-scrolling games like Shadow Complex and Bionic Commando.


IF: Most of the games we release are either SRPGs or games tailored specifically for the female market. We wanted to branch out into new markets—specifically action games. That worked out perfectly, since Opus excels at action games.


19 Stage 5 Enemy


Weapons in Jikandia have different ranges and combo lengths. The glove, for example, deals a lot of damage, but you only get one hit. What’s your favorite type to use and which partners do you pick?


Opus: We recommend the bomb. Although the power of the hit may seem weak, and it’s tricky because you too can be hurt, if you time it wisely you can hit multiply enemies and deal massive damage. In regard to which characters we’d choose, we would pick Hako and Tsutomu. They can both attack at a distance and fire multiple shots. Hako’s bullets even have a homing function.


IF: We like the “throwing axe” the most. Although it’s pretty tricky to aim it since it flies pretty far, that long range is what makes it fun. We’d choice Kanna and Mayu for the characters. They can throw axes and arrows along with the protagonist to kill enemies! :)


Before players start a level they can set a time limit, which changes the level’s layout. How did you design stages with this concept in mind?


Opus: We wanted to make it so there were always pros and cons to every choice — whether you went for a lot of time, or not much time. Our focus was on making a game that could be enjoyed over and over.


IF: The events that take place on each stage will change depending on what time you set. We also wanted to make sure people would enjoy the various weapons and utilize the differently depending on the amount of time as well.


Balancing the game must have been difficult! Was there anything that you wanted to add (characters, levels, weapons) to Jikandia: The Timeless Land, but didn’t have enough time to add?


Opus: Since there were so many different characters and weapons, we had a hard time differentiating them from one another.


IF: There were some events and so on that we had to cut out, but to make up for that we adjusted the game so there would be plenty of replay value.


23 Stage 6 Boss


It seems like Opus Studio likes to utilize time as an element when developing games. What makes time so interesting to play with?


Opus: We believe that the concept of time is something that’s important to everyone. Time is strongly associated with the gameplay of most videogames. We aren’t particularly attached to time as a concept, but we do feel like it’s a fun theme to work with. If development could always stay within the timeframe we set for it, that would be great.


So far, Opus Studio developed a lightning fast RPG and a set your own time limit side-scroller. What other genres would you like to tackle?


Opus: Opus has developed a number of titles that aren’t tied to any specific genres. Of course we feel that it’s important to utilize the experience we’ve gained from previous projects on any future ones, but our goal is to create games that are loved by everyone, no matter how much time passes. We will continue to strive to create games that can live eternally in the hearts of our fans.

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  • So they make games about time as part of their quest to make timeless games, huh?

    Bad jokes aside, it’s actually pretty interesting to know what their target was. Suddenly, the “set your own time limit” makes perfect sense.

  • Code

    You know it’s kind of ironic, that this game is coming out at the worst possible time opo; Seriously if the game wasn’t dead smack in the middle of March, already CHOKING from good releases, I’d have been able to snapped it up immediately T_T’ But given so many releases it’d be tough to squeeze this.

    • The worst possible time? Chocking with good releases?! What?! I just see one game Im getting this month that is big money (well not counting handheld games because they are so low cost that they may be considered as costless). March 15th, doesnt even have that many releases.

      • Code

        (well not counting handheld games because they are so low cost that they may be considered as costless).

        Your absolutely gutting me, man omo; I know I make some playful jabs at you, but being unemployed and really hard up for cash, that’s a dig I could have went without T_T’

        • M’iau M’iaut

          I’m REALLY beginning to believe he’s indeed more than one person operating behind that mask. Or just puts make hateful, idiotic comments at the top of his to do list some days.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            He is… Legion. Anonymous!! Tsunayoshi Sawada is the horrifying moniker which 4chan uses to troll us decent folks here on Siliconera!! BURN HIM AT STAKE–

            …But more curious is… WHY AM I STILL UP AT THIS HOUR?! …Headache..urck* Anything I said… didn’t count… nuuuhgg* …against me in court… zzzzzzzz

          • Ive never actually been to 4chan, lol.

          • Well, what is beneficial here is that you said “some days” and not “everyday.”

        • Im sorry

    • Yeah, Aksys should release this later, seriously T_T, i dont want Aksys to lose money with great games just because of those kind of things

      • M’iau M’iaut

        I know it missed the cut for me too. Even had it preordered before needing to reconcile with every other mid-March release. I’m very interested how this almost holiday level of releases at a very untraditional time is going to work. The only thing I can figure is the industry thought that with the 3DS folks were going to be in a game spending mode.

        • What are these Mid-March releases? Ar Tonelico Qoga is perhaps one, but I do not see anything else.

          • *takes a deep breath*

            Dragon Age 2, Pokemon Black&white, Ar tonelico 3, Yakuza 4, God Eater Burst, Jikandia, Crysis 2, Dissidia Duodecim (following gamespot new releases list), Naruto Shippuden Kizuna Drive, Okamiden, the 3rd birthday, Trails in the SKy<3.

            And the 3DS with everything and every game that comes with it.

          • 3DS is March 27th, thats not the middle. Dragon Age 2 is the beginning. The others are low cost handheld games. I thought people on this site hated shooters like Crysis 2…

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Top Spin 4 is also in there for me. It’s one of the few sports titles I like and has a fun career mode.

            Tsuna on this one, you are way off; multiple $30-40 handheld releases (Pokemon $35, LE Trails $40) aren’t just spent with throwaway monies. The Square games are basically $60 if importing from Europe with current USD rates and shipping. Crysis 2 has been covered on this site several times.

            Your posts on this one seem very different from screaming DAY ONE on everything that shows up. That I can take. But when you start acting as if March 27th is somehow magically financially different than March 15th for most folks or trying to claim that is not a busy window defies logic.

          • @M’iau M’iaut Because most people arent and will not able to score a 3DS on day 1. I do not see what there is, heh, even in Japan we see that on Day 1…3DS games didnt blow other games out of the water, so the same can be said for here in the US as well as in Europe.

            Pokemon is so early in the month, before a pay day for “most people” that I do not see how it would affect Jikandia. I find its release coming before those “big titles and handheld” to be more suitable then pushing it off to April or May as Im quite sure I stated the game will be ignored if it released once the 3DS has settled into the market.

            Trails in the sky is being released on March 29th…I think March 15th is better than March 29th to be honest. Releasing before a big name release is better than releasing after. Though at the end of the day, both games will only get maybe 100K sales or less…

          • And do you think people will buy stuff at the midle of march knowing they will use 250$ and more 1 week later for the 3DS :P, and that there are people that hate shooters it doesnt means everyone hate shooters, i’m actually pretty fond to resistance games, and call of duty (even if havent owned any call of duty, i enjoyed it played in a friend’s house a lot).

            Still even without that, there is still many games being released…

          • I doubt most of the people who are aiming to score a 3DS on day 1 and a game on release date, are truly looking at Jikandia…

            Though considering it is our big Tax Return season in the US…people do have extra money available to them to spend on games

      • Because releasing it after the 3DS launch would be beneficial? It would be forgotten in the midst of post 3DS launch crowds, although its a psp game, it would be lost in the 3DS hype and awe.

        Plus the PSP displays in stores seemed to have decreased in presence, I actually have to search the store for them :( when in the past it would have an entire wall or even its own large section in a display case.

        • Yes it would be, is a lot better after than in the middle of it release, people will be more worried about getting a 3DS first, it’s logical -_-.

          Is like releasing a new game in the middle of a final fantasy game release, everyone would go for the new FF and FF’s shadow would not let the new game be seen

          • Arent you suggesting that its better to release it before the launch? When would you want them to release the game, July/August, way late? By then they would be focusing on (the rumored June release) of Agarest War 0 (oh btw it seems to have a limited edition, excite!) and then there is their Arcana Heart.

            I just think it would be silly to release it anytime after March to be honest, hence why April seems to have such few new releases as well as nothing major releasing the first, second, and third week after the launch of the 3ds…

          • It’s already too late to release it before, it would had been better at least a month before… But oh well, maybe it will still sell but slower, i feel there are more people that won’t day 1 buy the 3DS, call it a hunch (still, i don’t doubt it will be sold out fast), but i think there are many people that will be waiting for a particuar game to be released before buying it.

            And yes, Aksys has to make a pre order bonus for Agarest Zero!, i still have those 10gigs used on my ps3 T_T

          • M’iau M’iaut

            There would be nothing wrong with a late Spring window. If we are only dealing with titles of interest to folks here, even around Agarest would only have Overclocked in the near timeframe.

            It’s not so much an issue of getting ‘lost’ — many Jikandia potential buyers know it exists. It’s that it is being released in a full tight window for the niche it happens to be in. And is one that because it is only a story centered action platformer will end up losing to the likes of AT and its ‘too hot for prinny’ calendar set.

          • @M’iau M’iaut I really dont understand the issue here. Ive seen ads Jikandia in magazines at least, so the people who are interested have had ample time to see and prepare to have 29.99 available for the game. I do not see the game being in a store in the position to where someone is just waltzing in willing to buy it from seeing its boxart on the store shelf (if they havent hidden the psp section in some far dark corner in the store away from the glitzy and lavishly ornated 3DS section.

            Youre making it seem like ATQ and it are really going to be landing 500K+ unit sales…if they wait, then it will be competing against other AKsys titles, Arcana Heart 3, Record of Agarest War Zero, who knows Cave Story 3DS from the other company could be out.

            Im quite sure their choice of March 15th, took into account all the things we have presented and they found it to be the most appropriate day.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            No Tsuna, I’m claiming that the niche title buyer is going to look at ensuring they have their Yakuzas and AT3 bought before a cartoon platformer. That Trails, Okamiden and 3rd Birthday are also likely in line before it as well. That Crysis will get some folks buying an out of niche title because they have friends that frag. I am saying that it would probably be best to even do a last minute delay of a few weeks for this one particular title. Everyone’s going to be busy enough as it is.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            The first Shadow Hearts had it’s release ruined by an idiot decision to release the same week as FFX.

  • This game definitely fits my M.O. =)

    • My Operation?
      Mobilisation Oportunity?
      Mistery Order?
      Masacre Orthogonal?
      Mail Orthopedics?

      WHAT, WHAT IS M.O.?!

        • Oh thanks… I’ve heard about it before, i think maybe in a game, but seems to be used a lot more by English speakers, uh?After all this time thinking what it was, i dont think i will forget it now that i know what it means, now my english’s net slang has been powered up!People dont really use that latin phrase much in spanish… Mostly because you can easily know what that means just by knowing spanish

          • You probably saw it in the first Ace Attorney game.

          • Yeah, that or Hotel Dusk, those are the only crime related game i’ve played (most probably said by Edgeword) xD

          • Zero_Destiny

            Edgeworth’s just that smart. I still remember that story where he explained the origin for the Chinese character of contradiction. Good story with the strongest halberd and strongest shield. Man the things Edgy has taught me. lol

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Try and watch any one of the twenty billion versions of CSI, Criminal Minds or any other US crime show. It’s one of those ‘official’ sounding terms that are supposed to make us believe actors are really cops.

          • Actually, it was Edgeworth that explained it to Wright during a trial.

          • Rofl, before i went to sleep i started to re-play phoenix wright, and i was in the MaskDemasque case, and phoenix started to talk about MaskDeMasque Modus operandi xD, i was like “omfg, this is too perfect to be councidence”

          • @WildArms There is no such thing as coincidence in this world. The only thing is hitsuzen.

          • But it isnt english net slang…

          • I don’t care, i still powered up, stop being so jealous

          • Well, i never said it was coincidence xD, i said it was too perfect for it to be it, i mean, i havent heard about M.O. since maybe the last time i played Ace Attoreny like 3 or 4 years ago, and now that i talk about it, it just pops up when i start to replay the game in the first 5 minutes of gameplay

      • Modus operandi.

        Edit: herp derp how did I miss all those other comments below mine
        I think I need to refresh the page more often

  • FireCouch

    I played the demo, and it was pretty fun. The only complaints I have are that the music can be pretty bad at times, and the text box is incredibly small and moves at a ridiculously slow pace.

    • I also enjoyed the gameplay quite a bit. But as you mentioned, and it’s something I never thought I would ever complain about and have such an issue with, were indeed those god-awful lethargic 3 word text boxes. A surprising turn-off for me who was very excited to picking this up prior to playing the demo. I’ll have to see how reviews turn out and maybe pick the game up on clearance.

    • Joanna

      I know this is late, but I’ve got a question to someone who played the demo. I couldn’t figure out how to open chests in the demo nor go through the door and I had to wait for the timer to run out and automatically take me to the next part of the level. I tired all the buttons before the timer ran out and after and no luck. This is the first time something like this has happened to me and I don’t want to buy the full game if I can’t do these basic things. :/

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    Maybe I’m slow, but this game looks more like paper cut-out the more I see it… must be the slightly muted color palette.

    Here’s some suggestions for new games Opus… VNS 30! RTS 30! Shogi 30! H 30!

  • Can’t wait to play the full version because when I tried the demo…I kind of got addicted and I wanted more, but it’s only a demo. I can’t sink all my time in one single demo.

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