Having A Child Inspired Dokuro’s Director To Make Charming Games Instead Of Gory Ones

By Spencer . September 28, 2012 . 7:04pm

Dokuro from Game Arts and Gungho Online Entertainment America has a charming chalk art style, but before making inviting worlds Dokuro director and Game Arts’ Deputy General Manager Noriaki Kazama was part of Team Ninja.



"Previously, I used to make rather gory games," Kazama said while speaking to Siliconera. "I had a baby and started visiting bookstores where I picked up these children’s books and I was very inspired by the art style." Kazama showed me two books with whimsical images of animals quite different from Ninja Gaiden Sigma which he worked on earlier in his career. "Within Game Arts, they had a contest on who had the best game concept and somebody from the sound department suggested the game concept where a knight carries a princess. It’s a pretty orthodox game concept so we thought it would be more interesting of one of the enemy characters became the protagonist and that’s how the game was created."


Dokuro begins with a Princess trapped in a tower. You, a lowly skeleton guard, has a change of heart and frees her. While the Princess can walk out of her cell, she needs your help to navigate through traps so she can escape. Being an action puzzle game, players have to clear a path for the Princess by defeating other monsters, pulling switches to create platforms, and using magic chalk to create water or string.




I think Dokuro has a bit of Team Ninja spirit in it. Not the graphics, of course, but in the tight controls. Dokuro is responsive and when you over jump you can sense the timing right away. I noticed this when I played some of the challenge levels, stages where you don’t have to worry about escorting the Princess. The stage Kazama showed me was a race to the top of a tower. I had to leap from one floating platform to another while a spiked wall rolled up the screen. Touching the spikes would kill Dokuro, so jumps had to be precise and more importantly fast. Dokuro also has boss battles and the first one is a bit of a brainteaser. I guess I shouldn’t spoil the "solution," but you need reflexes and wit to defeat the jumping monster.


Wait, wasn’t Dokuro about a knight carrying a princess? Yeah, you can still do that, but only after drinking a potion which temporarily transforms Dokuro into a dashing hero.




"But Kazama-san, Dokuro can’t carry the Princess, so does that mean guys that aren’t dashing can’t carry beautiful women," I said teasing Kazama a little bit. Kazama laughed and replied, "Yeah, that wasn’t intentional. It just happened to be that way!"


"At the idea contest we had within the company, the catch phrase for the idea was ‘Have You Saved a Princess lately?’ It’s a basic idea in terms of video games, but we thought you know we haven’t saved a Princess lately. So, it was sort of fresh as an idea," reminisced Kazama.


Dokuro comes out for PlayStation Vita as a digital download in October.

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  • negineBIT

    D’awwww.. Every father has a mushy side too. So sweet

  • Solomon_Kano

    Gotta say, I’m glad he had a kid then.

    In this day and age, it’s always a great thing to see a game with unique visual style and a “cleaner” image amid all of these photorealistic (or not photorealistic) games filled with gore. That’s something I really appreciate. So thanks, Kazama and Kazama’s kid!

  • Lovely interview.

    Had my eyes (and my wallet ready) on Dokuro since the very first day it was announced.

  • We need more like these!

  • sandra10

    I love cute and charming games. Unfortunately, most developers don’t understand the subtlety needed to create a truly charming game. Or main character for that matter.

    But this looks like Escape Plan, a game that drips with style and charm. That makes me hopeful. 

  • Raze

    0:43 in the teaser vid…
    Dokuro = Nyx?


    I wouldn’t call the controls tight at all. The floaty and loose platform physics in addition to the way the game animates gave me very strong flash game vibes which was a instant turnoff.

  • It is nice seeing developers try new things especially for this reason.

  • almostautumn

    Very cool to hear, and I like how they went about this; concept, then free creativity.

    Personally I didn’t like Dokuro; there’s so much great stuff such as carrying the princess, transformation and the magic chalks, but the choice to put all those unique things as secondary to pushing crates and pulling switches just made it feel dull and vacant. I am looking forward to Picoto Knights though.

  • Lester Paredes

    I am looking forward to this game. I hope it is good, because it just looks adorable. 

  • xxx128

    Could be charming AND gory. Video game violence isnt real violence and those of us who can actually distinguish between reality and fiction, i am sure would agree with that. Keep the videolence coming! Apart from that, charming game… gonna buy it sooner or later.

  • Gigawings

    Nice to hear that. I think he still have some elements from his gory days (death traps and skeleton man main character) but he can make him charming and loveable. Also people always love the underdog.

    I hope the ending will be good.

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