D3 Publisher is an interesting company. In Japan they have a healthy supply of budget and often offbeat games, but in North America the general public is more likely to associate them with Naruto or Ben 10 instead of Earth Defense Force 2017. Next year D3 will embrace their roots and bring the Onechanbara, perhaps their most well known “Simple Series” series, outside of Japan. Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers for the Wii and Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad for the Xbox 360 are coming out early next year. To find out more about D3 Publisher’s plans for the Onechanbara series I spoke with Oohashi Toshiro from D3 Japan’s Consumer Business Division. Toshiro-san is part of the team that works directly Tamsoft who are the developers of the Onechanbara games.
D3 Publisher is finally bringing the Onechanbara games to North America. What prompted the decision?
Onechanbara has been part of the Simple Series in Japan for years and is very popular among gamers. It made perfect sense to bring the game to North America as there was a lot of interest by fans in the US, who have been captivated by the charm of Aya and Saki.
Can you tell us about the “Legend of the Onechanbara”?
Very little is known about the history of Aya and Saki as they themselves are in search of the secret. The legend of Onechanbara is a deep one that involves the girls Imichi ancestors. Both Aya and Saki are out to discover what causes the baneful blood inside them to make them go into incredible rage. Until that is figured out, the sisters will continue to fight.
Are the stories going to be written in a campy way?
Since people who like zombie adventures will play this game, we wanted it to consciously be a story that shows a real bloody battle. Also, since the game plays in a system where they would run around soaked in blood, we called the baneful blood “Imichi”, and made it the focus of the story. Aya and Saki both struggle and fight through their instincts based on this Imichi, so we built a story around the existence of Imichi.
How does the Wii game, Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers, utilize motion control?
Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers utilizes the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to control. This gets the player involved by using various combination attacks as you shake the Wii Remote. Shaking to the side will do an attack that will shake off zombies as you attack them. Also, you can thrust forward the Wii Remote pushing into the zombies.
Are there any changes planned for Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers like altering the difficulty or adding new moves that aren’t found in Onechanbara: Revolution?
The game has been balanced for compliance in Japan. The mere thing is that the graphics are now in higher resolution in comparison to the Japanese version so we were able to implement and present something that is more visually appealing.
What about the voice acting? Will there be a Japanese language option?
The entire game is using the same voices in the original, however so that US gamers can get the full experience, we have included English subtitles to follow along.
Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad for the Xbox 360 is coming out around the same time too. What makes this game different from Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers?
Story wise, the Xbox 360 version comes first, then the Wii. In visuals, the Xbox 360 version is for High Definition use, while the Wii version is in standard resolution. For the Wii version we used various Post-processing methods (a way to have the screen display more effectively) to have a nice finish. The difference in the game is that the Wii version utilizes the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to showcase controls. The player will swing the controls to have a true sensory experience. A fun fact for the Xbox 360 version, there is a mission where Aya will ride a motorcycle to slash zombie animals. Each game has been developed to offer some really fun features.
I played the Xbox 360 game and recall long loading times. There was actually a zombie killing mini-game players played while waiting for the main game. Is D3 planning to speed the game up?
The zombie killing mini-game is a fun extra for gamers to experience and I feel like gamers will have fun with the game as they wait to beat the larger zombies in 720p beauty.
Will D3 sell the downloadable content for the Xbox 360 game separately or will the extra packs be bundled with the game?
The details on the downloadable content have not been revealed yet but the content will be a nice addition for Bikini Samurai Squad where gamers will be able to dress their favorite characters in a variety of different ways.
Are there any plans to expand Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad with new content for North America?
The downloadable content being planned is the same as what Japan has for downloadable content. It is undecided whether we will have additional content in the future.
The Onechanbara series started off as budget games in Japan, but both of the games coming out in here were priced closer to regular games in Japan. How much does D3 plan to retail these two titles for in North America?
Onechanbara is a budget title in the US and will not be a full price game when it hits store shelves early next year.
What’s the future of the Onechanbara series? Will we see a PlayStation 3 game? A Wii sequel something along the lines of Dragon Quest Swords? Where would you like to take it?
The possibility of any sequel can be on the 360, PS3 or Wii. Nothing has been decided at this point. One thing I can say for a fact is that it will be a game that has elements of the Xbox 360 “Onechanbara Vortex” (editors note: known as Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad outside Japan) and its grotesque style combined with colorful action packed elements of Wii “Onechanbara Revolution”. It will be even more grotesque with powered up enemies! Of course, the sexy Samurai Sisters will make an entrance wearing the series’ best sexy costume ever!
Images courtesy of D3 Publisher.