There are many One Piece arcs Bandai Namco could draw from to create a One Piece video game. One Piece Romance Dawn covers the East Blue Saga and Marineford Arc while One Piece Unlimited World Red has an original story. In an interview with Siliconera, Koji Nakajima, producer at Bandai Namco Games, explained how they pick stories for the One Piece games.
"Being able to relive the One Piece storyline is exciting from a fan’s perspective. However, we also want to expand on the One Piece universe and explore side stories. Every year, when we make a One Piece game we decide what we should focus on, a certain arc or something new," said Nakajima. "Ganbarion wrote the story for Red. The new characters for this game, Pato and Yadoya, were made by the series creator, Eiichiro Oda. We work very closely with Toei Animation and Shueisha to make sure everything we write stays in line with the One Piece universe."
Nakajima explained that after all of the characters have been created the entire cast goes though an adjustment period where they tweak characters and make sure all of the attacks are rendered to keep the feel of the One Piece universe. This takes about two to three months to complete.
"One of the main pillars in creating Unlimited World Red was making sure players could experience the adventurous pirate lifestyle that Luffy and his friends live everyday. Instead of just focusing on battles, I wanted to make sure there was pirate life elements and adventure in the game. I like the fishing parts," Nakajima laughed. "When we updated Red, I wanted to add an emphasis on the battling part of One Piece which is why the coliseum was added. Trafalgar Law is a very popular character and he’s really cool. Boa Hancock is a personal favorite."
One Piece Unlimited World Red also has giant boss battles, like a Red Dragon fight early on. Nakajima said this was one of his favorite fights. "One of the biggest challenges with big enemies is it’s really easy to determine their movement patterns. We wanted to minimize this and give the dragon more patterns," said when talking about how the team had to balance the Red Dragon fight with the Straw Hat crew’s attacks.
What’s next for the One Piece series? I asked if Bandai Namco plans to continue the One Piece: Pirate Warriors series. "Right now, we’re not sure yet," Nakajima answered. I also asked if he is considering to release the One Piece Unlimited Cruise games in North America since both of the Wii games were released in Europe. "It’s been awhile since we released Unlimited Cruise and [Unlimited Cruise] SP. We don’t have plans to bring those over, but we would love to look into it if fans are interested."
"I’ve made lots of One Piece games. Right now, I would like to make a fighting game that puts all of the Devil Fruit abilities and Haki in the spotlight. If I could make a fighting game, I would want it to capture the flashiness of the Devil Fruit abilities like how [Admiral] Aokiji uses ice and can create it at will," Nakajima said when I asked him what kind of One Piece game he would personally like to create.