Buoyed by the reception of Pirate Warriors 3, the creative minds at Bandai Namco are eager to launch One Piece: Burning Blood across the globe in 2016.
Swapping the Musou-styled set-up of previous entires in the series, Burning Blood breaks new ground by incorporating a 3 vs. 3 combat system, which was just one of the topics discussed during our interview with Koji Nakajima and Hiroyuki Kaneko —Series Producer and Game Director, respectively.
Like all of our interviews that will be rolling out from Jump Festa, our all-too-brief discussion with Nakajima and Kaneko was held in conjunction with the folks over at Geek Culture.
The previous One Piece games were Musou-styled games, whereas this will be the first 1 vs. 1 entry in the series, what are some of the special features of this set-up? For example, in the Musuo games you can’t call upon extra characters…
We’re focusing on the adventure of the One Piece series, and you can have an experience with Luffey through original stories. This particular type of gameplay, though, is focusing on original fighting scene. Usually Luffey is seen fighting against a strong enemy each episode, and sometimes he’s fighting against a fusion of enemies. We tried to approach that situation in this title.
So, these differences also extend to the gameplay?
In this title, we tried to reproduce the detail of Devil Fruit. So, you can create Devil Fruit by your hand in the case of Pirate Warriors, but you can create original combos, too. We could create the detail, effect and expression of ability in this game.
In terms of localization, is the plan for full localization including voice? Or just subtitles?
We are localizing the text for each country, but for the voice we are only using Japanese voiceover. The reason is because we want to produce the original atmosphere of the One Piece series.
Because it uses original voice actors from the anime, correct?
Yes, that’s correct.
In terms of the game itself, by the time it release, how many characters can we expect in the final roster?
At the current moment, we can’t announce anything official. But this is a fighting game, so we know that the amount of characters is very important for this genre. We plan to have a big roster, so stay tuned.
The decision to allow the players to choose three fighters is very interesting, as it opens up many possible combinations during any given battle. How has it been developing for fans and newcomers, perhaps making it more accessible to those who aren’t familiar with the genre?
The reason why Burning Blood includes a three vs. three melee system, if it is a one vs. one, then maybe it would not balance so well. For example, a player can utilize different Devil Fruits to counter different attacks. So, if a player is in that situation, they can quickly swift to another character anytime they want, opening up specific tactics and strategies.
We’ve seen in the trailer Luffy utilising his Gear Fourth ability, which is a nice touch of fan service for the anime community. Can we expect any other easter eggs or secrets of this nature?
Actually, we have some characters that [haven’t been unveiled], so it will be a surprise for you. We are also choosing characters that will be making their first appearance in a One Piece title, such as Drake. We will try to draw out the specific abilities and techniques for players to enjoy them in the game.
A special thanks to Bandai Namco and in particular Koji Nakajima and Hiroyuki Kaneko for answering some of our questions. One Piece: Burning Blood will make its debut in Japan come April 2016, before pummelling its way onto PS4s across North America and Europe in June.