Skatter Tech was able to obtain an exclusive interview with Capcom Producer, Motohide Eshiro. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the name, Eshiro is the one of the brilliant minds behind designing the new Okamiden title along with other Capcom favorites such as Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny. There had been a lot of exciting progress with the Okamiden demo at this year’s E3, and I was able to ask a few unanswered questions regarding the Nintendo DS title and all the high expectations behind it.
I began the interview with the most speculated question I had: whether or not Okamiden, a handheld title, could live up to the immense amount of gameplay and value the original Okami offered on the PlayStation 2 and Wii consoles. This question may seem like an obvious one since the original Okami had our protagonist, sun goddess incarnation Ammaterasu, spend about 40 hours fighting demons, upgrading weapons and celestial brush abilities, and an unbelievable sense of exploration. It’s tough to expect Chibiterasu, recently confirmed as the son of Ammy as expected, to have the same amount of depth in a handheld sequel.
Motohide Eshiro, with the aid of his translator Miguel, assured me that Okamiden had been designed from the ground up with the ultimate goal of utilizing the Nintendo DS in every way possible. This included a full, complex adventure game that would not fall short of what we expect out of the Okami franchise. I proceeded to ask just exactly how long we would expect to control Chibiterasu and his multiple partners as they vanquish demons from their home land of Nippon. Eshiro answered that around 25 hours of gameplay would accompany the player’s first play through.
With his selective choice of words I was immediately determined to know just what he meant by “first play through,” and whether or not there would be reason for replay. These incentives I refer to could be in the form of collectibles, hidden weapons, or brush techniques, like those in the original Okami. Unfortunately, Eshiro responded by telling me that there would not be as much to collect as in the original, although there would be something unique to bring players back to the adventure that would would stay as a surprise. There may even be a few new brush techniques to change things up for the fans of the series.
After questioning him about the disadvantages and the concerns of creating a sequel on the handheld, I asked what were some of the strong advantages he was taking while using the Nintendo DS’s touchscreen and stylus. Eshiro explained that Okamiden is incredibly precise since you can control everything from celestial brush techniques to your partner with the stylus. Another mechanic that has changed is how the camera will follow Chibiterasu as you play and will constantly show the player what they need to be shown. I asked how this will affect the amount of exploration the user has and his response was that while there isn’t an total absence of it, there won’t be nearly as much overworld to explore.
Motohide Eshiro was really enthusiastic about Okamiden pleasing fans of the Okami universe, and that Chibiterasu’s adventure would be just as artistic and divine as his mother’s. Even though I pushed to him towards admitting some of the inevitable shortcomings, such as shorter gameplay and less exploration, he assured me all these changes were for the best to assure that gameplay would play as smooth and fun as possible. Chibiterasu has some big footsteps to fill and all in a tiny package, but gamers will have to wait till early next year to see whether the adorable celestial hero can make it big.