TGS '07: Project O (working title) Impressions
We lift the veil on Project O for the Nintendo Wii, the promising RPG/RTS with an impressive pedigree.
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Pre-TGS, very little was known about Ousama Monogatari--tentatively titled Project O for Western markets. What gamers did know was that the game was being put together by a team that included some of the leading creators from games such as Harvest Moon, Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Quest VIII, and more--an impressive pedigree, to be sure. Now that TGS is here, Japanese publisher Marvelous has lifted the veil somewhat on Project O. The game's first trailer has been released, and it hints as to what we can expect from this hybrid of role-playing and real-time strategy. GameSpot also chatted with producer Yoshirou Kimura to glean more information, although with the game not due out until 2008, Kimura-san was a little demure on some of the major storyline/control aspects of the game.
However, we have a rough storyline for Project O. The game, which is set in a medieval fantasy world, follows the adventures of a young boy thrust into greatness. The boy--named Corobo Bred--is described by Kimura-san as a lonely, timid individual who one day finds a magical crown in the forest. The crown unlocks Corobo's hidden potential and charisma, and he is promptly elevated to the position of king of his small village by an elderly knight (who we see in the game's trailer riding a cow). From here, the game will task players with guiding the young king as he attempts to grow his kingdom and unite the entire land.
Sounds like typical role-playing game fodder, right? Not exactly. Though players will directly control Corobo as he undertakes quests and grows in experience, role-playing seems as if it will form only half of Project O's gameplay. Aside from simply managing Corobo, players will be able to assign tasks to villagers in the style of a real-time strategy game. These can include mundane tasks such as clearing boulders, as well as forming armies, and attacking large creatures. In Project O's trailer, there are several scenes of Corobo (complete with large gold crown) leading groups of villagers around as they build structures, destroy a large rock blocking a path, dig up treasure, and even take on a dragon.
Exactly how the RPG and RTS elements will mix in the final game is being kept under wraps at the moment. Kimura-san was also keeping secret exactly how the game will be controlled using the Wii Remote; he said that the control scheme was still a work in progress. However, he added that the team behind Project O would not be putting in movement gestures purely for the sake of it. Gestures will have to feel right within the context of gameplay before they are implemented.
As for why the Wii was chosen in the first place as the console for Project O, Kimura-san was more forthcoming. Kimura-san said the Wii was the ideal platform for the game because it had the widest demographic of owners in the market, as opposed to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3's more core following. Kimura-san said that, though Project O was aimed at a younger audience, the developing team's intention is to create a game that all age groups will enjoy.
From we can see in the trailer, Project O's art style certainly does skew a little younger, with the main characters sporting cute anime-like features. The game's medieval setting is represented well, although the monsters in the game will be original creations based on mythology rather than straight carbon-copies.
With a talented team behind it and an interesting mix of game genres wrapped up in one package, Project O is shaping up to be one of the most interesting games to watch out for in 2008. GameSpot will have more on Project O in the near future.