During Tokyo Game Show 2018, D3 Publisher announced the return of the Onechanbara series with Onechanbara Origin.
The game will actually be a remake of the first two titles of the franchise The Onechanbara and The Onechanbara 2, released for PS2 in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Not a lot of information has been provided thus far, so we talked with Producer Nobuyuki Okajima to ask him a few questions about what we can expect.
Giuseppe Nelva: You recently announced Onechanbara Origin and the reveal mentioned that it comes with a bit of a reinterpretation of the original games. Could you give me some details about that?
NO: This year will be the fifteenth anniversary of the Onechanbara series. The hardcore fans have followed the story of the series ever since, but the new fans aren’t aware of what happened that long ago. We decided to remake The Onechanbara and The Onechanbara 2, and we tweaked the story a little bit.
GN: Are you planning to release the game in the west?
NO: Of course, we’re going to do it.
GN: On PS4, PC, or maybe both?
NO: I think on PS4.
GN: Can I consider it a promise?
NO: Yes, a plan is already in place.
GN: Could you tell me the reason why you decided to go with a new character designer?
NO: The main reason is that we wanted to use a new “toon rendering” engine. In the previous games, the artists actually created the 3D models themselves, but in order to use this tech, we had to change the 2D artwork.
GN: Why did you select Katsumi Enami? [Editor’s Note: known for The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki by Nihon Falcom among other things]
NO: We didn’t want to change the original models too drastically, as we preferred to preserve a similar style. We actually conducted a lot of tests to achieve this, but when I saw Katsumi Enami’s designs, I really liked them.
GN: Is this a game that you could consider expanding to other platforms like the Switch or the Xbox One, maybe for the west?
NO: We’re always considering it, and it’s definitely possible, but right now we’re focusing on PS4.
GN: Is this actually a workflow preference for you and D3 Publisher? I noticed that most of your games are only on one platform. Do you prefer focusing on a single platform for each game?
NO: Of course there is that, and PS4 is easier for us to develop, as it’s the most popular console in Japan. But we’re always looking at the possibility to port our games to different platforms.
GN: There are certainly some in the west that take offense at the kind of alluring content included in a game like this. Aren’t you worried about that?
NO: We’re taking it very seriously, and always considering how far we can go. Specifically for Onechanbara, I think we’re right on the edge. We can’t do more than this, but we don’t want to give up the sexy and violent content. I believe we should be ok, but who knows?
GN: Now that you’re opening to the west, are you considering to bring over to North America and Europe any of the older games that never made it before? I’m thinking about Happy Manager, for instance.
NO: [Laughs] I would really like to do it, but I think it’s going to be tough because there are a few issues with the game. It’s kind of hard to describe them here, but Happy Manager was difficult to release even in Japan.
GN: What about Steam? With their new policies, they’ll allow developers to release pretty much anything as long as it isn’t illegal.
NO: I might think about Steam. Besides Happy Manager, there are many fans asking for Dream Club, so I think we might consider that first.
GN: Which game of the Dream Club series?
NO: Maybe Dream Club Zero… We might consider to bring it to PS4 and Steam…
GN: Would it be ok on PS4?
NO: I’m not sure! [Laughs]
GN: Do you have any message you’d like to relay to the western Onechanbara fans?
NO: For all the Onechanbara fans all over the world, I think Origins is going to be really cool with all new graphics, two games united in one, and optimized storytelling. All the hardcore fans can enjoy the games again, and new fans who never played them can jump in as well. Please look forward to it!
Onechanbara Origin will release in Japan in 2019 exclusively for PS4. At the moment there is no information on when it might be released in the west.