Oninaki Directors Discuss Inspirations and Differences with Final Fantasy, Live A Live

New Oninaki gameplay; Takashi Tokita also explained why Oninaki has such an edgy story and how the game's difficulty was balanced.

Oninaki, the newest action RPG from Tokyo RPG Factory, launches in less than ten days. As the game’s release draws near, Dengeki Online published an interview with Oninaki‘s Creative Producer Takashi Tokita, Producer Ryutaro Sasaki, and Director Atsushi Hashimoto. Takashi Tokita is also known as Chrono Trigger and Live A Live‘s Director. In the interview, the trio discussed what inspired them for Oninaki’s story and job system, among other things. Square Enix is also regularly publishing new gameplay videos for Oninaki, you can find the two last ones below.

First off, they explained why they decided to launch a demo for Oninaki, which is currently downloadable on the game’s Steam page. According to Director Hashimoto, one of the main objectives of the Oninaki demo was to make players realize Oninaki isn’t a “high-speed action game”, but an “action RPG”.

Director Hashimoto also spoke about how Oninaki is similar to Final Fantasy V in how you can have fun and choose which jobs to level. Just like in FFV, you’ll be able to clear Oninaki even if you don’t level and use all your jobs. You can just keep using the ones you like the most. Hashimoto added that Oninaki was balanced so that you can clear the game even if you stick to a single job your whole playthrough.

Takashi Tokita mentioned how Oninaki is different from Final Fantasy III, which is reputed to have very difficult boss fights depending on which jobs you use. He specifically mentioned the Hein boss fight, which is reputed to be extremely hard unless you use a Scholar in your party. Oninaki doesn’t have any boss fights like that.

The trio also spoke about Oninaki’s story and how dark and gritty it is, even more so than I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear. Atsushi Hashimoto mentioned that while he likes writing dark stories, it’s actually Takashi Tokita who pushed the staff into making Oninaki‘s story this dark. As such, Oninaki‘s scenarist Hirotaka Inaba was initially holding back, but he went all out after a while. Nonetheless, Tokita mentioned how they couldn’t make Oninaki‘s story too dark either, as that would make the game’s rating too high, losing potential players. They mentioned how they ended up self-censoring things to make the game get a rating of Cero B/12 and older.

At the end of the interview, Takashi Tokita explained how in the past, games didn’t have the technology to be more expressive, so nearly everything was portrayed through the story and the text itself. He mentioned games needed stories that were strong enough to fight by themselves, hence why a single good story could make or break a game in terms of reputation and sales. This created an environment when developers would focus a lot on the story, and write stories that couldn’t be portrayed in anime or movies. This is why Tokita decided to make Live a Live‘s iconic story back then, and how he decided on Oninaki‘s as well.

Lastly, Tokita added how he believes we’re in an era where ethics and regulations for content are becoming harsher. So he decided to make a story that tries to push the limits and does as much as it can. He wanted to show just how far you can go with an RPG. He believes that he achieved that with Oninaki and that it’s the biggest point showing his involvement with the game.

Personally, I can’t say I’m really hyped about Oninaki, but that was quite an interesting interview hence why I decided to cover it. I wouldn’t say I 100% agree with Tokita’s last idea either. While it’s true regulations and censorship are getting harsher, it really depends from content to content, media to media. Manga and light novels aren’t nearly as affected as games for example. And in games as well there is still so much content that doesn’t get “regulated” I personally think he’s worrying too much. Well, not that I care enough to discuss it more though.

Anyway, Oninaki launches on August 22 on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07

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