Click: What’s One Piece: Unlimited World Red all about?
KW: For those who aren’t too familiar with One Piece, the story is about the charming adventures of Pirate Luffy and his friends. One of the main pillars of Unlimited World Red is to re-illustrate the boundless adventures that Luffy has, and so many of the gameplay aspects are based upon presenting the player with unlimited adventures and so there’s lots of things to do.
Click: What kind of gameplay mechanics have been included to help illustrate this to the player?
KW: One of the battle systems is based on this concept called ‘Strong Words’ where you can communicate with your partners using words. Because One Piece doesn’t really have equipment that you can put on the characters so instead you can equip a word or a phrase. By using these phrases, you can strengthen the teamwork of your characters and communicate with them, giving you lots of bonuses and special effects.
Click: It sounds really interesting! How would you classify it, if you had to pigeonhole it into a genre?
KW: It’s mostly an action-adventure game so while you’re adventuring around you will meet up with enemies and fight them in real-time. Using a combination of buttons, you can pull of some really neat combos and team-coordinated attacks.
Click: You mentioned communicating with your partners; does that refer to other players?
KW: So there is multiplayer but, typically speaking, in single player you play as a lead character and have two support characters. Within the gameplay, at any time, you can change who the lead character is, so you’re basically controlling a three player party – but you can play with other players. For the 3DS and the Vita you can play up to four players co-op and for the PS3 and Wii U, you can play up to two players co-op.
Click: Are there any aspects of the game that are exclusive to multiplayer?
KW: There are definitely some quests that are geared more towards having fun with friends rather than playing by yourself and the benefits of having friends play with you for quests is significant in my personal opinion. Trying to defeat a giant boss by strategizing with friends rather than relying on AI is a big difference.
Click: Are there any competitive aspects to the multiplayer or is it all cooperative?
KW: Definitely all cooperative, that’s one of the big focuses in One Piece. You don’t really see Luffy competing with his own pirate crew so we wanted to focus on the teamwork instead. However, there is a competitive aspect to the game in the new mode called Battle Coliseum Mode where players can fight to see who is strongest. It strongly resembles the latest episodes of One Piece in the manga right now, where the Doflamingo is in Dressrosa. Doflamingo actually appears in Battle Coliseum and if you beat him, which is the ultimate goal, then rewards you with fame and fortune.
Click: Are the events in the game based off of events in the anime or is it some kind of spin-off?
KW: It is kind of a spin-off. It’s a game-exclusive storyline where it starts out as the Straw Hat Pirates cruising on the seas and they find this mysterious raccoon named Pato, who wants Luffy and them to take him to a particular island so that he can meet up with someone. On the way, Luffy and his friends start visiting these very familiar islands with pass boss characters appearing again, so very popular characters like Crocodile and Eneru appear in this new world, even though they are from much earlier story arcs. So it is kind of spin-off where you will see familiar characters again but it is a new exclusive storyline with Pato and his boss, Red, whose aims we don’t really know yet.
Click: Where does the game draw its primary design inspiration from?
KW: It actually draws most of its inspiration from the One Piece anime, making it very vibrant. We wanted to capture the vibrant life of One Piece that is illustrated in the anime. Past One Piece games have focused on the manga aspects but this one is definitely more focused on the anime.
Click: If you had to choose, what’s your favourite part of the game?
KW: What stands out most to me is definitely the two new characters, Pato and Red, who are original characters exclusively designed for this game by the author of One Piece. So Eiichiro Oda, he’s the author of One Piece, he created these two characters for us and I believe that the storyline that revolves around these two characters is absolutely charming and fulfilling.
Click: Are there any DLCs, expansions or additional content planned?
KW: Actually, yes. So for the Day One Edition, you have the Straw Hat crew, which is nine members, who all get their fifteenth anniversary costumes available to download. As well as those, you also get one quest where you can fight with Luffy and Ace together plus another Luffy costume called Strong World Adventure.
Click: What platforms will the game be coming out on and when can we expect the release?
KW: The game is going to be coming out for four consoles: the 3DS, the Vita, PlayStation 3 and the Wii U. The 3DS, the Vita and the PlayStation 3 versions will be coming out as both retail and digital copies while the Wii U version is only available by download. You can expect the game in July.