As the series celebrates its 25th anniversary, it’s easy to see why one piece has gone on to become the highest-selling manga series of all time. For a quarter of a century, Eiichiro Oda has told some of the most touching and intense stories ever put to paper. The popularity of both the original manga and its anime adaptation are testaments to the consistent quality of Oda’s manga. With its latest announcement, one piece is also likely gearing up to deliver its best video game yet with One Piece Odyssey.
one piece‘s history with video games has been rocky ever since the series got its start in 1997. Some titles like Koei Tecmo’s One Piece: Pirate Warriors series have seen some amount of commercial and critical success. However, the series’ video game representation pales in comparison to other contemporary manga and anime franchises like dragon ball and Naruto, which have respectful, if not always critically acclaimed video game adaptations. This could change later this year, however, as One Piece Odyssey is looking to be the perfect one piece game for both die-hard fans of the series and newcomers.
The Problem With One Piece Games
one piece is a series that has been running with on/off weekly chapters for almost 25 years now, resulting on over 1000 chapters of non-stop storytelling. Retaining an audience for so long is no small feat, and even the most groundbreaking manga series of all time amount to only a fraction of the story content available in one piece.
Being the globetrotting adventure that it is, one piece‘s world has gone on to become one of the most identifiable and fleshed out lands of storytelling in media, with every aspect of it being fleshed out in intense detail, while still retaining an air of mystery, and many of its secrets still yet to be revealed. This, of course, makes it ripe for fleshing out through media like video games, especially with the rise of open-world games over the years.
Unfortunately, this is not an area many one piece games wish to explore. Many of the early adaptations of one piece were, like franchises such as dragon ball and jojo before it, fairly simple fighting games featuring elements and characters from the series. While these games certainly have their qualities and fans, this style of game was never a perfect fit for one piecea series primarily about instilling a sense of adventure and propelled by the strength of its writing and characters.
Recent games such as the Unlimited series and World Seeker have tried to explore the franchise’s world and create new settings. However, execution has been somewhat lacking, with World Seeker in particular dropping the player into an empty world with little to no personality.
One Piece Odyssey’s Spirit of Adventure
From the first trailer for One Piece Odyssey, however, it appears that new developer Ilca’s motivations are different. With a story penned by Eiichiro Oda himself revolving around the Straw Hats being stranded on a mysterious new island, and a focus on RPG style exploration and battling, One Piece Odyssey already features one of the most exciting premises for a video game the series has ever seen.
The game’s premise revolves around the Straw Hats being separated after the Thousand Sunny is thrown off-course by an unpredicted storm. This causes the crew to try to gather as much information and explore the mysterious new island they find themselves stranded upon before they can leave.
There’s a key element to the setup for odyssey that’s been missing in one piece games up until now – an air of mystery. If odyssey promises to reveal the secrets of its mysterious new island, it needs to allow players to feel like they are directly involved in helping the Straw Hats investigate it. If the game can nail this, it will at least come close to matching the magic of arcs such as Skype and thriller bark.
One of the most promising elements of the trailer is the focus on interactions between the Straw Hats. While Jimbe is unfortunately nowhere to be seen, most fans will agree that the biggest strength of one piece is its wonderful cast of characters, mainly the Straw Hat Pirates themselves. An unfortunate element of the always present intensity of the story is that Oda is very rarely able to make time for the Straw Hats to act like a family aboard the Thousand Sunny.
This is something that was somewhat common during the early part of the series, and something that spin-off media still takes time to squeeze in today. There are already shots of the group around a campfire in odyssey promising some bonding sequences JRPGs have become synonymous with nowadays.
fans expecting One Piece Odyssey to tie into the main manga are likely in for disappointment, even spin-off media Oda is directly involved with, such as One Piece: Film Z and One Piece: Film Gold, rarely have specific parts that branch off directly from any point in the manga. However, on some level, these projects are considered canon.
Anime fans are likely used to time being taken to set up the events of these films through filler arcs, such as the Heart of Gold tie-in special for Film: Gold. With any luck, odyssey will also feature one of these tie-in arcs. However, this doesn’t seem likely, as One Piece: Film Red is also slated to release this year. That is likely to be more of a focus for the anime if it is to take any attention away from the incredibly tense Wano kuni arc.
There’s plenty of potential in One Piece Odyssey for fans of Eiichiro Oda’s long-running manga to latch onto, but even more so than any other video game based on one piecethis title looks to be delivering on the concepts and ideas fans have theorized for years for a potential one piece JRPG. There’s no few party members to center an RPG around the Straw Hat Pirates, a crew fans have spent over 1000 chapters with over the course of 25 years of content.
Given ILCA’s passion for the franchise dedicated in its reveal trailer and producer interview, there’s reason to believe this will be the perfect game for one piece fans looking to recapture the series’ sense of adventure, in the form of a sprawling video game.
One Piece Odyssey will release on PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S in 2022.
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