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Ōkamiden, also known as Ōkamiden: Chiisaki Taiyō (「大神伝:小さき太陽」?; Ōkami Chronicles: Tiny Sun), is an action-adventure video game published by Capcom for the Nintendo DS released in North America on March 15, 2011.[1] It is a spiritual successor[2] to the PlayStation 2 and Wii title Ōkami. It was designed by Kuniomi Matsushita, the director of the Wii port of Ōkami, and Motohide Eshiro, producer of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth and Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny. It was released in Japan on September 30, 2010, and with North American and European releases no later than 2011. It stars Chibiterasu, a small celestial wolf born from Amaterasu, the protagonist of Ōkami, as well as featuring much of the same gameplay as its predecessor, including the Celestial Brush which allows players to freeze the gameplay and draw shapes or patterns using the touch screen.

Development began when Matsushita expressed an interest in creating a new Ōkami game, and showed Eshiro a technical demo of such a game in December 2008. Because the demo was so well-done, development began on a sequel. The Nintendo DS was chosen due to both it being the most successful platform of this generation as well as the touch screen being ideal for controlling the Celestial Brush.

Gameplay

Ōkamiden plays similarly to its predecessor, Ōkami, as an action-adventure game. The "Celestial Brush", the ability to freeze the screen and draw symbols via the touchscreen with the stylus to effect changes on the game's world, remains central to the game for solving puzzles and fighting enemies. The theme of returning life to the world also returns from Ōkami. A new feature is the ability for Chibiterasu to team up with partners. They can be used to explore the overworld with, as well as battle enemies. The new Guidance technique, also called the "Shirabe" or "courage" brush by Daniel Feit of Wired, may be used to move Chibiterasu's partner independently across areas Chibiterasu cannot cross; this is often required to progress in the game. The game uses the face buttons to move Chibiterasu about the world, with the top display being the current third-person view and the bottom showing a mini-map of the area. By pressing either shoulder button, the Celestial Brush is activated: the game pauses as the top screen is moved down to the bottom and rendered as a parchment, and the player then can use the stylus and touchscreen to draw to activate various powers of the Celestial Brush. The game will sense the speed at which the player draws the stylus across the screen and reflect this in the weight of the stroke drawn on-screen; a quick motion will lead to a faint, partial line while slow movements will create bold strokes.

Story

Much of Ōkamiden centers around the children of previous characters from Ōkami and their adventures and the relationships that form through the game's story, according to producer Motohide Eshiro. The storyline takes place nine months after the ending of Ōkami, in a new location called Yakushi Village. Although Amaterasu destroyed Yami, which would kill all the demons in Nippon, they mysteriously return. The Konohana Wood Sprite Sakuya, a character from the original Ōkami, tries to summon Amaterasu from the Celestial Plain to free Nippon from evil again, but instead a tiny wolf puppy called Chibiterasu, Amaterasu's son, appears in her place.

Chibiterasu's partners will be incorporated into the main plot as well. One of the partners that accompanies Chibiterasu is Kuni, the son of Susano and Kushi, two characters from Ōkami. He was adopted during the events of Ōkami, and appeared in the ending of the first game. Other characters from Ōkami return, including Issun, and Mr. and Mrs. Orange. The game will feature locales from Ōkami as well as new areas to explore as part of its adventure.


The story begins with a narrative, similar to Ōkami, about how Susano and Amaterasu bested Orochi and fulfilled the 100 year legendary story that began with Nagi and Shiranui. It then says, however, that the land is still under a curse and that all the evil had not been destroyed. It concludes by saying that it will tell all that it knows, and that this is the beginning of a new story. The scene shifts to the present day, as a dark force erupts from a grave site and overwhelms the land. Later, Issun is shown handing out more pictures of Amaterasu, and wonders how she is doing. He is then surrounded by two demons but is rescued by Chibiterasu, who then brings the sun back out after the sky darkens. Issun and Chibiterasu then explore Yakushi Village, and Issun guides Chibiterasu to Kamiki Village (after going through Shinshu Field) to talk to Sakuya. After Sakuya realizes Chibiterasu is Amaterasu's son, Sakuya informs Issun that he cannot accompany Chibiterasu on his journey due to the duties of a Celestial Envoy. Shortly after, a lightning bolt strikes the Konohana tree, and Chibiterasu learns Rejuvenation, then repairs the trunk. However, Sakuya has limited power when not in full bloom, so Chibiterasu has to find out how to bring her flowers back. Issun states he'll partner with Chibiterasu until he finds a new partner- and soon, a young boy named Kuni appears, after he hears a young girl crying and thinks that Chibiterasu bothered her. The young girl says that her mirror was stolen, so Kuni vows to help her, but soon regrets vowing. Kuni and Chibiterasu pair up to help find her mirror, and Issun then leaves. Kuni and Chibiterasu try to leave the village to search for the mirror but there is a boulder blocking the way; during this time it is insinuated that Kuni is Susano and Kushi's son. Kuni tests Chibiterasu by bringing him to a special entrance to the Cave of Nagi by jumping through the center observation deck of Kamiki Village; this is where Chibiterasu learns Guidance. Kuni and Chibiterasu must bring Susano some of Kushi's sake so Susano falls asleep, thus allowing them to slice the boulder and head out into Shinshu Field. They explore Shinshu Field, but there's no mirror to be found, so they try to enter Hana Valley. There is a huge gate barring all entrance to the Valley and the person who lives near there, the Nameless Man, explains that it would take the strength of 10 men to lift the gate. Soon after, Susano appears, and Kuni explains that he wanted to find a young girl's mirror and that's why he ventured out. Susano understands and opens the Hana Valley gate. Kuni and Chibiterasu go in, defeat all of the demons including the boss, Master Anura, and retrieve the girl's mirror. Chibiterasu learns Bloom and then returns to Kamiki Village with the girl's mirror, and later the girl reveals herself to be Sakuya, having changed form in order to test Chibiterasu. Sure of Chibiterasu's power, and restored due to his Bloom, she sends Chibiterasu on a task to rid Nippon of the evil that has returned- once and for all.

After exploring Shinshu Field, Kuni and Chibiterasu come across Tama's house where he is passed out sick. In order to heal him, they need to find medicine back in Yakushi Village. In the Village, they defeat many demons and save Dr. Redbeard, the Village's medicinal herb grower and medicine maker. Kuni then says he needs herbs to help heal Tama, but Dr. Redbeard sternly refuses, saying he's not going to give Tama any herbs to fuel his fireworks, and refuses to listen anymore. Soon, a sick girl and her mother appear, saying that the girl is getting worse and Dr. Redbeard's best treatments aren't working. He is saddened that he cannot help her anymore, and she starts asking when the fireworks will start, as it's her favorite thing to watch every year, and she might not see another one. Once Dr. Redbeard realizes that the fireworks need to begin, for the little girl's sake, he hands Kuni and Chibiterasu some medicine. They take it back to Tama, who is instantly cured, and Chibiterasu learns Cherry Bomb, then goes back to the Village to watch the fireworks.

With the Cherry Bomb, Agata Forest is now accessible, through a newly created pathway. They quickly realize Agata Forest has been flooded and is now home to a massive and submerged Five-Story Pagoda. They learn through some residents there that they tried offering a mermaid to a giant catfish in order to try to fix the forest, however, nothing came of it. Kuni and Chibiterasu then visit Madame Fawn and she foresees an entrance to a special place, heralded by five glowing stars, appearing at night- and gives them two pieces of paper, sensing that they will need it. They leave and it is already nightfall, and soon spot the five "stars" that are orb-like demons floating in a circle. They draw a pentagram out of the five demons and the Demon Market entrance appears. They jump into the entrance, draw on the paper to make demon masks to hide their faces, and explore the market. After navigating to the Demon Market's Witch Queen, Kuni and Chibiterasu rescue Nanami, the mermaid that was offered as a sacrifice. Nanami seems uninterested in humans helping her, but they rescue her anyway- however, Kuni and Chibiterasu's masks fall off all of a sudden, and Kuni and Chibiterasu must fight the now enraged Queen. Afterwards, Kuni gives Chibiterasu Nanami and tells him to run- promising he'll take care of the demons and the tired Queen. Chibiterasu and Nanami run back to the entrance, where Kuni reappears out of breath shortly after, and they all grab onto a hook that appears from above, right before the Queen would have gotten to them. They are pulled ashore by Kokari, and Nanami identifies Kokari as the one who offered her up to the giant catfish, Bullhead. Kokari apologizes and says the adults pressured him to do it, but Nanami won't hear it. She does admit that not all humans are bad after Kuni rescued her. However, suddenly and out of nowhere, Bullhead appears and swallows Kuni, then swims away. Chibiterasu and Nanami team up to rescue Kuni from Bullhead and enter the Five-Story Pagoda, the catfish's lair. After traversing it, during which Chibiterasu acquires Waterspout and Vine, they arrive at the bottom floor and defeat Bullhead, who spits out the Wet and Dry Jewels that Nanami had been looking for- Jewels that can control water. Nanami then uses the Dry Jewel to dry up all the water on the bottom floor, rendering Bullhead useless, and Kuni jumps out of the catfish's mouth, then finishes him off. However, in a dying rage, Bullhead knocks out a control panel that contributed to the Forest's flooding. Due to this, the forest's excess water begins draining out to sea rapidly, and Kuni and Chibiterasu fight to stay afloat in the raging waters. A tree trunk then surges at Kuni and Chibiterasu, and Kuni realizes that only one of them can survive it and knocks Chibiterasu out of the way as Kuni is hit by the trunk head on. Chibiterasu cannot stay afloat afterwards and soon begins to sink, then blacks out.

Nanami brings Chibiterasu to the shoreline of Ryoshima Coast, just below the large arched ridge. She says that even though Chibiterasu might not remember her, they certainly met before, and to never forget her again. Nanami leaves and Chibiterasu wakes up moments later. Chibiterasu explores the cursed Ryoshima Coast and blooms the Guardian Sapling, reviving the area. He then ventures into Sei'an City, where it is full of people suffering from some kind of ailment. Chibiterasu then rescues a young girl, Kagu, from demons, but immediately afterwards she demands he take her back to the Playhouse, a theater building in the city. Chibiterasu is reluctant at first but Kagu convinces him, a little forcefully, and they team up. Dr. Bluebeard then appears, who is Dr. Redbeard's brother, and says that he is trying everything he can do to heal the sick, but they are being oppressed by a spiritual force. Chibiterasu and Kagu go to enter the Playhouse from the back, and the ghost Raiden then explains special Spirit Floor panels that are invisible unless Kagu is riding Chibiterasu, and they vary in who can walk across them. They enter the Playhouse and realize that demons have invaded and kidnapped Kagu's parents. After they set the stage and rescue the audience as bait for the demons, along with Chibiterasu acquiring Inferno, the demons appear, and Kagu and Chibiterasu fight Sen, Ryo, and then their combined form- Renjishi. Kagu realizes her power's potential during the battle and changes into an elegant kimono, becoming a Miko, or human with spiritual powers. After they clear the Playhouse, they walk outside, and a mysterious spirit identified as King Fury appears and warns Kagu that it will make her powers his own. Chibiterasu and Kagu are no match for this spirit, despite attacking it, and it vanishes. They visit Dr. Bluebeard and get a sample of his medicine to mix with Dr. Redbeard's, and he explains it is a cure-all for any disease. Kagu and Chibiterasu then go to the Aristocratic Quarter, where Kagu goes off to train as a Miko, and Chibiterasu is left alone again. Soon after, a young boy with golden hair hitches a ride with Chibiterasu and hurriedly tells him to run, as he's being chased by guards. Later, this boy identifies himself as Kurow, with a very nonchalant and carefree attitude. Kurow assumes Chibiterasu is going to listen to him, but Chibiterasu drifts off to sleep several times- until an attractive female researcher comes up to them in distress. He immediately wants to help her and asks her what's wrong, and she says that Gen is trapped in the Underground Ruins, and asks them to help him. Kurow instantly agrees, and Chibiterasu and Kurow team up to help the common cause. They enter North Ryoshima Coast, which has been all but destroyed through heavy digging and mining machinery possessed by demons, with a large keystone-shaped ruin coming out of the middle of the area. They encounter Issun at the Ruins, who brings out a large sheet of paper detailing a UFO mechanism, talks with them some, then hops away. Kurow and Chibiterasu enter the Ruins, where Kurow shows Chibiterasu the spaceship he landed on Nippon with (very similar to Kaguya's), but soon realize they can't get to the center due to a strong electrical current barrier brought on through a cloud sending continuous lightning down. After exploring the area, Chibiterasu finds a new Brush technique, Magnetism. Kurow finds a pair of "wings" in the Ruins, with 3 pink floating feathers for each wing, and can now fly with it. They leave the Ruins but are blown away due to the strong winds surrounding the cloud, and are blown back to Agata Forest.

They realize that one of the feathers is now missing, disabling Kurow's flight ability, and must find it again. Later, they enter the Demon Market through the same five floating demon orbs, don the old paper masks with new drawings, then later find a demon who is wearing Kurow's feather as a prize. Kurow and Chibiterasu manage to defeat the Imp and he gives it back, then they get to the now wounded Demon Market Queen. Her Imps are fanning her, and the fan creates a wind that enables Chibiterasu to regain Galestorm. After this, the wind blows Kurow and Chibiterasu's masks off, and they must race back to the entrance as the Queen chases after them in a fit of rage. They use Kurow's wings to fly out of the Market just before the Queen can attack them.

Kurow and Chibiterasu reach the Thundercloud after a Galestorm minigame where they blow back forcible winds. They reach the top where they play a music minigame with 3 band members of the Thunders clan, a people who all wear traditional tiger stripes as clothing and who all love music. After the minigame, Chibiterasu regains Thunderstorm, and gains the respect of the Thunders as well as a traditional hand drum that has been handed down for generations with the ability to deflect lightning. Kurow and Chibiterasu then reenter the Ruins, able to pass through any electric barrier, but when they pass through the biggest one in the center, the current becomes too much for it and it breaks, though it dispels the barrier permanently. They go inside and reach the depths of the Ruins, where they find Gen, and tell him to run back to the surface. King Fury then appears, with Kagu as hostage, and activates a massive, giant rabbit robot named Daidarabotchi . Kurow realizes what this giant is and panics, knowing that it was sealed there to prevent it from bringing destruction upon the world. He must stay at the controls, thwarting its programming, while Chibiterasu fends off King Fury. After King Fury is defeated, Kurow narrowly shuts down Daidarabotchi right as it pierces through the soil and the rabbit ears are seen above ground. King Fury, revealing himself as the deceased Sugawara and member of the Moon Tribe (like Kurow and Waka), thanks them for setting him free and Chibiterasu sees his spirit off with a Bloom floral finisher.

Kurow and the attractive researcher decide to stay and repair Sugawara's grave, revealed to be the grave in the opening credits, while Kagu teams up with Chibiterasu "for old time's sake." Kagu then gives Chibiterasu a Warp Amulet, a powerful charm that allows Chibiterasu to warp through Origin Mirrors like Amaterasu once did. From there, they return to Yakushi Village and mix Dr. Bluebeard's medicine with Dr. Redbeard's, and manage to cure the sick girl who loves fireworks.

After a while, they go back to check on how Kurow and the attractive researcher are doing, and they've fixed up the grave. Suddenly, a black spirit with a red eye inside an open mouth appears, and refers to Chibiterasu as the Child of the Sun that he will merge with in order to make his dark kingdom, and displays his current power by obliterating the entire Underground Ruins with one shot, leaving a massive crater in the ground. He tells Chibiterasu that he is only at limited power but when he bathes in the blood of Orochi and then fuses with a light being, his power becomes immeasurable. He then warps to leave, though Kurow tries to fly after him beforehand, but is too slow. They go back to Sei'an City's Aristocratic Quarter where Gen finished another invention- a time machine- allowing them to go back 9 months in the past when Amaterasu and Susano defeated Orochi to prevent the black, evil spirit- Akuro- from getting to Orochi. Kurow and Chibiterasu say goodbye to the others as they travel into the past- and fall onto a ship far out into sea, the Goryeo. The ship, through its design and rooms, is revealed to be the Sunken Ship of Ryoshima Coast prior to being sunk by the Water Dragon. The captain realizes that Kurow and Chibiterasu are no ordinary wolf pup and kid, and asks them to find his Conch Shell somewhere in the ship in order to summon Otohime. They find it and he summons her, and they ask her about Akuro. Though she does not know who he is, she offers to take them to the Sage Shrine, where a timeless treasure known as the Knowing Jewel is kept- where said Jewel is a repository of all knowledge. She transforms into her dragon form, with the aid of Chibiterasu, and she summons Nanami upon realizing that Kurow refuses to go underwater with Chibiterasu as he hates getting wet. Chibiterasu immediately recognizes Nanami and licks her, but she does not know him yet, as this is the past- and the paradox is set. They enter the Shrine together, defeat a massive starfish demon named Asteroidean, and save the Shrine keeper Shikibu from demons holding her down. She then purifies the blackened Knowing Jewel, and it bursts into radiant colors, then she dowses it for information for them. She says that, through the Knowing Jewel, Akuro is an evil spirit and is the source of all evil, and is somehow connected to Waka- Chibiterasu initially recognizes this as Kurow, but then realizes Kurow is too young and has shorter hair than Waka. Suddenly, they are visited by Shikibu's creation through writing poetry- named Genji- a playboy that loves any girl he can woo, including Nanami. He kidnaps Nanami and takes her to the back of the Shrine, where Chibiterasu rescues her, and then Shikibu writes him out of existence. They bid farewell, and Shikibu thanks them, then they go back to the surface and to the Goryeo. Nanami and Otohime leave, having helped Chibiterasu- but very soon after, the Water Dragon attacks. Kurow and Chibiterasu stay to fight, but the captain and the strong elder on board absolutely insist they leave, knowing that their fate lies with their ship and that they will fight to the end. Kurow flies away with Chibiterasu, who is crying as they leave as he knows their fate.

They fly to Shinshu Field, still 9 months in the past, and later the Moon Cave, where they manage to thwart Akuro from gaining access to Orochi's blood. They also manage to follow Akuro into his warping escape this time, and end up in Kamiki Village 100 years in the past. They go out to explore Shinshu Field, but Kurow suddenly gets a message from his Moon Tribe pendant, breaks down, and tells Chibiterasu he needs to leave and that it's the best for both of them. Chibiterasu explores alone, and then finds a young and obese boy sprawled out in front of the Moon Cave entrance from Shinshu Field. After Chibiterasu finds meat and gives it to the boy, named Manpuku, he partners up with Chibiterasu- and they enter the Moon Cave entrance from Shinshu Field to find the boy's mother. After walking down the path to the Moon Cave, they spot two demons going into a submarine talking about Manpuku's mom, and they follow them into the submarine. The sub goes underwater to an Ice Room where they store ingredients for Orochi's meals, and Chibiterasu and Manpuku navigate through it to the deepest part, where they find a frozen dragon head that looks all too real. They go further, but realize it is a dead end, and turn back, when suddenly the dragon awakens. Manpuku and Chibiterasu fight the dragon Mizuchi, and after it is defeated, it causes a chain reaction and a huge block of ice falls from the ceiling with Shiranui frozen inside. Chibiterasu frees Shiranui, and they have an emotional talk with Ishaku who explains that Shiranui was traveling to battle Orochi, but got frozen due to her weakened state. They start to continue on but Chibiterasu insists to go in her place, and she agrees and lays down, as Chibiterasu and Manpuku leave. After they leave, Shiranui confirms to a questioning Ishaku that Chibiterasu is indeed her grandson.

Chibiterasu makes it to the Moon Cave as the Orochi battle is finished, and witnesses Shiranui save Nagi at the last minute. The cave then starts crumbling with an earthquake and Akuro appears, with Kurow reappearing soon after. He tries to get to Akuro but Akuro gets to the blood too quickly, and absorbs its power. He then mocks Chibiterasu and Kurow, and teleports them to the Dark Realm for a final battle at his full power.

In the Dark Realm, Chibiterasu sees Kuni, but when running up to him realizes that Akuro has possessed him. Kurow suddenly turns against Chibiterasu, going to Akuro's side and mocking Chibiterasu for being so weak and trusting. However, they did not know that Ishaku was warped along with Chibiterasu, and Ishaku aids in Chibiterasu calling his friends through the use of Ishaku's sword-cutting dimensional ability. After Chibiterasu summons all his friends, including Nanami, Kagu, and Manpuku, Akuro just scatters them again and laughs, setting up a series of floating areas he must battle through to rescue his now demonic-paralyzed friends. He rescues each, but in order to advance to the next area, he must leave each of them on a switch that only triggers a portal when someone is standing on it.

After rescuing all his friends, they team together and Chibiterasu and Ishaku battle Kurow, who can't understand why Chibiterasu won't finish him off even though he turned on Chibiterasu. Akuro then laughs, and challenges Chibiterasu; after Chibiterasu defeats Akuro's first form, Akuro transforms into a benign-looking mirror. Chibiterasu curiously walks up to it- the mirror captures Chibiterasu's image and the image turns dark with red markings, and Dark Chibiterasu breaks out of the mirror with a possessed Kuni riding atop. Chibiterasu and Ishaku then fight Dark Chibiterasu and the possessed Kuni- defeating them both. Akuro promptly leaves Kuni's body, needing another host to become strong, and Kurow offers it his body. He circles Kurow, then accepts, and enters Kurow's body- however, instead of becoming possessed, Kurow's body starts jerking, and he explains to Chibiterasu that he is not a real person, only a doll created by the Moon Tribe to seal Akuro so that Akuro can be killed. That is why he left when he got that message from the pendant. However, in the process of killing Akuro, Kurow must be killed- he begs Chibiterasu to do it as it is the only way. Chibiterasu, crying and hesitating, doesn't want to, but Ishaku reminds him that if he doesn't, there won't be another way to end it. Sobbing, Chibiterasu cuts down Kurow, and the Dark Realm fades.

The scene cuts out to the remains of the Moon Cave 100 years ago, with all of Chibiterasu's companions circled around the dying Kurow, and Kurow expresses gratitude to have known a friend like Chibiterasu. As he passes on, everyone around tearfully mourns him, and the scene fades out again.

The last scene returns to the present day and shows Kuni leaving Susano and Kushi, as he realizes that he is not their real son and always knew this, and he wants to journey on and find out who he really is- Susano throws a fit and tells him he can no longer be their son, but later reveals he just wants him to be safe. A scene is also shown with Issun flying around in a UFO reminiscent of the drawing he found in the Ruins, and he tells Sakuya and Chibiterasu that he is going to the Celestial Plain with it as he got Gen to make it for him. Chibiterasu hops on so as to visit his mother, then they fly off. The ending scene shows Kuni walking off into Shinshu Field, and the narrating voice returns, explaining that this is only part of his story- and that there is an even bigger tale to tell.

Development

Due to poor sales, Ōkami was considered a commercial failure on the PlayStation 2, and while it was widely believed to be one of the factors involved in the closure of its developer Clover Studio, Hideki Kamiya, lead designer of Ōkami, specified that producer Atsushi Inaba had an argument with Capcom management.[3] Kamiya commented that he had an idea in mind for the sequel and would enjoy making it, but it was nothing more than an idea and beyond his control.[4] In July 2007, Capcom employee Keiji Inafune commented that a Wii port was something he had considered, but it was easier said than done, and they have no plans as of yet.[5] In spite of this, it received a port for the Wii.[6] Capcom employee Chris Svensson commented that a lot more people would have to buy copies of Ōkami to warrant a sequel to be produced.[7]

In August 2009, Capcom filed for a Japanese trademark on the name "Ōkamiden" for a video game, a few months prior to the Japan release of the Wii version of Ōkami,[8] which led to speculation about an Ōkami sequel; Ōkamiden may be a shortening or pun for Ōkami Gaiden, translated as "Ōkami Sidestory", or possibly Ōkami Densetsu, which translates to "Ōkami Legend", thus fueling speculation that this may be the long awaited sequel. The September 2009 issue of Famitsu revealed that Ōkamiden: Chiisaki Taiyō was indeed another Ōkami game which will be released by Capcom on the Nintendo DS in 2010 in Japan, though no other release information was provided. The Famitsu articles shows gameplay, including combat, and graphics similar to the PlayStation 2/Wii game.

Ōkamiden is directed by Kuniomi Matsushita, who was responsible for the Wii port of Ōkami, and produced by Motohide Eshiro, who has previously worked on titles such as Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth.[4][9] Yukinori Kitajima, writer for the critically-acclaimed Japanese Wii title, 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de, will be the scenario author for Ōkamiden.[10] In December 2008, Matsushita, who had a strong desire to create a sequel to Ōkami, led a small team to develop an advanced prototype.[4][11] Matsushita showed this demonstration to Eshiro and his desire to go forward on the project, and the project was greenlighted. The team settled on the Nintendo DS due to its portability, allowing for players to pick it up and play wherever they wish, as well as the ability to use the stylus on the touch screen as a brush.[4] Eshiro stated that:

The staff involved with this game has a real clear understanding of what was fun about the original Ōkami. They have a good understanding of what was important about the visual style and what aspects they need when making this new version so it will transfer well. The work Clover did was amazing; they were really talented people, and I think our staff now is motivated to make a game that lives up to the reputation of the previous Ōkami.

Motohide Eshiro

[12] Eshiro further commented that he considered Ōkamiden more of a successor to Ōkami than a sequel, desiring to build upon the world for a franchise on the Nintendo DS platform. While Ōkamiden will be a DS title, Eshiro has considered to expand subsequent games to work with the Nintendo 3DS unit based on the game's reception.[13] Similarly, Eshire does not rule out a high-definition version on a modern console or a version for the iPhone or similar touch-screen devices[14] depending on the response to Ōkamiden.

Several changes were made to the basic elements of Ōkami to make Ōkamiden suitable for the Nintendo DS. With fewer controls on the DS unit, the player only controls the movement of the characters in the game, with the camera set in an "on rails" manner to make sure the player was focused on the right areas to head towards.[13] One change made from Ōkami was the simplification of the combat system, a factor that some players had found difficult; Ōkamiden reduces the melee weapon attack features down to a single button, but the Celestial Brush can still be used alongside this for complex strategy.[15] While the developers could have removed the melee attacks completely, allowing the player to defeat enemies with the Celestial Brush alone, they felt that the lack of melee attacks slowed down the game, instead opting for players to melee and then finish off foes with a Celestial Brush flourish. The idea of partners and using the stylus to guide them came about through wanting to have more puzzles in the game that incorporated use of the DS touchscreen.While many more Celestial Brush strokes and other puzzles the team wanted to add, they left them out in the final version feeling they added too much padding to the game. The number of polygons and the resolution of the artwork was significantly limited on the DS version, challenging the artists to convey similar imagery and emotions that were in the first game.[13]

The game was originally going to feature Amaterasu, the protagonist goddess-wolf character from Ōkami; during character planning, one of the artists drew what Amaterasu's child would look like as a joke, but this spurred several ideas for Matsushita, such as the concept of a partner, and leading to Chibiterasu becoming the main character.[16] As Chibiterasu was still a child, the team thought "it would take more than a child to save the world", according to Matsushita, and led to the inclusion of partners both in the game's story and gameplay.[17] This option was selected over several arrangements of characters, such as having five different Chibiterasu's team up as a party.[17] Using a story taken from a child's point of view as they explore and learn new things made the game much easier to visualize, according to Eshiro; he compared this to the movie Stand by Me.[17] Eshiro also felt it was important to include making friends and having to say goodbye as part of this adventure, striking a strong emotional aspect to the game.[17] As such, Chibiterasu is only paired with one partner at any one time, as Matsushita stated, "if you could switch between them any time you wanted, then they wouldn't be partners anymore".[17] There will be the death of one of the major characters in the game, which Matsushita found necessary to improve the story's flow; the developers had looked to Ōkami and noted while characters also died there, they did not have any emotional attachment for the player, and there was resistance in the development team to have a major character die in Ōkamiden, but it was ultimately decided to do this for the betterment of the story.[17]

The game's story takes place nine months after the events of Ōkami, which posed story problems for Yukinori Kitajima, the game's main script writer. The team originally thought to take the game several years in the future, but found by keeping a closer time frame, things would not change as much from the previous game, giving a familiar feeling to those that played Ōkami.[17] Kitajima had to create rationales for some events, such as the reason why none of the characters remember the end of Ōkami, or why Susano's son Kuni is a young boy when, during Ōkami, he didn't even exist.[17]

Ōkamiden was first shown in playable form at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2009[11] where it was reported to be about 25% completed.[18] Release in Western markets was uncertain until it was observed that Capcom had trademarked the name Okamiden in both North America and European markets.[19] In April 2010, at its "Captivate" event, Capcom confirmed the game would be released to North American and European markets no later than 2011.[20]

Producer Motohide Eshiro revealed that a demo for the game would appear on the he Nintendo Channel. Eshiro confirmed that the demo will be available to download for Nintendo DS from Monday February 21.[21]

Promotion

A "Collector's Edition" of Ōkamiden will be released in Japan alongside the normal game; in addition to the game this version includes a soundtrack, DVD, storybook, a plush Chibiterasu key chain, and Ōkamiden-marked earphones.[22] A series of television advertisements in Japan for Ōkamiden feature model Kii Kitano and a white Shiba Inu puppy named Moran-chan that bears a close resemblance to Chibiterasu.[23][24] North American pre-order bonuses include an Okamiden stylized screen cleaner and brush-shaped stylus at GameStop[25] and a plush Chibiterasu key chain (from the Japanese collector's edition) at the Capcom Store.[26]

Reception

Pre-release

The decision to put Ōkamiden​ on the Nintendo DS has received mixed reactions. The Escapist editor John Funk stated that it was the perfect platform for the sequel, due to how the touch screen could be used to use the Celestial Brush.[27] Kombo editor Daniel Sims praised Ōkamidens cel-shaded visuals, stating that they work well on the Nintendo DS.[28] Destructoid editor Hamza Aziz believed it was perfect for the Nintendo DS.[29] Aziz added that he was impressed with Capcom managing to retain Ōkamis stylized appearance in the sequel.[29] Siliconera editor Ishaan Sahdev, however, was skeptical that Ōkamiden could replicate the feel that Ōkami provided, due to how much it relied on its visuals and art style to bring players into its world. He also criticized the reasoning behind placing it on the Nintendo DS, which was to reach a larger audience, calling the visuals terrible. He later questions whether its faults may hurt it enough that the project may not even have been worth it.[18] Kotaku editor Luke Plunkett expressed disappointment that it was a Nintendo DS game rather than a PlayStation 3 game.[30]

There has been skepticism about developing Ōkamiden without Platinum Games, a developer featuring key members of Clover Studio, including Hideki Kamiya, the developer behind Ōkami. MTV editor John Constantine worried about this, questioning whether the lack of Kamiya and Platinum Games would make the game feel like a rehash.[31]

Demos of Ōkamiden, both of the Japanese version at the Tokyo Game Show in 2009 and the English-language version at various events in the United States was positively received by critics. Kotaku editors Stephan Totilo and Brian Crecente praised the demo versions they played in April and May 2010; Totilo considered the game a strong match for the DS and was not only "a kind of game made for the DS" but also "the kind of game for which [he] thought the DS was made", while Crecente believed that the drawing mechanism from Ōkami worked even better in Ōkamiden due to the use of the stylus and the nature of holding the portable console like a book.[32][33] Daniel Feit of Wired believed that while the graphics were not as good as the original game on the PlayStation 2, the "cartoony graphics are well suited to the Nintendo DS".[34]

IGN described the character of Chibiterasu as "adorable".[35] Destructoid editor Jim Sterling concurred, joking that its cuteness would make Ōkamiden one of the greatest Nintendo DS games ever made.[36] Luke Plunkett commented that despite his reservations for Ōkamiden, his "heart melted" when he saw Chibiterasu.[30]

During E3 2010 Ōkamiden received a great deal of praise and awards from news outlets. It was nominated for "Best Handheld Game" for the Game Critics Awards,[37] and "Best DS Game" by IGN.[38] GameSpy named it their "DS Game of Show".[39]

Reviews

Aggregator Score
GameRankings 82.08%[40]
Metacritic 82/100[41]
Publication Score
IGN 8.5/10[42]
Game Informer 8.75/10[43]
EuroGamer 8/10[44]

Early reviews of Ōkamiden were positive. The review aggregator site Gamerankings reported that the game received a 83% score out of 15 reviews.[45] Another review aggregator site, Metacritic, gave the game an averaged score of 82, signifying generally positive reviews.[46] IGN gave the game an 8.5 out of 10, siting that the game was not very challenging, yet it praises the narrative and the pacing of the game. Gameblog.fr gave the game a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars, commenting, "Even though its not as rich as the original was, it's taking full advantage of the DS and its touch screen."[47] GameInformer gave the game an 8.75 out of a possible 10, writing that the game's ending leaves the door open for future entries.

Although the reviews for Ōkamiden were mostly positive, there have been some criticism on the game. One common criticism that was a problem in the first game (noted by IGN above) is the fact that the game isn't very challenging. Other sites like GameSpot and Nintendo Power gave the game a positive review, but both admitted that the game didn't truly live up to the legacy of its revered predecessor. The value of the sequel compared to its prequel is debatable however; other reviewers thought that Ōkamiden lived up to the series' expectations. Famitsu rated Ōkamiden a total score of 34 out of 40 points. The reviewers praised the ability to bring in the elements of Ōkami to the DS, but noted that there was little surprise as there was with Ōkami as the DS version covers many of the same elements of story and gameplay. The Famitsu reviewers did note that the gameplay was not expanded far from the original Ōkami, but posit that it "just shows how complete a package Ōkami was in the first place."[48]

Sales

Ōkamiden was the third best-selling video game in Japan during its release week at 84,472 copies sold.[49] The game sold an additional 12,829 copies the following week, dropping to number 13 on the charts.[50] Worldwide Ōkamiden sales reached 211,028 copies in its first ten weeks of sale, surpassing the numbers that both versions of its predecessor reached at that point in their lifetime.[51][52] By forty-two weeks the game had only reached 255,497 copies worldwide.[53]

Gallery

References

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  2. Okamiden producer: Not a sequel, a 'spiritual successor'
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