Interview | Artepiazza Talks Opoona, Wii Sequel

By Jorge Ba-oh 26.05.2008 7

Artepiazza is renowned within gaming circles for its strong heritage in the role-playing game genre, having worked closely with Square Enix in the past on various Dragon Quest titles, as well as aiding in the recent DS remakes of Dragon Quest IV and the forthcoming V and VI. Therefore, when it was announced the talented team was working on a Wii RPG for Koei, everyone's attention was definitely peaked. Following strong reviews of 'Opoona' when released in Japan and a positive response to its US release, the game is set to hit Europe on 25th July and Cubed³'s Adam Riley got the chance to talk to the development team about the game in more detail and its potential future…
Image for Interview | Artepiazza Talks Opoona, Wii Sequel

Cubed³'s Adam Riley: First of all, where did the concept of Opoona come from, and how did you create such an unusual name?

Artepiazza, Developer of Opoona: The advancement of CG and hardware technology has allowed recent titles to feature overwhelmingly realistic visuals. Of course, we would add such graphics to our games at the request of the publisher, but in the case of Opoona, we were asked to create fun and unique visuals that convey the enjoyment of an RPG in a simple fashion. In fact, we also wanted to create these kinds of visuals.

In designing the characters, we came up with a simple design that even a child could recreate. Actually, Mr. Majima came up with the design for the main character, Opoona, in his bathtub. Mr. Majima drew the enemy characters from industrial designs that he likes. By basing enemy characters on non-living entities, we are confident that the designs are unique. You will notice that the name, "Opoona" has 3 "O's" in it. The intention of this is to match the "round" letters to Opoona's round shape.

AR: Why did you choose a cartoon look for this RPG, rather than a more realistic one such as in the Final Fantasy world? Did the age-group of the Wii user base have any part in the decision?

Artepiazza: The main reason is because this is Opoona and not a Final Fantasy game. Also, ArtePiazza has worked on the Dragon Quest series and this has taught us that designs should be simple and RPG's should convince the player that he or she is the hero.

Opoona is a "lifestyle" game and the characters, along with the world, have been designed accordingly. These designs are intended to be fun and bring out the characteristics of the story.

Image for Interview | Artepiazza Talks Opoona, Wii Sequel

AR: The sales in Japan were extremely disappointing. Can you talk about how the low sales compare to your expectations? And in hindsight do you think launching on the same day as Super Mario Galaxy was a mistake?

Artepiazza: We decided to release Opoona at a time when we thought full advantage of market conditions could be taken. Super Mario Galaxy is of a different genre than Opoona so we did not foresee the title as competition.

AR: Are expectations higher for the US and European release? If so, why do you think the game will appeal to the Western audience more than the Japanese?

Artepiazza: Based on hardware sales, we believe sales in the West will exceed those of Japan. Also, Opoona features a fantasy world so it should appeal to users of any culture or region.

AR: Has anything been changed or is there any new content in the Western version of the game?

Artepiazza: We thought it would be appropriate to maintain the same content regardless of region, so no changes have been made.

Image for Interview | Artepiazza Talks Opoona, Wii Sequel

AR: Is the game only controlled using the Nunchuk, or are there other control set-ups that players can use?

Artepiazza: The game can also be played using the Classic Controller.

AR: What are some of your proudest achievements from the game? And was there anything else you would have liked to include if you had more development time?

Artepiazza: Creating a totally original epic RPG on our own has provided a great experience. Composing a huge map that can be traversed at great speed would not have been allowed (although exhilarating) by another studio, and we were also able to incorporate contemporary art into the game. Users that buy this game will experience something no other game can provide, and that itself makes the game worth buying. We are very grateful to KOEI for this opportunity.

With regards to portions we wanted to include but could not due to time constraints, game development time is usually short relative to the content. After completing a game, as much time is spent on testing as is spent on development. It's nearly impossible to be 100% satisfied with a game upon its release, but we can also use the experience to create the next game.

Image for Interview | Artepiazza Talks Opoona, Wii Sequel

AR: Have you considered re-creating the Opoona world for Nintendo DS? Do you think this would be possible at all?

Artepiazza: There are currently no plans for a DS version.

AR: Considering the critical praise your first game has received so far, will you be working on future Opoona games for Wii?

Artepiazza: That depends on users' reactions and sales.

AR: What are your thoughts on the WiiWare download service? Can it be as successful as Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service, or maybe even more popular?

Artepiazza: Please understand that as a developer, we are unable to comment on any particular platform.

AR: Will your team be bringing anything to WiiWare at any point?

Artepiazza: There are currently no plans for this.

AR: Finally, what would you say to anyone that is interested in Opoona, but is unsure about making the purchase?

Artepiazza: With the risk of sounding unoriginal, I would simply ask them to try the game. The world in this game is very unique and the music is great. You'll have lots of fun exploring and adventuring.

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Box art for Opoona

Arte Piazza







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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A friend of got her copy in the US yesterday for a review she is doing, she says the music is great.

God, they really do not have a clue Smilie

Horrific character design, and this from a developement team of such a high calibre. It\'s no wonder the game sold so little copies in Japan despite it being a fun game. Having characters that appeal to a wide array of gamers is important to the success of any such game. This game fails terribly here, IMO. As a result I expect the sequel to bomb also in the west like the original is destined to.

It kind of reminds me of Zack and Wiki in how bad the character design is. Japanese developers need to start wisening up to what the wider global audience appreciates.

( Edited 26.05.2008 23:35 by Linkyshinks )

Nice work on the interview, but that man was like an especially cryptic 8-Ball.

shame the game didnt sell, but I suspect it wasn\'t due to Mario Galaxy

more like because it is a new franchise and because of how unique it looks, I hope to see more RPGs from them on the Wii and of course, wish this one keeps selling even if at a slow pace.

( Edited 27.05.2008 02:24 by raidzero )

Well, launching in the same week as Galaxy in Japan certainly won't have helped the new franchise game. Neither will the fact that Koei didn't push it at all...

I personally can't wait for the Euro release of Opoona. Really been looking forward to getting an RPG for Wii.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I personally can't wait for the Euro release of Opoona. Really been looking forward to getting an RPG for Wii.

Aye, sounds pretty solid, may just pick this up when it hits Euroland. Didn't look too hot in motion though.

Top interview! Smilie

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I am hearing some of the "ball battles" are very annoying lol, whatever that means.

Personaly, I like the art design. Its unique = good.

But then, I love Zack and Wiki as well in every single way possible.
Western-izing it would make it so much worse. <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
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