Hello and welcome to Honey’s Anime. We were given the opportunity to have a wonderful interview with the staff members of developer Edelweiss, Nal, the Director, and Koichi, the CG Artist, for Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. We got to ask some burning questions on our minds as we have been following the title since its first announcement at E3 2017. Since then, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin has gone through some changes and fixes to present all the wonderful world of fantasy and rich Japanese historic aspects as well.
Let’s go ahead and present to you the wonderful interview we had with Director Nal & CG Artist Koichi. Enjoy!
How did the team come up with the idea of an action platformer that also combines rice harvesting and a lot of other Japanese elements? Farming games are a thing, of course, but this one looks so unique. Especially when compared to other indie titles.
We added in RPG elements on top of that, and considered making the game a village-building simulator. But we knew it had to stand out from existing games with similar premises. We thought long and hard about what we really wanted to do, and finally realized we wanted to create a game that focused on a single thing in great depth, rather than a variety of things with a surface level of detail.
Japanese people are familiar with the sight of rice and rice paddies, but very few of them actually know anything about the process of growing it, so it seemed appropriate to focus on that for our central theme.
The design of the game looks beautiful and a huge improvement from the beginning of development. How was the idea of using color palettes that have a soft glow decided?
We noticed from a few years ago when Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin was introduced, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin looks quite different. What was the deciding factor for making this huge change to the game?
Since Edelweiss is a small team, preparing all the resources needed to present a new scene can take a while. We updated temporary assets in the village hub several times and polished its buildings and plants over and over again. As we mentioned earlier, we also gradually improved the rendering performance and added both shaders and post-processing effects along the way.
My point is that Sakuna didn’t undergo a single sudden change during its development. Rather, we slowly but steadily increased its quality with dozens and dozens of small, nearly imperceptible changes.
Regarding how much has changed, were there any parts/sections/ of the game itself or the story you had to scrap until you found the one you all liked/approved?
The mechanics and combat are unique and we love how Divine Raiment is used as a grappling hook as well as other uses. How difficult was it to balance all attacks and their skills to the game while providing some very unique combos and special powers/skills?
But I did have trouble getting things right with our new idea, the divine raiment. Making sure it extended in a satisfying way, creating animations for when Sakuna swung behind enemies, confirming that it pulled in enemies on a natural trajectory to a location where the player could continue their combo... All these things took a great deal of time, not to mention trial and error.
We also decided to remove a few common combat and action game mechanics, namely rolling and blocking. We didn’t hesitate to remove rolling because you can use the divine raiment instead, but we felt less certain about removing the blocking mechanic. For a time we included it, but ultimately we took it out because we wanted players to defend themselves with the divine raiment. All that remains of the original blocking mechanic is the option to deflect arrows from rabbit archers by moving Sakuna forward just before they hit her.
The demon island in Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, is it the same island from the Momotaro story?
How many different parts of Japanese culture were used in Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin?
With Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, what are the main factors you hope consumers would take away/learn from this game? Considering there are a lot of moral messages about becoming a better person, improving one's life, and learning Japanese harvesting culture, and more.
How many hours of gameplay can we expect to experience with Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin?
How long was Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin in development from beginning to end/completion?
Was there a character the team really enjoyed working on?
I personally have a soft spot for Kaimaru. Like a small animal, he’s delightfully cute no matter where he shows up. We also included a huge number of animations for the dogs and cats, as well as the ability to pet them, not because we thought them necessary, but rather because we wanted to.
Are there any future plans on more content for Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, or will this be the only installment?
Is there a special message you would like to share with your fans about Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin?
And there you have it folks. Another great interview done. We definitely learned a lot from it and really appreciate the interactions you have with the characters in the game, as well as, experiencing the wonderful culture Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin brings to the table for fans overseas. As much as the team didn’t expect to educate anyone, you can honestly learn a great deal about certain historical aspects which hopefully would have you appreciating it more by the time you finish the game.
Make sure to check out Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin as it is available now for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. More information about the game, please visit at www.sakunaofriceandruin.com. More information about XSEED Games’ products can be found at www.xseedgames.com. Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, get in depth info from their localization blog, and join the discussion on their Discord server at: http://discord.gg/XSEEDGames.
There is also a standard and digital deluxe edition available while supplies last so make sure to visit the links and grab your today! We hope you had a great time reading this interview and also learned something along the way. Make sure to keep coming back to
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