March 11th, 2007, 14:46 Posted By: wraggster
The makers of Wish Room, Harvest Moon, Chulip, Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Quest VIII are teaming up for a new super project for the Wii. Project O (a tentative name, of course) has just started development at two southern Japanese development studios, Cing and Town Factory, to be published in Japan by Marvelous Interactive.
This title is already getting attention due to its growing list of development talent. Serving as producer is Marvelous Interactive's Yasuhiro Wada, general producer of the Harvest Moon series. The game's designer is Yoshiro Kimura, who worked on moon (PlayStation) and Chulip (PS2), and has signed on as a contractor for Marvelous in order to do this title. Another key member of the Harvest Moon series is also reportedly working on the game. Kimura also brought in Kazuyuki Kurashima, another staff member from the moon days.
Not enough for you? Well here are a couple of guys who's past games you'll definitely recognize. Project O's programming is being headed up by Town Factory's Youichi Kawaguchi, the main programmer of Dragon Quest VIII. Hideo Minaba, the art director of Final Fantsay XII, is also on board, providing the artwork for the game's world.
Wada and Kimura shared a handful of first details on the new project with Japan's Famitsu magazine. And by "handful," we really mean just a few! In fact, even after reading a three page interview, we're not 100% sure what the game is going to be like.
Wada revealed that his inspiration for Project O originally came from a Doraemon toy set. Similar to the "secret tools" that appear in the popular children's animation series, Wada imagined a tool that allows players to create a world, give it life, and observe the subsequent happenings. He likens this to the game Sim Earth. But in addition to a distant view of the world, he wanted to let players experience the world from the first person perspective of one of its residents. He likens this to Sim People.
Project O started with the idea of being a combination of Sim People and Sim Earth. But it's since become something a bit different, thanks to the influences Kimura took from Norikazu Yasunagano, who created World Neverland for the PlayStation back in 1997. That title was a "life simulation," where players could experience the relationships between artificial intelligence driven characters.
Which at long last brings us to a vague statement describing the kind of game we'll be getting with Project O. The game will combine the life simulation elements of World Neverland with the presentation of Kimura's own Chulip. On top of all that are simulation elements from Harvest Moon. The game will feature simulation, adventure and even a few real time action elements.
The simulation elements will push the Wii to the limit, promised Wada. When in the god's perspective, the game will display dozens of characters simultaneously, each moving using unique AI routines.
Another big point, mentioned Wada, is that on top of the simulation elements, the game will deliver the feeling of being part of a storyline. In the interview, he promised something different from any previous game. Kimura chimed in and noted that there's one exception: the Harvest Moon series. Kimura feels that Project O will be similar to Harvest Moon in that it will feature a loose storyline surrounding the simulation gameplay.
If all this seems conceptual, that's because it may just be. The game is currently being worked on by just the six staffers mentioned here, with the hunt currently on for the seventh staff member, a musician. Marvelous has also started seeking designers, programmers, planners and assistant directors for the game proper, and has placed a big two page advertisement in this week's Famitsu.
We're going to have to wait until 2008 to play this potential dream project for the Wii
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