The imaginary of ONE PIECE is nothing short of boundless: over 900 chapters and more than 800 episodes of adaptation souls have contributed, over the past 20 years, to creating an encyclopedic and anthological work, undoubtedly one of the longest and most profitable of the publishing forge of Weekly Shonen Jump . Just this year, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the animation franchise, Bandai Namco will bring on our shelves ONE PIECE World Seeker, new video game inspired by the deeds of the Pirates of Straw Hat . The celebratory nature of the title required a different approach than usual, and that is why the team of Ganbarion worked in these years to abandon the comforting beaches of musou and land in the genre of action -adventure. Despite the atypical and intriguing soul of this production, however, the palmares of videogames inspired by the masterpiece of Eiichiro Oda counts an endless number of products that, well or badly, have contributed to expanding the success of the work also in the videogame industry. In this special, we want to retrace the most important videogames of the past that allowed the crew of Mugiwara to dock also on consoles and PCs
At the boarding
In the early 2000s the brand of ONE PIECE began to appear on the entertainment scene: the manga was born only in 1997, while in 1999 the first episode of the anime was broadcast in Japan. It did not take long before the brand expanded overseas: in Italy, for example, the TV series landed on national networks in 2001, while in North America even in 2004. This preamble is necessary to understand that even a colossus like the manga It took Oda a few years to make himself known to the public at a global level and, hand in hand with the print and television edition, even video games have taken a similar path.
Until 2001, in fact, none of the first titles of ONE PIECE managed to stand outside the Japanese market: among the first experiments, unlike many other previous or contemporary battle shonen, there were some role-playing games produced for Game Boy WonderSwan and PlayStation One . Extremely traditional, for example, was ONE PIECE: Mezase Kaizoku Ou! whose campaign stopped at the events of Rogue Town but also proposed the events of the film entitled the gold of the world . Other productions far more experimental were instead ONE PIECE: Yume no Rufi Kaizoku Dan Tanjou which reached the narrative arc of Arlong Park and proposed some slight variations of plot, but above all ONE PIECE: Tobidase Kaizokudan! in which the player played unprecedented protagonists and lived an original adventure.
Only in 2002 came the first game of ONE PIECE for the European market: it was Grand Battle developed by Ganbarion and distributed by Bandai Namco for PSX. Let's talk about the first fight at meetings for the franchise in which characters from the super deformed in 3D fought on two-dimensional backgrounds. The plot of the game did not go beyond the events of Little Garden the island where Luffy and his friends meet the two giants Dori and Brogi little before the narrative arc of the islands of Drum and of the reign of Alabasta . The Grand Battle saga continued with successive chapters, which expanded its narrative line and character roster; the aforementioned games, however, once again never saw the light outside of Japan.
The tradition continued with arrogance in the homeland and, in the following years, some works conditioned even the animated series: ONE PIECE Ocean's Dream for example, included an original story that inspired an arch narrative filler of the same name, located immediately after the saga of Long Ring Long Land – in which the protagonist had to face the pirate Foxy in a daring duel with guantoni and afro.
Rather famous in Japanese soil, however, was Treasure Battle a collection of mini-games in which the user could select the character with which to perform the various activities.
ONE PIECE's video games returned to Europe only in 2004 with Round the Land a side-scrolling RPG with 3D characters, in which it was necessary to defeat hordes of enemies and then reach the final bosses as Ener Crocodile Buggy the Clown and so on. Also in this case it was an original story in which the Pirates of Straw Hat meet a giant named Blyue who kidnapped the princess Bibi and forced the protagonists to delve into his abandoned mansion. The following year, in 2005, the Grand Battle saga resumed life with ONE PIECE Grand Battle Rush a brawl at meetings that for the first time also carried the brand on the shelves of North America.
American partnership, now bloomed, continued in 2006 with the fighting game Grand Adventure and the sliding brawler Unlimited Adventure : the first landed on PS2 and GameCube, while the second marked the beginning of a lasting partnership with Nintendo, reaching the shores of Wii .
Just the console of the Grande N, among other things, has hosted over the years one of the sagas most appreciated by fans: Unlimited Cruise . The first chapter saw the light in 2008 in Japan and in 2009 in Italy: a sliding brawler in which the protagonists could explore several islands to get to face enemy pirates and boss fight against some of the most iconic antagonists.
Each atoll then presented some geographical peculiarities, with boundless forests, rocky deserts, frozen lands and volcanic environments. Unlimited Cruise then got to know a second chapter, which continued the original storyline and which even made some characters appear before anime adaptation, allowing Japanese fans to listen to their preview voices.
The pirates in question were Eustass Kidd and Admiral Kizaru both appeared for the first time during the dramatic narrative arc of the Sabaody Islands when the Pirates of Straw Hat were ruinously defeated by Bear Bartholomew and by the Navy, being separated and sent to different corners of the globe. Those events then triggered the sagas of Impel Down and Marineford following which the manga and the anime operated a two-year time gap. Unlimited Cruise also saw the light on Nintendo 3DS in a version entitled Unlimited Cruise SP : the European edition was itself divided into two parts, since the game was a remake of both the main episodes developed by Ganbarion for Nintendo Wii. The SP variant also included some additional game sections, including the Marineford saga.
In 2010 he returned to the genre of fighting with ONE PIECE: Gigant Battle which proposed a large roster of playable characters: among the wrestlers were the Mugiwara, the Seven Fleet , the Whitebeard Pirates and some of the most famous Marines. The last decade, however, has allowed development teams to experiment more and return to explore different genres from fighting games, just like the origins of the brand. Here in 2012 was born what still remains one of the most famous works inspired by the buccaneers designed by Eiichiro Oda: ONE PIECE Pirate Warriors . The title, once again created by the boys of Ganbarion, projected the franchise in the genre of musou. A game formula that, even today, embodies an extremely valid declination of the fights proposed in the manga and in the anime, in which very often we have witnessed fierce battles between a single hero and hordes of enemies.
A large number of final boss fight, however, allowed Pirate Warriors to equally do justice to the beating heart of each narrative arc of ONE PIECE, and that is the moment when the protagonists found themselves facing the antagonist on duty. Each character was also characterized as never before, with movements and techniques extremely faithful to the moves that the pirates made in the original versions.
Pirate Warriors, culminating with the saga of Marineford, had a second episode for PS3 and PS Vita the following year, in 2013. Since the story of Oda had not continued much forward, Bandai Namco proposed a hybrid between original writing and adaptation, as the campaign of the game brought together some of the most famous characters and catapulted them into a plot full of fan-service and definitely not very effective.
Pirate Warriors 3 the final chapter of the saga, finally saw the light in 2015 for Sony consoles (including PS4) and PC. The game proposed the plot of the work from the beginning to the narrative arc of Dressrosa . The latter, however, since it was still in progress in Japan, took place quite differently from the comic and the TV series.
Another important exponent was ONE PIECE: Unlimited World Red , an adventure halfway between the musou and the action adventure with a special graphic: the cel shading, in fact, was combined with very bright colors that gave a pleasant and unusual painting effect. The result was a title with a visual compartment not very detailed, yet sufficiently fascinating, as if it were made with watercolors.
Even in this case the plot was nothing but a mix of originality and derivation: a totally new bad, the mysterious Red constantly catapulted the Mugiwara in locations already known, in which they found themselves facing old enemies and even to find old allies – as Portuguese D. Ace brother of Luffy who died two years earlier at Marineford.
After many years of honored management, Ganbarion left the baton in 2016 to the guys of Spike Chunsoft (the authors of Jump Force) for ONE PIECE: Burning Blood : a classic three-dimensional brawler, appreciable for his an incredibly detailed visual segment capable of returning a strong familiarity with the Eiichiro Oda trait, but which was unable to express its full potential due to a very meager amount of content.
The combat system, then, suffered from a balancing at times very bad, since some wrestlers were much more advantageous to use than others. Nevertheless, each character appeared well characterized and in possession of a single and particular moveset.
A couple of experiments have been seen, in recent years, also in the mobile field, although the products in question have never landed outside of Japan: we refer specifically to Thousand Storm and Bounty Rush respectively an action with an isometric view and a rudimentary fighting game in three dimensions.
ONE PIECE has also landed in virtual reality with Grand Cruise distributed for PlayStation VR : it is an interactive adventure consisting of only two levels, " Naval Clash with the Navy "and" Clash with the kraken ", in which the player can interact with the members of the Straw Hat crew and complete some minigames, for an overall duration experience a couple of hours.
On March 15th the brand of ONE PIECE will finally welcome World Seeker : a game that, according to the tests we have carried out in recent months, promises to bring the picturesque imagery painted by Eiichiro Oda on new heights narratives and techniques. The videogame adventure of Monkey D. Luffy will be dropped in a totally open world, while its progression seems to want to model the crism of the genre.
The goal is to give all the fans of the brand an experience completely new compared to the past: if the guys from Ganbarion, back at the reins of production, have succeeded, we'll find out very soon. Meanwhile, we explain the sails and let's get ready to raise the anchor: the Thousand Sunny is about to set sail again towards the horizon …