Interview: One Piece Odyssey Producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki on how Oda-sensei helped bring the game to life

We recently got to interview One Piece Odyssey producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki, and he shared how creator Oda-sensei helped bring the game to life.

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Prior to Tokyo Game Show 2022, Bandai Namco gave us an opportunity to interview One Piece Odyssey producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki alongside other SEA gaming press. There,  he was able to share with us how series creator Eiichiro Oda (aka Oda-sensei) helped bring the game to life.

In the interview, Tsuzuki revealed lots of interesting info about the new One Piece game. Not only did he share the inspiration of the game, but he also mentioned its status in the One Piece canon. Plus, Tsuzuki revealed that series creator Eiichiro Oda is heavily involved in the game’s development.

One Piece Odyssey Interview – Producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki

So, without further ado, here is our full interview with One Piece Odyssey producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki:

[NOTE: This interview has been edited for clarity]

Series creator Eiichiro Oda designed new characters and monsters for the game. Is there anything else he worked on or have some influence on?

KT: At the beginning of the development, the team and Oda-Sensei conveyed a wish to a One Piece game that has never been there before. Then after making the base for the game itself, the team brought the story to Shueisha and Oda-sensei to get their opinion on the game itself.

For this game, the cooperation that has been done by the development team and with Oda-sensei and Shueisha’s One Piece team is the biggest one that we have between all of the One Piece titles that we have developed before.

So, there are a lot of things that we talked about and we have also received opinions regarding the game from Oda-sensei. Also, some monster designs and character designs have been done by Oda-sensei as well

Also, as you have seen with the initial trailer, there’s also a comment from Oda-sensei that he has seen it and he’s looking forward to it. And also, within his very busy time he also did artwork for the game that I think some of you have seen before.

©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Toei Animation ©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. *Images are under development

Is there a specific arc in One Piece that inspired you when creating Odyssey?

KT: For the story this time, we looked at the part of the story that was part of the two years ago events. The part we were [most inspired by] is before Sabaody and the part where you see a lot of discovery in the One Piece world itself, like new islands and then there’s a new story opening, new characters. Those parts of the story are what we were looking at for this game. That’s the part that we are taking inspiration from the most.

Is the game canon?

KT: The story of One Piece Odyssey, since it has been developed for a long time, it will be around the Whole Cake Island, around where the Straw Hat crew are still fighting Big Mom.

On the other hand, with this long time of development, there will be no discrepancy within the story, and there should be no problem with fans understanding the story itself.

Regarding canonicity, it is not part of the story. However, it fits within that story of One Piece itself so fans will not be confused regarding the continuity.

©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Toei Animation ©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. *Images are under development

Can players who are not familiar with One Piece enjoy Odyssey?

KT: One of the points that the team is putting a lot of effort into is not only for the fans of One Piece to have fun with the game but for people who are new to One Piece as well.

As you know, in an RPG, you start with an introduction of characters where you learn about the backstory and the good points of each character, and also the story of what happens in this game. We are hoping to be able to convey all of the parts so people [who are new to the series can] play until the end and understand the best points of One Piece.

What is the hardest thing about making a One Piece game given how long-running and beloved the series is?

KT: The team has been developing this title for around four to five years now, and it was very difficult to get the story going without having discrepancies with the continuity of the story all while putting the perspective of the player on how they can enjoy this world itself.

The first part is to make a very fun foundation of this game and the world itself, and then to brush it up to keep making it better and better. However, as an RPG, the team believes that they were able to make an RPG with a lot of dramatic experiences that a player can enjoy.

©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Toei Animation ©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. *Images are under development

Can you tell us about the new characters in One Piece Odyssey? Regarding who they are and how they were developed

KT: As you have seen in the trailer and the information that we have shown, the two new characters will be key to the story.

Without giving any spoilers, there are two themes for these characters. One is something that we cannot say. And the other one would be kizuna or connections between people. So, if players think about these two themes while playing the game, they will have a deeper understanding and better experience with the game itself. We cannot tell too much right now though.

©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Toei Animation ©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. *Images are under development

In case you missed its announcement, Odyssey is an upcoming turn-based JRPG that’s based on the iconic One Piece anime/manga series. It features original character and monster designs by series creator, Eiichiro Oda, and it has music by Motoi Sakuraba (of Dark Souls and Tales of series fame).

One Piece Odyssey is set to release in January 13, 2023 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.