Video games are becoming increasingly predictable and regimented, with their clearly defined genres and within them, it’s often just about launching sequels. This is understandable, as development costs skyrocket, there is so much money at stake and it’s often hard to take risks.
Once in a while a game comes along that takes a risk and defies category norms, such a game is Okami from Clover Studio.
In Okami, the game takes place in a three-dimensional brush painted Japanese landscape. The graphics look like ancient Japanese brush paintings and are a far cry from the hyper-reality of most of today’s games.
The game is based on a classic Japanese folk tale about a wolf with magical powers. The player’s goal is to help the Wolf obtain powers and protect him from spirits and enemies.
Interestingly the game’s inspiration came from the original watercolor character design sketches, the design team wondered if they could be turned into 3-D, and the idea started from there.
The artistic aspect is even used in the game-play. As a player, you have the power to stop the action and transform the world into a flat piece of paper. Here you can use a brush and draw certain marks that will impact the game when you bring back the action.
Although it Okami has a planned US release in November 2005, it’s obviously likely to fare better in Japan, but has the potential to become something of a cult classic over here.