We spoke with the Japanese indie developer Edelweiss and learned some fun details about their upcoming game.
During E3 2019, Nintendo World Report had the chance to chat with the Japanese indie developer Edelweiss about their upcoming game, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. The development team consists of just two team members, Director Nal and CG Artist Koichi. We talked about the decision to bring the game to Switch, the varied gameplay, and some of the game's inspirations.
[Note: A corrupt SD card prevented us from sharing this interview until now. Apologies for the delay.]
Nintendo World Report (NWR): For our readers who are unfamiliar with Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, could you please give a brief description?
Edelweiss (EW): Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a combination of an action game and a rice farming simulation RPG.
NWR: It was announced recently that Sakuna is coming to Switch. What led to the decision to bring the game to Switch?
EW: We’ve been interested in the Nintendo Switch ever since its release. And then we met with some folks from Nintendo and they asked us “why don’t you bring the game to Switch.” And then from there we just started programming and developing the game for Switch and now it’s coming to the Switch hardware.
NWR: In the side-scrolling action portion of the game, you have a lasso ability that can make for some fun level traversal and combat. Could you please talk a little bit about this mechanic?
EW: You can stretch the Divine Raiment to move about and also grab and swing around enemies. It can be used as both a moving and action tool. The Divine Raiment also has a very important role for the story.
NWR: Could you please tell us about the game’s story?
EW: Sakuna used to be a high up goddess in the celestial capital city. She made a really bad mistake and was banished to a very dangerous island and must now spend her time with the humans that live there.
NWR: Who is composing the game’s music?
EW: The composer is Hiroyuki Oshima. We want the music to be melodious. I feel like for a lot of games the BGM (background music) doesn’t interact with the gameplay. But on the other hand, for this game we wanted to make the music more impactful with the gameplay.
NWR: Can you talk a little bit more about the action gameplay?
EW: People think Sakuna is an action game and it does look like an action game, but the controls are actually inspired by fighting games. So players have tight control and smooth mechanics so that’s what we prioritize for the action combat.
NWR: The E3 demo ended with a battle against a relatively large opponent. Will there be many battles throughout the game with foes of that size?
EW: There will be various types of gigantic enemies.
NWR: The development team for the game is quite small. Could you tell us about some of the challenges and freedom that arise from such a small development team?
EW: One of the benefits of being such a small team is that we can be the decision makers. When we face a big obstacle, we don’t have a lot of manpower since we’re basically just a two-man team. When there’s something that’s really technical that we can’t handle, we have to outsource and then we also have to manage those people. So that’s an example of a difficulty we have as a small team.
NWR: Were you inspired by any other games during the creation of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin?
EW: The action part of the game was sort of inspired by Devil May Cry, but the backbone would be more from the Super Nintendo game Terranigma. We were also inspired by the movies, the Seven Samurai and Princess Mononoke.
NWR: Would you say any characters in Sakuna are similar to or inspired by the characters in Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai?
EW: It might be hard to tell in the game, but I kind of got some ideas from characters in the Seven Samurai.
NWR: Any final words for people who are excited about the game?
EW: First of all, thanks for the wait. We are most confident that the game will be really good so we hope that players can enjoy a smooth action combat game and also have more interest in rice farming and Japanese culture as well.
NWR: Thank you very much for the interview.