One Piece Odyssey Is Coming At The Worst Time For Fans

One Piece is more popular than ever, and while there are good reasons to look forward to the One Piece Odyssey JRPG, the timing of its release (still presumed to be 2022) is less than ideal, given the buildup to the series’ endgame in the manga and anime. The game will provide a traditional turn-based JRPG featuring the Straw Hat Pirates crew in a side story that does not impact the main continuity. This will hopefully yield a quality video game experience, but many fans are more focused on the recent big reveals in the One Piece story. With more revelations to come, and a climax brewing for the series, it is harder for some to get excited for a one-off adventure that is not part of the series’ canon.


On a positive note, One Piece Odyssey looks like Dragon Quest 11, a game that developer ILCA provided support work for. If Odyssey can come close to the standard set by one of the best JRPGs of its generation, it may be rewarding for fans, despite its awkward release timing. Where anime and manga fans are pondering the implications of the true nature of Luffy’s Devil Fruit powers, and the mystery of the Void Century, Odyssey rolls back the clock to a point where the story had less breakneck momentum. The game started production in 2019, and the story of One Piece has evolved drastically since that time.

The story of Odyssey involves the crew becoming shipwrecked and separated on a mysterious island, following the format of many self-contained games in the Ys series, among others. This sort of premise mirrors many of the One Piece films, which are typically non-canonical side stories where the Straw Hat Pirates intervene against localized threats. Jimbei is not playable in One Piece Odyssey, which is mostly due to when the game’s development began. This omission makes sense from a story standpoint, as after the heroic Fishman officially joins the crew, they immediately transitioned to the epic Wano arc of the story, which contained many game-changing revelations.

One Piece Side-Stories Like Odyssey & Movies Draw Less Interest Than The Main Story

Most One Piece fans adore the central cast, and more adventures with those beloved characters are largely welcome. The Wano arc included enough sweeping changes, and setups for major conflicts, that it may be hard for fans to not compare Odyssey to a filler story. Even the theatrically released One Piece Red movie, which reveals more about Red-Haired Shanks, has somewhat muted appeal at this point, given the intense curiosity surrounding the main story emerging in the manga and its anime adaptation. Big-budget JRPGs are something of a rarity today, so that alone makes the game notable.

One Piece’s author Eiichiro Oda helped to write the game’s story, and Oda has said Odyssey is like a movie with a heavily cinematic presentation. Largely due to the urgency built in Oda’s manga, many fans are less focused on One Piece’s movies and side-stories, when the primary narrative is at such a compelling point. Prior games like One Piece: World Seeker delivered a similar product with its Prison Island story. There is reason to hope Odyssey will provide more engaging gameplay than World Seeker’s open world adventure. The momentum of the central story is much greater than it was at the time of World Seeker’s release, however, making any side projects feel like more of a distraction from the main event.

Turn-Based JRPG Anime Adaptations Are Rare, Making Odyssey Stand Out Despite Timing

Putting aside the issues of timing, the concept of Odyssey is fantastic. JRPG fans see fewer big-budget, turn-based games than they did in the past. Most anime-licensed games tend to be of mediocre quality, but if ILCA focuses on making it, first and foremost, a top-notch JRPG, Odyssey can find an audience beyond One Piece fans. Odyssey looks like the JRPG fans have wanted, even if it comes at a time where they might prefer to see how the series itself ends.

Turn-based JRPGs based on anime licenses were commonplace a few gaming generations ago. Subject matter ranging from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure to Sailor Moon received turn-based JRPG adaptations during the Super Famicom era. Today, more anime are adapted as Musou brawler games, or action games with RPG elements, leaving classic turn-based JRPGs a rarity. This alone makes One Piece Odyssey noteworthy, even if the timing is less than ideal for series fans.

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