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Little King's Story

Since its announcement, ooh, ages ago, when it was known only as ‘Project O’, Little King’s Story has generated more buzz than an apiary filled with espresso-fuelled bees. Part of the reason for the excitement is no doubt the team of people who are putting the game together. Between them, the brains behind Little King’s Story have worked on the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Harvest Moon series. The direction the gameplay is taking would be the other reason people are getting all fidgety about getting their hands on it. It seems to be a curious mix of Sims-style interaction, Pikmin-style crowd control, RPG-style task fulfillment and Harvest Moon-style bucolic romping.

The general gist is that you, young Corobo, are given a crown and declared the king of Arupoco Kingdom. Your aim is to make the land a happy and fruitful place to live, so you set about telling your citizens what to do to achieve this. Your role as Corobo is primarily the order-giver, as your people are smart enough to do what you’ve told them by themselves. But your citizens aren’t just Pikmin-y drones. The developers boast that each NPC will have their own personality and that you can interact with them individually. And this has wider implications: producer Yoshirou Kimura has said in one interview that he’d like to implement a system where if someone in your party dies while fighting a dragon, you’ve got to go and explain to the poor NPC’s family why he’s not coming back. We’re not sure whether this will make it into the final build, but we’re preparing our best sombre expressions just in case.

Your people will follow you around like enthusiastic stalkers, then do exactly what you want when you get to your destination. Model citizens, really. There are character classes like ‘carpenter’ and ‘soldier’ but the emphasis is on individuals, not groups. The trailer we’ve seen shows a world populated by chubby cows with wings, odd turnip people and far too many people wearing rabbit-eared hats. The fact that one house we saw appeared to have a fake cow in place of a roof should also reassure you that this won’t be a game that takes itself too seriously. In fact, it looks a right royal treat. Notable names on this project include executive producer Yasuhiro Wada (Harvest Moon), producer Yoshirou Kimura (Harvest Moon, bonkers kiss-chase RPG Chulip), character designer Hideo Minaba (Final Fantasy XII) and director Youichi Kawaguchi (Dragon Quest VIII). Shouldn’t be too shabby, then.

Aug 7, 2008