One Piece Odyssey devs on its enduring appeal and the difficulty of adaptations

One Piece odyssey
(Image credit: ILCA)

Adapting one of the best-known manga and anime properties is no easy feat, but it seems like One Piece Odyssey producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki isn't really fazed. Even so, marking the 25th anniversary of the One Piece franchise is a major milestone, and Tsuzuki isn't taking that responsibility lightly.

To this very end, we figuratively sat down with Tsuzuki to discuss the nuts and bolts and general mechanics of One Piece Odyssey – including the exploration of memories, as well as the pressure of working on such a monumental project and more.


GamesRadar: We've seen One Piece video games that recreate the story of the manga and anime, and those that go off in their own direction entirely, but One Piece Odyssey appears determined to do both at the exact same time. Can you detail why the team decided to go this route and revisit classic arcs but with changed storylines?

Katsuaki Tsuzuki: Sure! First, the development of this project began when we were thinking about what the most suitable game would be to mark the 25th anniversary of the One Piece series. We heard voices from fans around the world that they want to play a game where they can enjoy the same adventures that the Straw Hat Crew encounters throughout the series. We felt that to explore the diversity and depth of a One Piece adventure, the game would fit best with the RPG genre. 

When it comes to a One Piece RPG, the words "Drama" and "World Immersion" come into play. The team decided that through this game, players should feel a strong sense of satisfaction when they reached the ending – while being able to relate to the theme at the same time. Although the basic story of this game is surrounding the legendary island of Waford, when we think about "World Immersion'' – especially in a One Piece fashion – we felt that it would be better to lead the Straw Hat Crew to visit some of the fascinating worlds depicted in the manga and anime.

We prepared a storyline that includes visits to places like Alabasta and Water Seven. However, it won't be an RPG story if the experience were fragmented between islands, so it's necessary to create a story theme that gels everything into one grand story. It was not an easy task, but by continually valuing the essence of the Straw Hat Crew's adventures, we believe we managed to craft something that the players can be excited for – with a theme of "story of bonds, spun by memories."

One Piece odyssey

(Image credit: ILCA)

GR: How different should we expect these memory recreations to be? Are we talking entirely new plots with unexpected twists and conclusions or simply new bits and pieces that weren't present in the original but don't impact the overall narrative really?

Tsuzuki: The way we envisioned the World of Memories was this: What will the Straw Hat Crew, from 2 years later, do when they land again in a familiar setting from where they were? Therefore, after discussing with the Development team, we agreed to not change the plot drastically nor keep things too much as it was – to a point. 

Indeed, there were various proposals as to how we should compose the story, but in the end, we concluded that the Straw Hat Crew from 2 years later, will revisit some familiar settings – but they will also encounter what has changed since their last visit, and what remained the same after they left. These two axes are the key pillars that will lead players into one big story, which they will find through their adventure. We hope players can enjoy both sides of the axis and experience the story of bonds that were spun by memories, in One Piece Odyssey.

GR: What considerations, if any, were given to players that maybe aren't as familiar with One Piece lore as others? Is there any sort of recap or something like that for players that, for example, are only learning about Water Seven for the first time through One Piece Odyssey?

Tsuzuki: Of course there is! In anticipation of players who are new to One Piece, we have plenty of "Grand Logs" – which are a collection of videos where you can review events that the Straw Hat Crew experience in the manga and anime, in a way that is unique to this project. Our biggest goal is that players who are not that familiar with the manga and anime will be able to enjoy the game with ease, and will be encouraged to revisit the manga and anime to see (or relive) the adventures of the Straw Hat Crew!

One Piece odyssey

(Image credit: ILCA)

"There has always been pressure from fans all over the world on adapting the original works and anime into a game."

GR: Given the anniversary of the franchise, the popularity of One Piece Film: Red as well as the anime and manga generally, and the impending Netflix adaptation, it really feels like there's never been more pressure to get a video game adaptation right. Was this on the team's mind as they developed One Piece Odyssey?

Tsuzuki: Yes! There has always been pressure from fans all over the world on adapting the original works and anime into a game. For me, I had the opportunity to adapt One Piece into a game on One Piece Pirate Warriors 4. I've experienced that expectation firsthand, and I'm eager to take that challenge again through this project. 

For One Piece Odyssey, we focused on creating a One Piece world that is enjoyable for everyone – in an RPG format, which is never an easy task as the game needs to resonate with long-time fans, along with those who just learned about the series. With new contents such as the One Piece FILM RED movie, and the anime episodes currently available on different platforms such as Netflix, we believe more people have got the chance to learn about One Piece a little bit more –  and we also hope that even the newcomers can feel the same enjoyment through One Piece Odyssey.

GR: With One Piece Odyssey revisiting these classic arcs, I have to ask: do you have a personal favorite One Piece arc?

Tsuzuki: Personally, Alabasta is my favorite arc. As One Piece is on its way to its grand conclusion, there are plenty of charming points to love from the different arcs, and it is hard to choose! However, I always remembered my 10-year-old self watching the Alabasta arc at that time, and ever since then I've always been mesmerized by the adventures that the Straw Hat Crew constantly encounters. This is also one of the reasons that, when we discussed with the Development team, we chose "Adventure" as a strong element we need to maintain throughout the course of this project's creation. 

One Piece odyssey

(Image credit: ILCA)

GR: Can you speak a bit about adding Lim to the mix? Was it particularly nerve-wracking to bring a new One Piece character to life with Oda's design?

Tsuzuki: Of course! We were very careful when we first brought this discussion up. The character "Lim" was created in the process of creating the plot of the story, as mentioned earlier. She embodies the theme of a "story of bonds, spun by memories". In this game, the Straw Hat Crew will revisit various places, and they will find both what changed over the past 2 years, and what has remained the same over the years. Lim is the one who connects these two parallels into one –  therefore, since she holds an important key to the story, we have to be very careful when we treat her in the story. The character is so important that the original author Eiichiro Oda kindly contributed to the design of Lim.

GR: What is it, do you think, that makes One Piece so enduring as a franchise? What's so appealing about Luffy, the Straw Hats, and all the rest?

Tsuzuki: In comparison to other works, One Piece's charm lies in the great variety that the series provide throughout the story. That all comes from Eiichiro Oda's dedication to continue sharing his evolving vision through his drawings – which I believe is what captures the heart of fans from all over the world. 

Therefore, being that Bandai Namco Entertainment is blessed with the opportunity to create games based on such works, we think it's very important to deliver a project that is both appealing and compelling to the fans. With One Piece Odyssey, we are confident that we can convey the authentic One Piece experience and the Straw Hat Crew's adventure through this project.

One Piece Odyssey is set to release for the PC via Steam on January 12, 2023 and the PS5, PS4, and Xbox Series X on January 13, 2023. While it's certainly one of the earliest, there are plenty of other new games for 2023 to look forward to as well.

Rollin Bishop
US Managing Editor

Rollin is the US Managing Editor at GamesRadar+. With over 16 years of online journalism experience, Rollin has helped provide coverage of gaming and entertainment for brands like IGN, Inverse,, and more. While he has approximate knowledge of many things, his work often has a focus on RPGs and animation in addition to franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Age. In his spare time, Rollin likes to import Valkyria Chronicles merch and watch anime.