Xbox is enjoying a spell of increased interest in the Far East, largely thanks to the release of From Software's far-fetched mech blaster with a shouty name. Murakumo allegedly shipped more than 30,000 units in its first week on sale and drove hardware sales above the 5,000 unit threshold for the first time in ages, leading to renewed interest in other Japanese Xbox projects; none more so than From's own RPG project, Otogi. Otogi - the name is taken from the Japanese word for fairytale - is about 30-40 percent complete, and in a recent interview with Famitsu Xbox translated by XenGamers, From Software revealed intimate details about the project. Like Blinx: The Timesweeper, Otogi was designed from the outset to harness Xbox's hardware advantage, and features a totally destructible environment. "When environments are destroyed, the game calculates the velocity and angle of impact to determine how something should collapse," senior planner Yamada-san explained. "Thereby, a piece of the environment can break and send fragments into nearby buildings, causing them to partially collapse as well. For example, when players destroy a Shinto shrine marker it can cause a bridge to collapse nearby. Likewise, flying fragments can also hurt enemies. The level of fragment damage inflicted will depend upon whether the environment being destroyed is wooden or stone." Set in the Japanese Heian Era of 794-1185 AD, Otogi will feature a hero by the name of Raikou (a handle taken from the Raikouki, a collection of fairytales which serve as the game's story), and unlike your standard Japanese RPG, Raikou will not be armed with a sword - "we're planning something more original and directly related to the story," Otogi director Takeuchi-san commented, hinting at an elaborate underlying hand-to-hand combat system. The game will be mission-based, and this has given the creative team license to dabble in many types of gameplay. "One of the missions will be to take a boat across a long river," Yamada-san enthuses. "We wanted to render a unique boat and something that captured the essence of the game's dark story and setting." Although boating will be a fixture, many of the characters and enemies in Otogi can actually fly - "most of the actual fighting takes place in mid-air," Takeuchi-san reveals. "Players can expect huge four-legged monsters who will be able to jump long distances as well. Those kinds of enemies have distinct advantages for our gameplay system, one of which is our interest in creating a fun beat-em up style." Although Otogi is still many moons away from completion, Japanese Xbox owners will doubtless be watching it carefully, and with Murakumo on show at E3 earlier this year, it seems likely that platform holder Microsoft will be extending From every courtesy should the developer wish to export their latest adventure overseas. Related Feature - Otogi screenshots
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