With Clover studios having disbanded, some thought they'd never see a proper follow up to its 2006 PlayStation 2 classic, Ōkami. Ōkamiden, Capcom's upcoming Nintendo DS title set in the Ōkami universe, may just be what gamers had been hoping for. Just don't go calling it as sequel.
"I should clarify for you that I don't consider it a sequel so much as a spiritual successor," Ōkamiden producer Motoshide Eshiro tells me via a translator.
Eshiro explains that there's Ōkami, which was on the PlayStation 2 and the Wii, and then there's the upcoming Ōkamiden -- he'd like to keep the "brands" separate. Ōkamiden, however, maintains the feel of the original, existing alongside that game's universe. Eshiro says this is mostly due to the fact that the Ōkamiden team has a deep understanding and respect for the original material.
"I think the team is just happy to be involved in an Ōkami project, and for them the joy of being involved in an Ōkami project is greater than any pressure or stress they might feel to make this game good," he says of the enormous responsibility of living up to the original. "In fact, I think being able to to work on this motivates them further, and spurs them on to try to make something good, and they want to make the best game they can on the DS."
The not-a-sequel Ōkamiden is schedule to hit North American DS systems in 2011.