Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The "animefication" of Little King's Story

I don't believe I'm the only one who noticed that the new art direction for the sequel to Little King's Story, titled The King, The Demon King and the 7 Princesses: New King Story (now that's a mouthful), differs significantly from the original. Case in point:

King Corobo from Little King's Story
"New and improved" King Corobo
I would be lying if I said I didn't like his new character design at all, as I actually quite like the illustration above, but the fact of the matter is the original had such a unique, quirky art style that has been completely thrown out the window. I assume the majority of the reasoning behind the vast change in art style stems from the fact that anime/manga style art appeals to a much wider audience. With developer Cing dissolved, Marvelous Entertainment probably has free reign to do what they wish with the intellectual property rights. As such, we get this:

Who put thighs and ass in my Little King's Story? Granted, shots like these are stills from event scenes and probably make up a small percentage of the game, but it's clear that the series has a new, much more mainstream, direction. With early reports from Famitsu stating that the game will even have "love elements," it sounds like New King Story is very much trying to catch the attention of a certain crowd. 

In-game screenshot from Little King's Story 
New King's Story. As you can see, the in-game graphics are ever-so-slightly more realistic. 
It's sad to see such an original-looking title changed so drastically for what I can only assume to be an attempt to garner better sales. Though I don't mind the new art direction, it looks too much like so many other games out there already. Little King's Story's King Corobo was so iconic, but the Corobo from the new title? Not so much. 

Regardless, I'll still be picking this one up when it's released in the west (it's already out for the PS Vita in Japan). And that's even without having played Little King's Story. I own it, I just haven't gotten around to it, okay? Oh, the shame! 


Alois Wittwer said...

I don't know what to think about this :(

On the one hand, it does look like its being significantly reworked from the original so the change in visual style is an understandable decision but, on the OTHER hand, it's a pretty huge slap in the face of the original work. It's pretty awful how easily some companies are willing to completely change a game's presentation. There doesn't seem to be a level of respect that games should be maintained as is for historical purposes.

apricotsushi said...

Alois – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm glad I'm not the only one a little bit miffed by this decision.

I can understand if the original title was, say, critically panned and the developers wanted to create a new image for the game that changing the style so significantly might be the way to go, but for a game like this that got rave reviews and is on almost every top 10 Wii game list out there, it seems a real shame.

I thought that perhaps Little King's Story didn't sell very well, but a quote on the game's Wiki page says that it was considered a moderate success and continues to sell steady numbers (of course I don't know how accurate that is)... So if that's truly the case, why the change? Grr

GamesAndBiz said...

The biggest thing I didn't like about Little King's Story was the visual style. For me it was like the game was shot thought a thick layer of Vaseline.

This new art style though? Well, here's a Vita game I'll actually buy.

Also sorry about being late with the photos of the tumblers. I'll get them for you, promise!

Also on a very unrelated note: I've just discovered there's a game of Chi's Sweet Home. How awesome is that?!?!?

Bryan Ochalla said...

My response to seeing the first screenshots of New King's Story: Oh, hell no!

Like you, Anne, I loved the original game's art style. The generic style that has replaced it in the Vita re-imagining, though? Not so much.

BTW, I'm also guessing that the art style was switched in order to garner better sales. AFAIK, the Wii original did sell "acceptably," especially for such a niche title, but it hardly lit up the sales charts.

I'm guessing the folks at Marvelous thought a little change up of the graphics could help change the game's fortunes, too. I doubt that's going to be the case, especially considering Vita's horrible Japanese sales so far, but who knows? We'll find out soon.

apricotsushi said...

GamesAndBiz – Hey, it's great to hear from someone with an opinion different from my own! I guess those of us who like the original art style are probably in the minority, given this decision. I suppose it is a bit of an "acquired taste."

Don't worry about the tumbler, just wanted to remind you! ;)

And really?? A Chi's Sweet Home game?? Tell me more!

apricotsushi said...

Bryan – I remember you posted about this very issue a while back, too, didn't you?

It definitely is a shame for folks like us who liked the old, quirky style, but if it did result in more sales and the gameplay is as solid as people have said the original's is, then I guess I wouldn't be adverse to more people playing the series, even if it is only because the art is different from before.

And you're right, the Vita isn't doing so hot over there... Interesting that they swapped to a Sony console after Little King's Story was for the Wii, too. Maybe they don't want people to view it as a "kiddy" title? The art style and the fact that it was on the Wii may have turned some more "mature" gamers away from the original, perhaps.

Motherplayer said...

I have to admit I am digging the new art direction, though the original did look pretty nice. I do find it funny looking at this post, remembering how they used to do this back in the day with anime-illustrated games and give them a more "Western" look for the box art to garner more sales. It's quite nice to know that now it's the other way around with the new anime art work for you it seems. I actually find that to be a GOOD thing!

apricotsushi said...

Motherplayer – That's a funny point you bring up! I remember a lot of those older game covers from the later 80s and early 90s in particular where the box art totally didn't look like the game at all, haha. As I said, I still quite like the new art – it's very nice! Just a little sad to see the more unique style overlooked in favor for something a little more "generic." I am a sucker for anime-style art, though ;)