Keiji Inafune has said that by distancing Kaio: King of Pirates from its Chinese source material he hopes to overcome western disinterest.
Kaio is based on the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is as well known in Asia as many fairy stories are in the west, but is kind of obscure internationally. Speaking with Siliconera, Inafune said that by disguising this a little bit in pirate and animal themes, he hopes to appeal to western gamers regardless.
“I’m a fan of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and it’s a great story. If you take it as a Chinese war story, it’s hard to get into if you’re from the west,” he said.
“With Kaio, I recreated it with a pirate theme and the characters are all animals. It’s easier for people to get into since it’s totally recreated.
“Dragonball is a good example since it’s based on a Chinese story, Journey to the West, too, but you don’t really think about that. You take it for granted that the story is Dragonball and later on you find out that it’s based on a Chinese story. I hope Kaio will do the same.”
Inafune said he likes making games which draw on established properties and themes, as with kaio and the Arthurian legend-inspired Soul Sacrifice.
“As a creator, it’s really appealing to create something from scratch. I tend to like to create something original from something familiar that everybody is familiar with because it’s easy to catch on to,” he said.
“People won’t be scared about approaching it because they will say ‘I think I know of that legend or story.’ When you take back the layers in one my creations it’s actually something different. People think it’s something familiar, but when they open it up it’s something new. In general, that’s the approach I like to take. It’s been a successful strategy throughout my career.
“Using cuisine as an example, if somebody gives you a dish that’s brand new you might be hesitant to try it because you don’t know what you’re eating. However, if it’s a recreation of something you know. like Asian fusion you would be more interested in trying it even if it’s brand new because it’s partially something you know and you can imagine what it’s derived off of.”
Kaio: King of Pirates was announced in 2011 for 3DS, but has gone largely unrevealed due to licensing partnerships with publisher Marvellous AQL.