The world of Ever Oasis – part 1
Hello, everyone! This is Koichi Ishii from GREZZO Co., Ltd.* I’m the producer and director of Ever Oasis on Nintendo 3DS family systems.
*GREZZO Co., Ltd.: a software development company based in Tokyo, Japan. They were involved in the development of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.
Ever since the game was featured in the Nintendo Direct on April 12th, 2017, I’ve been delighted to receive so much feedback from everyone. In particular, many comments seem to focus on the characters – people have been saying things like, “The young hero and the water spirit Esna are adorable!” and, “I want a Noot soft toy!” (like the one I was holding in the video.)
Thank you all very much!
A Noot figure created with a 3D printer (Please note: this is not an amiibo)
Today I’d like to introduce these characters: the Seedling hero, the water spirit Esna and the mysterious visitors called Noots.
When we started development on Ever Oasis, we entrusted the character design to Yoshinori Shizuma**. I’d like to go over the design process a bit here, and talk about what thoughts and considerations led the characters to be as they are now.
**Yoshinori Shizuma: a Japanese anime and manga artist.
The story of Ever Oasis is all about working with your friends and supporting each other, so we didn’t want to create a hero who could do everything by themselves.
So although the hero possesses Green Gale, a special power that generates a strong wind, they’ll encounter enemies which are resistant to their attacks, and all sort of situations in which it’s impossible to progress without help from other residents of the oasis.
Even the battle skills the hero acquires as they level up are not attack skills that deal huge amounts of damage, but support skills that bolster your allies’ strengths.
Final design and concept sketches of the male hero, Tethu
The hero’s tribe, the Seedlings, are based on plants.
There’s no water in the desert, so it’s a tough environment for plants to survive in, but they always seem to thrive and even flourish in those conditions. Plants have the wonderful power to grow from a tiny seed and produce flowers that put smiles on people’s faces, so we tried to imagine what a personified seed would look like. That’s how Seedlings were born.
Final design of the female hero, Tethi
In the videos we’ve shown so far, the hero is always a Seedling boy, but when you start the game you’ll also have the option to play as a Seedling girl. You can play the game however you like, with the hero of your choosing – you can also select your eye colour and skin tone, by the way!
The water spirit Esna
I’ve always enjoyed exploring the relationship between spirits and the world – when I write stories, spirits are an essential element of them. Vistrahda, the setting of Ever Oasis, is a desert world, so you might wonder why we chose to make Esna a water spirit.
It’s precisely because Vistrahda is a desert world, in which water is a precious resource, that we made that choice. Also, compared to a small, faint light fairy, a water spirit has a more visible presence (even if only the hero can see her…)
Esna supports the hero and shares their outlook, their joys and their troubles – she’s like a second protagonist. She’s a partner who helps build up the oasis, celebrates the hero’s accomplishments as if they were her own, and provides praise and encouragement.
We were very committed to making Esna a sympathetic character. As players progress through the story, we want them to wonder, “What’s she thinking? What will she say next?” With this in mind, we revised Esna’s lines right up until the very end of development. I hope she’ll be a good partner not just for the hero, but for the player too!
The mysterious visitors, Noots
Noots are strange visitors who never settle permanently in the oasis. They’re sort of like the mascots of Ever Oasis – they come to the oasis to buy various goods from Bloom Booths and then go on their way.
Noots are designed to look like a cross between a penguin and an owl. Why a penguin and an owl, you ask? It was just my intuition! All the mascot characters I come up with seem to be born that way. When I described the idea to Mr Shizuma, he created a rough sketch that was pretty much perfect, so this character design was finalised very quickly.
Rough Noot design (Pretty close to the final design, isn’t it?)
Noots can’t speak with words, but they understand each other perfectly. They’re able to work alone like owls, but when several Noots gather in one place, they instinctively start to move and behave as a group. Their desire for material goods is strong, so they tend to be impulsive shoppers. If you manage to build a large oasis, you might find crowds of Noots queueing up to visit the Bloom Booths.
Noots don’t settle in the oasis – it’s known that they live in the desert, but no one has ever found a nest. To keep their nests hidden, Noots emerge from a secret entrance during an eclipse of the moon and go wandering.
There are cases of travellers who have collapsed in the desert and woken up the next morning, completely recovered. While some attribute their rescue to divine intervention, it’s more likely that they were carried to a nest by a group of Noots, treated and cared for there, and then laid down to sleep in a safe place.
For anyone who hasn’t yet had a chance to see the latest trailer, be sure to check it out!
With that, see you next time!
Come back soon for part 2, in which Mr Ishii discusses the desert world of Vistrahda.
Ever Oasis is out now on Nintendo 3DS systems!