How the world of Vistrahda was created in Ever Oasis
Nintendo put up another new Ever Oasis blog this week, led by director Koichi Ishii. Ishii went in-depth about how the world of Vistrahda was made.
Each time Ishii creates a new game, he always starts by coming up with the world setting. He draws the world map while considering various points like:
– Is the world a planet?
– What are the chemical elements that compose the planet?
– How do the climate and regions form based on those elements?
– What kinds of creatures live there?
– Are there humans and sub-human races?
– How do those humanoids live there?
– What are the personalities and traits of each race?
– What kind of tools are being used?
– What kind of things change with the passing of time?
Some people may be feel it’s excessive to put in that much thought when you’re just starting to create a game. But for Ishii, it’s very important because it’s easier to make sense of the various details, and elements such as conversations between characters and items can be connected.
For Ever Oasis, he had the theme “Egyptian Fantasy” in mind and created a desert world while thinking about these points:
– What kind of world it was before?
– Did desertification take place because the spirit powers weakened?
– What’s the cause of the spirit powers weakening?
– Is there a relation between the above point and the nature of the world?
After finalizing the world setting, the art team helped to prepare a lot of concept art. Despite being a desert world, Vistrahda can be appealing in its environments, such as a region with light brown sand, another region with white sand, and the insides of caves.
In the past, Vistrahda used to be lush with a lot of oasis, but it eventually became engulfed in sand, and only a few traces of its former glory remain. The big jar in the image below is one of those relics kept in tact.
There are also settlements like a limestone cave that has blue as its basic color. The blue on the ground looks like a river, but when inspected closer, it’s actually sand. Perhaps in the past a river used to flow there and connected to an ocean.
When creating a new world, it’s essential to create art that can make everyone involved think about the same image.
Ishii passed off the blog to concept art lead Yasuda. Yasuda had many hardships in trying to draw pictures accurate enough from Ishii’s mind. The background modelers also had trouble due to Ishii’s fixation on small details. Yasuda laughed at the thought that the art team as a whole was often put between a rock and a hard place.
Yasuda drew each step of the oasis growth, so he hopes players will notice the changes. There are many interesting designs in the flower shop, decoration grass, symbol objects, etc., so he hopes players will enjoy gathering them.
Yasuda also had hardships making each field and dungeon area distinguishable because the world is entirely a desert to start with. The designs will become more varied once players reach the later parts of the game. There are also areas that will see a change of atmosphere at night. Additionally, the camp site will have buildings based on the characteristics of each race.
Next up were a few words from Kikuoka, who worked on concept art. Kikuoka created art for Ever Oasis from the obvious parts like fields and dungeons to the detailed parts such as items, plants, and gimmicks. She had hardships in how to make just one thing interesting or easy to understand, because about five to ten ideas can come just for that one thing.
Kikuoka hopes players can take time to notice objects that can be easily missed, and also find their favorite characters and flower shops.
To close out the blog, Ishii admits that recent games are expected to have a focus on efficiency, such as maps being easy to understand, quest pointers being shown clearly, and playing without much stress. Ever Oasis also has those features to guide the players. But Ishii also says that things not related to directly beating the game, such as looking at the sky in the middle of the journey, gathering materials from cutting cacti, or listening to what oasis visitors are talking about on a whim, all connect to enjoying the world of Vistrahda. Ishii hopes players won’t just beat the game in the shortest route possible, but enjoy the desert world in a more leisurely manner, like finding new items or listening to partners’ requests which can also show other sides to their character.