Okami was first released in 2006 for the Playstation 2. Many compare the unique adventure game to the classic The Legend of Zelda series, not only in style but also in quality. The game was later ported to the Nintendo Wii with enhance features like motion controls. Unfortunately, Okami did not sell well enough on both platforms and a sequel became unlikely until recently. Instead of developing the game for the Playstation 2 or Nintendo Wii, however, Capcom chose the Nintendo DS as the platform of choice for Okamiden. So why did Capcom decided to go with the handheld system instead of developing Okamiden for home consoles? Here are several possible explanations.
The Nintendo DS is currently the best-selling most popular video game system on the market by a very wide margin. Theoretically, Okamiden has more potential customers than if the game were being developed for the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Not to mention that previous Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii owners probably own a Nintendo DS anyway.
Capcom doesn’t need to look that far into history to see a console series convert to a handheld one and find success. Dragon Quest IX on the Nintendo DS is set to become the best-selling game in the popular series. Therefore, Capcom chose the handheld system for Okamiden because it gives the game the best chance at selling.
Okami took a monumental effort to be developed. Basically every element to the game, from the unique visuals to the mythical storyline to the massive world, was detailed to the smallest degree. Unfortunately for developer Clover Studios, the low sales weren’t enough to compensate for the expensive development. The development team was dissolved by Capcom shortly after the completion if Okami.
For that reason, Capcom thought that the Nintendo DS would be the perfect fit for Okamiden. The fact is that developing for a handheld system is much cheaper than a home console since the production value doesn’t have to be so high.
The Nintendo DS also provides the perfect control scheme for Okamiden. Both games in the series use a virtual brush as an integral part of the gameplay experience. Previously for Okami, Playstation 2 gamers used a left analog stick while Nintendo Wii gamers had to use the pointer functionality of the Wii Remote. While both control setups worked well, they don’t do a good job at replicating Japanese calligraphy. The stylus and touch screen setup of the Nintendo DS, on the other hand, makes it perfect for Okamiden.
So, due the above reasons, Capcom decided to develop Okamiden for the Nintendo D instead of home consoles.