Japanese developer Librage spoke to Nintendo News about its Zelda-inspired 3DS game The Legend of Kusakari, currently in the works for the West.
When Australia-based indie studio Nnooo announced in February they would publish Librage’s grass-slashing time-based action game for the Western audience, our ears lifted. And, thanks to help from Nnooo founder Nic Watt, we were able to get in touch with Kenichi Fujimoto, a localization manager at Librage.
(Please note that Mr. Fujimoto’s native language is Japanese, so the information provided to us has been slightly edited for clarity and grammar while retaining contextual accuracy.)
While using a scythe to slice through seemingly endless patches of grass and weeds may seem like a daunting chore, Fujimoto and the Librage crew put their own inspirational spin on it:
“We were inspired by the fun of cutting grass, which is one of the legacies from the SNES version of The Legend of Zelda. We felt that we would like to produce and play a game which had this as a central mechanic. However, we didn’t feel it would be appealing if players just cut grass, so we introduced the puzzle/challenge element where they must cut grass while keeping in mind the order of cutting.
“We also wanted to have a story hook to keep the player interested. Seeing as there are so many stories about a brave warrior beating an evil King, we thought it would be interesting to compose the story from a fresh point of view. In The Legend of Kusakari, you are a humble grass cutter [who keeps] the battlefields clean so brave warriors can focus on defeating evil and eventually the evil King!”
Fujimoto told us a ten-person team worked on the original version of The Legend of Kusakari ( シバ･カーリーの伝説), which saw its debut on the Japanese 3DS eShop in May 2015. While the game currently remains exclusive to Nintendo 3DS, there’s a possibility that it could arrive on other Nintendo platforms in the future.
“If enough players in the West request [The Legend of Kusakari] on Wii U or Nintendo NX, we will definitely consider it,” Fujimoto reasoned.
When Nnooo released the announcement trailer for The Legend of Kusakari in late February (below), we couldn’t help but notice a horrendous sounding trumpet playing in the background. Smiling, Fujimoto assured us that there’s a good reason for that.
“That trumpet music can also be heard at the title screen in the game. We have implemented an off-key sound into the music on purpose. If players pay attention, they may be able to identify who plays that off-key sound during the title screen.
“This trumpeter has something to do with somebody in the game. You could say there is a family resemblance between the bad trumpeter and the man in charge … perhaps this bad trumpeter used family connections to get his band membership. It might be more than anyone’s job is worth to point out this bad trumpeter’s shortfalls!”
According to Fujimoto, skilled players can expect to sink in around ten hours to clear the game’s first 50 stages. Unlocking the extra ten stages, however, could add another ten hours. “We designed this game so that every player can clear the 50 stages even if he/she is not familiar with the 3DS. That is why we think those who do not usually play games can enjoy it.”
Fujimoto left us with a few parting thoughts on the game that may be of interest to fans.
“At first glance, The Legend of Kusakari may look like one where players just cut grass. However, once players spend some time playing, they will come to appreciate its depth, strategies and quirkiness. We designed this game so that players can get more skillful as they play more and more, so we expect players not to give up even when they cannot clear a stage several times, and to challenge it again and again.
“We also added the Green Thumb Almanac system, a made-up book that documents all the different types of grass, plants and weeds you cut. There are various conditions under which players can get each collectible plant which will require them to attempt different ways of playing the stages to unlock them.
“We think this is a nice way to add depth and replay ability to the game.”
Nnooo has not yet announced a release date for The Legend of Kusakari, but the game is planned to launch in all major regions including the Americas, U.K., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, a price point has not been decided upon, but the Japanese version on the eShop currently goes for 300 yen — about $2.80.