KAIO, or King of Pirates, is the upcoming Nintendo 3DS title from famed designer and developer Keiji Infaune. Inafune has one of the gaming industry's most storied histories, but gamers most likely know him specifically as the creator of Capcom's classic Mega Man. Inafune wound up leaving Capcom after 23 years with the company in 2010, citing that he needed to start his life over.
Well, part of that process was founding Comcept, a brand new games studio. Their upcoming project, supposedly set to be a trilogy, is what you see above.
Quick, Japanese translation time begins now… The kanji in the title and print on the official site read "Kaiou" or "KAIO," meaning, basically, sea king. The subtitle reads "King of Pirates." However, king of pirates would be written, in romanji, as "kaizokuou." The point? We're not entirely sure what to call this game. For now, we're running with King of Pirates.
While the trailer above does nothing but frame the large character set and pirate tone of the adventure, fans of Japanese culture will likely be able to place the themes here immediately. Pirates are huge in Japan. In fact, it's been that way for several years. One reason for their popularity lies in the hands of a single anime, One Piece. While living in the country, I found entire shops dedicated to merchandise for the show; the scary thing? They were always packed.
Now, and I don't mean to knock Inafune's work, but the parallels between the One Piece story and this game are a little obnoxious. First off, the story of One Piece is about the world's quest to find a single piece of treasure. The pirate that finds the treasure will become, wait for it, the Pirate King (or, again, kaizokuou). The story for King of Pirates? Here it is, directly from the game's official site:
The story of heroes and their epic battles for legendary coins!
He whom finds it, rules the ocean. He becomes the "KAIO."
Find the treasure, become the pirate king? Just like One Piece. Before you go on asking which property came up with the plot first, consider One Piece began as a manga in Weekly Shonen Jump during 1997. And, yes, the series and show are both still running and in production. The anime stands at, currently, 517 episodes.
Still, this is Keiji Inafune. As long as he's attached to the project, we'll be watching. Moreover, the Nintendo 3DS can always use more great properties.