One Piece is one of the longest-running animated Japanese TV series, with over 1000 episodes out already. The infamous anime was first premiered in 1999 and had been lighting up the world ever since. Although it is a TV series that has gained success over the years, it is based on the One Piece manga series.
The One Piece manga series was created and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda and Toei Animations picked it up to bring to the silver screen. The amount of love TV series has received over the years has attracted many developers to build games featuring serial characters. A total of 62 games have been released in the market that either depict some parts of the series or feature a character from the anime.
Today’s article will discuss the history of One Piece video games. We will also discuss some biggest hits from the total 62. We will see all the facts related to the games, and we will also analyze the evolution of the games. So let’s dig in.
Famous One Piece Games
One Piece: Grand Battle
One Piece: Grand Battle was the second game launched based on the anime. It is also an action game as is the genre of anime. It was released on March 15, 2001, in Japan and June 23 2003 in Europe. The game is developed by Ganbarion and was published by Bandai.
The story of the game revolves around a boy named Monkey D. Luffy who is also the main character in the anime. Luffy goes on the journey to become the king of pirates. During the journey, he faces enemies and slowly and gradually he gathers up a team of pirates. The story of this game is based on the East blue saga and Whiskey Peak Arc in the One Piece anime.
The gameplay of the game is very simple too. There are two characters inside a 3D arena and they fight. Hurdles and items are added to boost up the fun part of the game. The items you pick can help you in defeating the other character. You can also play the game multiplayer with your friends.
After the release of One Piece: Grand Battle it went viral. In the first year, only over 600,000 copies were shipped which earned it a Gold Reward at the PlayStation Awards in 2002.
Once Piece: Grand Battle 2
After the great success of One Piece: Grand Battle the sequel was just inevitable. And Bandai didn’t keep fans waiting for long. In 2002 One Piece: Grand Battle 2 was released in Japan. It was also developed by Gabarion and published by Bandai. This game features the song “We are” from the anime to add a feel to it.
After Luffy has successfully gathered a team of pirates, he faces a new challenge. Baroque Works– an organization of bounty hunters– has set his eyes on Luffy and Co. The story of the game covers the Alabasta Saga of the anime.
The gameplay of this game is just like the first part. The two characters settle in a 3D arena covered with hurdles and items. However, this part features more characters, stages and some advanced features than its predecessor.
One Piece: Grand Battle! Rush
One Piece: Grand Battle! Rush is the last game of the Grand Battle series. It was released on March 7, 2005, in Japan. The success of the anime took the game to North America and Europe too where it was released on September 7, 2005, and October 7, 2005, respectively. It was released for GameCube and PlayStation 2. Like all the other Grand Battle games it was also developed by Gandorian and published by Bandai.
The plot of this game also revolves around Luffy’s quest to become the king of pirates. Along with his crew, Luffy is in the search of treasure “One Piece”. The story of this game is based on the East Blue Saga until the Foxy’s Return Arc.
One Piece: Grand Battle! Rush has four game modes: Grand Battles, Story Mode, Training and Tourney. All these modes give you a unique an entertaining gaming experience. The core of the game is the same, you have to fight against other characters to reach the glory.
The technical aspect of the game was well-received by the critics. However, they raised eyebrows over every other aspect of the game. But the One Piece community obviously went for it anyways.
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure
It was the first game of the One Piece: Unlimited series. It is based on manga and anime series. Gandarion and Bandai teamed up on this too, to produce a marvellous game. It was released on April 26, 2007, in Japan. A year later it was also released in North America. The game was only developed for the Nintendo Wii. The American version of the game features the FUNimation voice actors exclusively.
The plot of this game is the emergence of a new mystery island when Luffy along with his crew is facing food and supplies shortages. The story leads to a revelation that the island’s guardian is living alone for over 1000 years. Luffy and his crew decide to help Popora the guardian to revive his creator fighting monsters along the way.
This game has three modes, Story Mode, Vs. Mode and Survival Mode. All the modes have their unique gaming vibe and provide a different experience to the players.
The game received average reviews from critics. It received a 69.83% score on GameRankings..
One Piece: Unlimited Cruise
How often you would have heard that a game is released in episodes? Well One Piece: Unlimited Cruise was released in two episodes. The first episode was released by the name One Piece: Unlimited Cruise Episode 1– The Treasure Beneath the Waves on September 11, 2008, in Japan. Later it was also released in Europe and Australia, however, it was never released in North America.
The second episode was released by the name One Piece: Unlimited Cruise Episode 1– Awakening of a Hero on February 26, 2009, in Japan. It also made it to Europe and Australia. The game was also released as a single version containing both episodes and they named it One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP.
The players can play the Story Mode of the game as any character from the anime. Nightmare Luffy has been added to the lot. The animal-themed costumes are introduced for all the characters. To change these costumes you will have to end the game once.
The game received above-average reviews from critics. It served the community very well, however, it didn’t target an audience outside the community.
One Piece: Unlimited World Red
One Piece: Unlimited World Red is the thirty-sixth game based on the manga and One Piece anime. It was released on November 21, 2013, in Japan for Nintendo 3DS. Over the next year, the game was released for more platforms and also in other regions. It also reached North America and Europe.
It was a very standard game of the action genre, which failed to captivate the masters of the genre. However, a game released for a fanbase like One Piece can never be a failure. The game does have mini-games to capture the attention of the players.
The game was not received well by the critics. Everyone called it a mediocre game but as we said before a franchise with such a massive community doesn’t go in a loss.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors
One Piece: Pirate Warriors is developed by Omega Force and published by Bandai Namco Games. It was released for Play Station 3 on March 1, 2012, in Japan. It also stretched to Europe and North America where it was released on September 21, 2012, and September 25, 2012, respectively.
This game like all the other follows the adventures of Luffy and his crew. Luffy accidentally eats the Gum-Gim fruit and sets his crew in search of the titular treasure. Along his way, he came across many new friends and enemies.
The game has three modes, Story Mode, Adventure Mode and Battle Mode. The story mode follows a very interactive storyline which any gamer would savour. The adventure mode takes Luffy through the events from the One Piece series. And the Battle Mode allows the players to use characters from the anime in the battles.
The game received mixed reviews with a bent on the positive side. The gaming magazine Famitsu rated it 36 out of 40 which is a massive compliment.
The Financial Side
One Piece has been great ever since it has been released as a TV series. Even the manga was much liked and enjoyed by many. The franchise decided a big decision to give away the rights to develop the games based on the animes. And they must be proud of their decision after seeing the success the video games have reached.
As of September 2022 One Piece franchise has made over a whopping $21 billion. This is the money they made from the box office only, it can be way higher if we add the merchandise and video game deals. The rumour has it that the merchandise and video games have brought in around over $8 billion dollars for the franchise.
It will come as surprise to a lot of readers that the One Piece manga has earned the franchise more money than any other product. The Manga magazines have brought in over $8.5 billion for the franchise. The new generation would never know the craze we used to have for comic books back in the day. Good old days they were.
Were video games really needed?
As the saying goes, “if you dont update with time, time will defeat you.” At the time of the premiere of One Piece in 1999, video games were becoming a new trend. As we see AI today video games were like this back then. Almost all anime franchises pounced on the opportunity and developed games for their communities.
Although video games dont bring in money as merchandise or comic books they keep the franchise present on the world stage. All the famous animes like One Piece and SpongeBob have their video games made, and they have been liked by people a lot.
Introducing a new product for the community is a good way to keep them engaged even if we ignore the business side for a moment. But the business side is the most important part of any production house, so something is better than nothing.
TV Series vs Video Games
We have reviewed the history of SpongeBob SquarePants video games, and we saw that the games were not the depiction of the TV series. However, this is not the case for One Piece video games. Along with featuring the characters from the anime series the plot of some of the One Piece video games are based on the episodes from the series.
However, there are some games where a completely new story is introduced. However, you can play through some events from the game using the characters from the series. We have also seen how some video games have featured animal-themed costumes. The developers have tried to mix it up with their creativity while keeping the core soul of the show alive in the timelines.
What to expect next?
The video games produced so far have been a real success for the production house and the franchise as well. So it will be fair to say that we can expect more video games from them. As the One Piece TV series is still underway so it will not be wrong to keep your hopes high.
Although nothing is official yet the fans would love to see one last game to seal everything up but more than one would never hurt. As fans, we have been very fortunate to witness more than 60 video games based on our favorite anime but we would surely love to see more.
In this article, we have covered in detail how the One Piece video games have done over the years. We have covered some of the famous games related to the series. There’s also a section to cover the commercial aspect of the TV series, video games and all the other products related to One Piece. We have also given our take on the big question, ”Was there even a need for video games?” We have also added a section which covers what we should expect from Bandai and TV Series.
Hopefully this article have enhanced your knowledge about the history of One Piece video games. Have a good one!