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EA hunts for weeaboos with Koei Tecmo’s Wild Hearts

Feudal Japan is seemingly getting more popular every year and EA is getting in on the action. Partnering with Koei Tecmo – one of the biggest hitters in Japan-themed games – EA joins the weeaboo hunting party by presenting Wild Hearts. As of February 2023 players all over the world can get jiggy with giant nature-infused beasts called Kemono in a fantasy feudal Japan. Very naisu, much sugoi desune.

Wild Hearts will launch under the EA Originals banner, which – according to EA VP Stuart Lang – fits the bill perfectly. “EA Originals is a label for those who dare to explore”, and explore we shall. In Wild Hearts, players will get dropped into the monster-ridden land of Azuma where Kemono run rampantly. The player can choose to go solo or team up with some friends to knock them Kemono for a loop. And that, my Feudal Japanese monster slayers, will look a little something like this:

According to Yosuke Hayashi, Executive Vice President of Koei Tecmo Games, Wild Hearts sets out to do things we haven’t encountered before. We’re not just going to hunt Kemono, there’s also some unique crafting to be done. And that’s something extraordinary. In fact, Capcom is now trying to find out why they didn’t think of that with Monster Hunter World…

Speaking of Monster Hunter, Wild Hearts will be nothing like it. At first glance, it might share some similarities but trust Koei Tecmo… it isn’t anything like it. In fact, this game is going to be unique. As reported by IGN, game director Kotaro Hirata made sure that it would. KT went through multiple prototypes to nail that, also making sure that a Western audience might take the bait.

“Our goal of creating a Japanese-style hunting game for a new generation remained consistent from start to finish, but making this core idea a reality was not something that happened overnight.

“One challenge we faced was creating something unique with universal appeal that would be accepted by players around the world. To achieve this, we went through several prototypes and trial and error over a very long period of time.”

Then again, Koei Tecmo is a Japanese developer who’s not going to drop its legacy just to please the West. That’s why Takuto Edagawa, another one of KT’s directors, reiterates that Wild Hearts will keep a lot of Japanese flair.

“We are very conscious of the fact that we want more people in the West to play our games, and we have received a lot of feedback from EA from a Western perspective on many details, which helps us know where to adjust the game.

“However, in terms of basic design, we are not overly conscious of focusing just on a Western audience, and as a Japanese developer, we try to create something we think is fun. EA is of the same opinion and really respects our creativity.”

I guess we’ll have to wait until February 17, 2023, to see how unique Wild Hearts is going to be. Or we can keep our eyes out for the gameplay reveal on October 5.