Nintendowe Doshin

Nintendo We Series 2 Volume 7: Doshin The Giant: The Shadow of Jashin

For the seventh edition of Nintendo We, very much like the last instalment of the series, I will be discussing yet another Nintendo franchise, which has been generally reviewed favourably by critics and players, but in terms of obscurity, easily outstrips the likes of other franchises I’ve covered throughout series 2, including Sin and Punishment, Mario Paint and even Custom Robo. Arguably, this series is one of the most obscure series Nintendo have ever released outside of Japan, if not “the” most obscure. This episode focuses on Doshin the Giant.

Doshin the Giant, released for the Nintendo 64DD In Japan back in 1999, and later released in Europe on the GameCube in 2002, was a god game, whereby the player would controls a yellow giant named Doshin, who has the ability to alter terrain, build civilization and manage natural disasters that would pose threats to the survival of the population the giant is responsible for protecting. It was once described by it’s designer, Kazutoshi Lida as a hybrid between Super Mario and Populous. The game involved looking after the population of an island, and increasing the size of the giant by garnering as much love from the island’s inhabitants as possible. However, Doshin can also transform into Jashin, his hateful alter ego whose evil actions in turn can disgruntle the population of the island and induce fear in them. Aside from this, the game also has a select few additional features such as a photo gallery and a gallery of the different monuments that Doshin can earn from the population.

Generally, the original game was well received by critics; most notable Famitsu, who gave the game a 32/40. After which, the only other game in the series that was ever released was a puzzle game based on Doshin the Giant that was released on the Nintendo 64DD and as a Japan-exclusive game, which received damning reviews upon release; IGN even going so far as to label it painful. However, where the original game is concerned, I’ve often thought about how the gameplay could be greatly expanded along with the general story arc because what I’ve noticed concerning every aspect of this game’s play is that the features that are included in it are quite light compared to many other games of the same ilk; i.e the god game aspects and the sense of adventure and/or exploration. Whilst from the point of view of the designer, the game is a very simplistic experience, and this is what believed to give the game a vast majority of its charm. But all that being said, from my point of view, the game’s simplicity and lightness on its features have only made me think of it in terms of there being room for drastic expansion if Nintendo ever came to develop another game in the series.

For example, there are many ways in which the core god game mechanics could be expanded upon, such as the incorporation of different ground units, different types of building, expansion of villages, the implementation of currency etc. With features like these, it would make the game seem more like an RTS than a god game, but the same time, retain the overall feel of a god game if the option to keep Doshin and Jashin as playable characters still exists. But by introducing the RTS features to a possible sequel, it would most definitely give the player far more to play for than in the original game and by proxy make it far more satisfying to play over an even longer period of time. Keeping the monument system intact could also work very similarly to how monuments are discovered in Civilization V for more culture points. Resources could even be a subject of concern for the population in a Doshin the Giant game; abundances of which could lead to prosperity and absences of which could lead to decline. The contrasts between Doshin and Jashin could also be made to affect gameplay in these respects too; for example Jashin could destroy resources leading to decline (maybe of a possible rival tribes given that there were multiple tribes in the original game), and Doshin could produce resources leading to prosperity. In my opinion, it would be extremely interesting to see how Nintendo themselves would think about including features like this in a follow-up game to Doshin the Giant, as god games and real-time strategies are rarely ever developed by them. With the release of the switch, however, it would be very possible in terms of controls.

So that may cover the aspect of the god game or possible RTS elements of a sequel, but another aspect the game was extremely lacking in, or light on if you will, was story. The game merely had a basic premise as opposed to defined narrative, which is unlike what has been seen in most adequately developed Nintendo franchises. But the basic premise, in my opinion, provides an ideal platform for moderation by one of the most respected storytellers in all of gaming. It features elements that are familiar to this man and more than enough scope for expansion in this respect. It’s one of the main reasons why I’ve been especially excited about writing this article in particular.

Fumito Ueda is one of the most renowned developers of the sixth generation of gaming, developing two classic games on the PlayStation 2; Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Both taking place in the same universe at varying times throughout it’s history, Ico was a linear adventure puzzle game with light combat elements, whereas Shadow of the Colossus was on open-world action game with combat being at the core of it’s gameplay. Both these games told two of the best narratives in gaming history, with Shadow of the Colossus in particular having been re-released on updated hardware on several occasions. Ueda followed up this success with a third game in this universe on the PlayStation 4 entitled The Last Guardian, which again was met with universal acclaim from critics.

With the general concept of Doshin the Giant and Fumito Ueda’s history of telling stories about relationships between people and huge monsters, it would to me be the only logical choice to have him develop a far more in-depth and meaningful narrative within this franchise. The story could be told in a way that establishes an emotional connection between Doshin, Jashin and the populace of the island, as well as involving any possible obstacles or hardships all these characters face concerning the world around them. All of this could even have a bearing on gameplay similar to Fumito Ueda’s games; for example the play may be able to control of a member of the island’s population, who could have the ability to climb on Doshin similar to Shadow of the Colossus, or lead him to otherwise impassable areas similar to The Last Guardian. This system may also be incorporated to relay population concerns to Doshin or to defend the population against Jashin.

Out of every subject that has and will be covered throughout season 2 of Nintendo We, Doshin the Giant is easily the franchise that will have the most scope for expansion. It’s an obscure and simplistic series that has an unprecedented amount of potential for if and when Nintendo choose to revive it. It would be a crying shame to leave the series to stagnate given it’s relatively positive history and the legacy it’s left behind and also given what could be done with it with the right people assigned to the project of a possible sequel.