Eastward devs say Akira, Cowboy Bebop and Earthbound have inspired the game, mention it was almost a mobile puzzle title
Eastward, the "beautifully-detailed and charming post-apocalyptic" adventure RPG, is a highly-anticipated game in the works for Switch. Oddly enough, it turns out the game originally didn't even have consoles in mind. In a Gamasutra interview with devs Tommo Zhou and Hong Moran, we learn the originals of Eastward, and how things evolved.
Zhou: It started with Moran, our Lead Artist, who drew some sketches about a weird monster dormitory building resembling Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City. We got excited about the design and came up with a game to fit around the aesthetic.
In the beginning, we brainstormed several ideas, including a mobile puzzle title, eventually landing on the idea of a story-rich action JRPG. Zhou, co-founder of the studio, came up with the name and a few key concepts that defined the Eastward universe. I think it was on that day that marked the true beginning of Eastward.
The dev team has been quite forward about being inspired by anime and other games in creating Eastward. Both Moran and Zhou took things a step further by getting specific on what exactly those inspirations were.
Moran: A few examples of these animations are Macross, Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Memories, works from Ghibli Studio, etc. All of these franchises have their own strong, unique aesthetics, and are trying to build deep emotional connections with the audience.
Zhou: In fact, the most influential inspiration comes from the Mother game series. Moran was a huge fan of it and we both equally admired the way it presents the world and tells its story. "It plays like an animated movie" - that's the target we were aiming for.