Hello PlayStation fans! My name is Leonard Menchiari, creator of Trek to Yomi, coming soon to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. As we get closer to launch, I’d like to invite you to join me as we explore more about the story and development of Trek to Yomi and reveal some of the finer details the team as Flying Wild Hog have helped me bring to life.
Trek To Yomi’s theme and narrative are built upon two essential pillars: historical Japan and Shinto mythology. Shinto belief is that gods are present everywhere, they live in every rock, tree or flower, so part of our narrative dives deeper into this belief, telling short tales of our hero Hiroki’s kami ancestor spirits, the various eras of Japan they lived in, and the tragic, violent or otherwise undeserved deaths that mean they now endure a torturous half-life in Yomi. Often, these stories reflect Hiroki’s journey and his dilemmas – vignettes to aid him in his final decision about the path he will tread.
The original idea for Trek to Yomi came from watching Kurosawa movies, while experimenting with black and white imagery in Unreal Engine. The cinematic experience we ultimately created is heavily influenced by classic Japanese films, from the shot angles, to the length, and even the way the lines are delivered. The initial 2D gameplay approach was inspired by silent movies from the 20s and 30s, where each scene is designed to look more like a magical moving theatre stage rather than a screen. We think this makes Trek to Yomi stand out as something truly unique, and I think part of us hopes that people will want to go watch those old movies after playing!
Alec Meer and I wrote the story while keeping in mind the number seven as a reference, not only for its cinematic relevance, but also for its status in Japanese folklore. As such, look out for the number seven playing a significant role in the story of Hiroki.
Authenticity is of utmost importance to us, and everything that we did was carefully crafted while keeping in mind ancient Japanese culture, from religious beliefs, to the way the sword is hung on the wall, or the way the kimono is tied. The amazing music in our game is based on ancient material from specific regions of Japan, inspired by the atmosphere that we wanted to create and the feelings that we needed to portray. Some of the instruments used in the recordings are extremely rare, and the musical scales are original to pre-westernized culture.
Continuing this theme, when mapping the towns and villages of Hiroki’s world we wanted to reflect the true lifestyle and culture of Edo Japan, including the Dojo, shrines, cemetery, marketplace, and restaurants, and more. A lot of material was inspired by the overwhelming displays at the Edo museum in Tokyo, and we had a lot of help from native Japanese experts in order to make sure every decision we made remained coherent.
But our attention to details doesn’t stop there! Trek to Yomi’s world has a very clear geography, with even the lighting and the position of each shot being chosen while keeping in mind the direction of the light, the background elements, and the symbolic connection to the rising and setting sun.
We hope you’re as excited for the release of Trek to Yomi on PlayStation as we are, and I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and hopefully learn more about the game and the passion and hard work that went into making it.