Bringing the Characters of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin to Life
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin arrives on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC via Steam on November 10. This hybrid action platformer and rice cultivation game has been in development for over five years now, and we’ve been working on the English for almost as long. It has been a winding road to release, and we can’t wait to tell you more about localizing this game into English.
The tale is set in the country of Yanato, which has history, customs, and culture modeled on (but not identical to) feudal Japan. The heroine is Princess Sakuna, a pampered child of two legendary gods who whiles away her life in the heavenly capital in the Lofty Realm. When a group of humans stumble into the realm of the gods, their encounter with Sakuna sets off a series of events that leads them all to be banished to Hinoe Island, a once sacred place that has become overrun with demons. There, Sakuna reclaims the land by battling monsters…and by farming rice. As a harvest goddess, Sakuna’s powers grow with each successful crop, and she must also get her hands dirty in her mountain field to make sure her human companions have enough to eat.
While Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a grand adventure, it is also a deeply personal story about finding one’s place, one that stars a colorful cast of gods and humans.
The main story is fully-voiced in both Japanese and English, and we were thrilled to be able to work with a talented cast of actors to bring the characters to life. We wanted to make sure that our English localization did justice to the complex characters and world of the game, and the cast really knocked it out the park. (And don’t worry: all versions will have both voice tracks available to users.)
Introducing the cast!
With this in mind, we’d like to present a first look at the characters of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin and the talented cast who will be bringing them to life in English.
Sakuna – Laura Post
Sakuna is a spoiled brat who had never worked a day in her life before a twist of fate forces her to pick up a hoe and start tilling. She has the most dialogue in the game by far, and Laura was able to find the perfect balance between the character’s brash, sometimes childish temperament and the emotional impact of the game’s story.
Tama – Frank Todaro
Tama is Sakuna’s faithful protector. Taking the form of a little guardian dog, he is wise and fiercely loyal. Frank imbues the character with a blend of elderly (occasionally doddering) wisdom and parental exasperation. He was also constantly out of breath, as Tama is the story’s main source of (sometimes longwinded) exposition.
Tauemon – Patrick Seitz
A bumbling samurai who dreams of being a farmer, Tauemon is the de facto leader of the humans sent along with Sakuna to Hinoe Island. He is earnest and has a good heart, but his clumsy nature causes trouble for the group. Patrick was a perfect match for the role, capturing the character’s good-naturedness and indefatigability in the face of dire circumstances.
Myrthe – Carrie Keranen
Myrthe is a missionary from a foreign land who is exiled to Hinoe Island with Sakuna and the other humans. As a language learner, she speaks at first in broken sentences interspersed with Dutch, and her abilities improve over the course of the story. Myrthe often tries to be the voice of reason in the group when tensions run high, and Carrie wonderfully conveys the role of a visitor to a strange land trying her best.
Kinta – Bryce Papenbrook
A young boy with a talent for smithing, Kinta has a sharp tongue and a pessimistic outlook, and he forms an inseparable pair with Yui. Although Bryce has mostly played heroes such as Adol Christin in the Ys series or Rune Factory 4 protagonist Lest in past XSEED releases, he let loose and revealed his inner brat as Kinta. Sometimes it seemed like he was having a little too much fun laying into Sakuna, Tauemon, and pretty much everyone else.
Yui – Megan Harvey
Yui is a little girl with a cute voice and a sometimes surprisingly dark temperament. Once banished to Hinoe Island, she reveals a talent for weaving garments for Sakuna to wear as armor. Megan delivers both the sweet voice and the occasionally sharp edge, helping bring to life one of the game’s most mysterious characters.
Kaimaru – Faye Mata
The youngest member of the human outcasts on Hinoe Island, Kaimaru can barely speak and refers to Sakuna as “Sah-Sah.” He possesses a preternatural ability to communicate with animals, and it is thanks to him that Sakuna’s home on the island gains a retinue of cats, dogs, and other creatures. Faye’s performance uses gibberish to provide both comic relief and emotional depth depending on the scene.
Kokorowa – Stephanie Sheh
Sakuna’s closest friend in the Lofty Realm, Kokorowa is an ingenious inventor who has long languished in the harvest goddess’ shadow. She is a polite, reserved character with hidden reserves of passion and frustration, all captured effortlessly by Stephanie’s performance.
Ashigumo – Joe Zieja
Ashigumo is an honorable warrior who lives on Hinoe Island. He first confronts Sakuna as a foe, but after discovering her lineage as the daughter of two legendary gods, he helps guide her and the humans in their harsh new home. Ashigumo is a creature of honor and conviction, and Joe brings him to life in a way that makes him one of the coolest characters in the story.
Lady Kamuhitsuki – Cindy Robinson
The exalted ruler of the Lofty Realm, Lady Kamuhitsuki banishes Sakuna and the humans to the dangerous Hinoe Island after they unwittingly wreak havoc in the heavenly capital. Cindy’s performance imbues the character with perfect imperiousness as she passes down judgment on the other characters and sets the events of the story in motion.
In addition to these characters, there are more gods, demons, and humans to meet in Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. We hope that you’ll fall in love with the world of this game as we have and try it out when it launches on PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on November 10!
For more information about Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin: www.sakunaofriceandruin.com
Pre-order at XSEED Games Store: https://store.xseedgames.com/product/sakuna-of-rice-and-ruin/
Digital pre-orders: http://sakunaofriceandruin.com/order/digital.php