Little King's Story (王様物語, Ōsama Monogatari,? "King Story") is a simulation RTS-RPG co-developed by Town Factory and Cing for the Nintendo Wii. The game was published by Marvelous Entertainment (MMV) worldwide, MMV USA and Xseed Games co-published the game in North America and MMV subsidiary Rising Star Games published the game in Europe and Australia. Little King's Story has since become one of the most acclaimed third-party games on the Nintendo Wii.
The game was released on April 22, 2009 in Australia, April 24, 2009 in Europe, July 21, 2009 in North America, and September 3, 2009 in Japan. The rights to Little King's Story's characters and scenario currently belong to Marvelous Inc.
The story starts with a lonely, timid boy playing with his puppets. He spots four rats, and chases them deep into the woods, where he finds a Magic Crown. Howser, along with Corobo's childhood friends Verde and Liam, witness this event. Howser declares him the King of the town of Alpoko, a desolate village with no employment or money. Corobo puts the lazy citizens to work, and they begin to collect treasures, in order to build up Alpoko and provide employment opportunities. After defeating the Guardian Cow Bones, Howser explains that his real dream for the success of the Kingdom is to conquer The World, so Alpoko can become the greatest country of all time. This becomes Corobo's main goal for the game, although he and Howser are initially unaware of just how big the World really is, and each rival Corobo faces is more powerful than the last. As the game progresses, the story introduces more characters and twists, resulting in more complex scenarios for King Corobo to overcome than he first realised, questioning the very nature of what his goal really is.
The gameplay of Little King's Story involves commanding a small army of citizens to accomplish various tasks, such as digging, fighting, and breaking obstacles, in a manner often compared to Pikmin. Each citizen starts as a Carefree Adult or Child, but can be assigned one of 11 Job Classes, each with their own specialities and capabilities. As well as these, there also special citizens that can be granted through story events and quests. Each citizen can be equipped with either a weapon or a set of armour to improve their abilities slightly, such as increasing damage output or Life. The genre is therefore considered a mixture of RTS-RPG combat and action-adventure exploration, with slow treasure-hunting and fast-paced boss fights. The ultimate goal is to defeat all rival Kings and unify the world.
The various townsfolk that can be hired by Corobo each have generated personalities: they may fall in love, have children, or have various opinions on the King. When they die, their friends and family are kept track, and will attend their funeral. The King may also order the construction of new buildings to unlock new Job Classes or gain more citizens through increased living space. After a building is complete, it can be tax collected or have its garbage rummaged through, which can net Corobo new weapons, armour and collectibles for various quests. The town-building aspects are therefore intrinsically linked to the combat and exploration present in the rest of the game. The director and producer of the game, Yoshiro Kimura, stated that the team felt inspired to create a safer hub area with citizens living out their daily lives, directly inspired by the Animal Crossing series.
Aside from the citizens, there are many other non-playable characters in the game, which populate parts of the World and have their own individual stories and roles. Corobo can sit on his throne to order three of these characters, his ministers Howser, Liam and Verde, to accomplish various tasks around the Kingdom when he's not exploring. The local church is run by a priest called Kampbell, who can marry couples, and the Skinny Observatory is run by Skinny Ray, an astrologist convinced that the end of the world is nigh.
Little King's Story was primarily developed using Maya, Pro Tools, and various Adobe software.
Little King's Story's concept began in June 2006, but a prototype was not finished until November of the same year. Development began in March 2007, and a trailer was shown for the game later in the year, under the working title of "Project O", with an announced release date of 2008. Throughout 2008, the game would be shown at several events, such as the Tokyo Game Show and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but ultimately the title had to be pushed back to an early 2009 release in Australia and Europe, and a June release for North America, and a September release for Japan.
Originally, Yoshiro Kimura entrusted the development team with his vision for the game under less supervision, before deciding that the direction was not going the way he had hoped, leading to Kimura becoming both the Director and Producer of the game.
New Little King's Story is an alternate retelling of Little King's Story with new events and altered characters, released on the PS Vita in 2012.
A PC port of the game became available on Microsoft Windows via Steam in late 2016, and later received major patches and bug fixes to make the game run smoother in early 2017, with the help of popular modder Durante of Dark Souls fame.
- Over several interviews, director and producer Yoshiro Kimura described Little King's Story as being a game which he hoped would have an international appeal, basing many of its aesthetics on European tropes and Russian oil paintings. He stated that he did not wish to have pointer controls on the Wii, as it would risk contextualising citizens into little more than sentient bullets. The game was also planned to have Wii Pro Controller support and multiplayer, but these were cut due to time constraints.
- The June 2012 issue of Nintendo Power considers this game to be one of the top ten games for the Nintendo Wii.
- Nintendo once described this game as an instant classic, which is quoted on some box arts for the game.
- Little King's Story features in the montage section of the song "The History of Nintendo" from the Brawl in the Family webcomic series. This is due to creator Mathew Toronto stating it is one of his favourite games on the Wii.