|Release date:||January 28, 2001|
|Publisher:||Gathering of Developers|
|Platforms:||Windows, PlayStation 2, MacOS|
Oni is a third-person action game developed by Bungie West, a division of Bungie Studios, and released in 2001. It was Bungie West's first and only game. It broke new ground by blending third-person shooting with hand-to-hand combat, resulting in a unique, yet familiar game for third-person shooter enthusiasts. Due to difficulties in debugging and the general unplayability of a fighting game over anything with higher lag than a LAN at that time, multiplayer was omitted from the released version.
The game's universe is heavily influenced by Masamune Shirow's manga series Ghost in the Shell. The main characters Konoko and Commander Griffin bear strong physical and character resemblance to Shirow's main characters Motoko Kusanagi and Daisuke Aramaki.
The story takes place on or after the year 2032, shortly after the establishment of a political entity named the World Coalition Government (WCG). This entity currently controls 80% of the world's land area that is livable (the rest, under the guise of wilderness reserves, is toxic), and was created as a solution to the world's economic problems.
The Technological Crimes Task Force (TCTF) is a paramilitary law-enforcement agency within the WCG. When the WCG came to power, they blamed abuse of technology for the world's previous difficulties (in particular biological weapons; the game's manual draws parallels between the use of technological terror in-game and similar attitudes to nuclear weapons in the mid-twentieth century). The TCTF serves to oppose this abuse, to prevent a return to these difficulties (or so say the WCG politicians). In truth, the TCTF is a kind of secret police - they enforce the law, but more for the suppression of loose technology and the government's opposition than for the public good.
The TCTF's other purpose is to monitor every WCG citizen in an Orwellian fashion. The world's cities are the only areas in the world which are lived in and the rest is completely uninhabitable, to the extent that air treatment facilities (also known as Atmospheric Conversion Centres) are necessary to keep the population alive.
As the various governments were combined under a single banner, the various criminal/terrorist organizations and rogue states did likewise. The TCTF's largest foe is a worldwide crime network called The Syndicate. The Syndicate is led by a single individual named Muro, who has been outwitting the TCTF for years.
The story's main character is a young woman codenamed Konoko (voiced by Amanda Winn-Lee), a TCTF special agent fresh out of training. Konoko is under the authority of Commander Terrence Griffin, and is teamed with a Simulated Life Doll (an android made with brain engrams which match those of a living person; in this case, Konoko) named Shinatama. The player controls Konoko for the entire story.
- E3 1999 Game Critics Awards: Best Action/Adventure Game