Developed by Ganbarion and published by Bandai, Grand Battle! was released in Japan on March 3, 2001, becoming the series' second-ever licensed game (preceded only by Become the Pirate King!), and the first for a home console. It met with resounding success, ultimately selling over 400,000 units and launching its first sequel the very next year; several more sequels and spinoffs would follow, expanding the Grand Battle name over an entire series.
In 2003, the game received a PAL release, featuring text options in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German (with unaltered Japanese audio). This made it the first One Piece game to be released outside of Japan, though it remains unavailable in North America.
Combat uses typical 2.5D mechanics, with three-dimensional character models interacting on a two-dimensional axis. Player characters can walk, run, jump, double-jump, crouch, block, and grab (as well as throw and catch) items around the battlefield.
As in most fighting games, health is standardized among characters, while the main combat attributes - Offense (攻撃 Kōgeki?), Defense (防御 Bōgyo?), and Agility (素早さ Subaya-sa?) - vary heavily, from a scale of A through E. These variations generally reflect the characters' canon abilities; for instance, Luffy is ranked A in Offense, while Usopp is ranked A in Agility.
Fighting consists of standard button combinations. Each player character can access around 20 standard techniques, along with several Finisher (必殺 Hissatsu?) techniques that incorporate full cinematics. Finishers can only be used when character health falls below a set threshold (marked in notches on the health bar), and follow a numbered level system; higher levels correspond to lower health, and usually greater damage.
There are five classes of Finisher techniques:
- Strike (打撃 Dageki?) finishers are delivered through largely conventional blows.
- Boost (タメ Tame?) finishers are delivered through blows that can be "charged" for extra range.
- Grapple (投げ Nage?) finishers are delivered completely flush with the opponent (and cannot be blocked).
- Counter (カウンター Kauntā?) finishers are delivered by intercepting one of the opponent's attacks.
- Support Summon (手下召喚 Teshita shōkan?) finishers call in a support character to deliver the blow.
(Non-Grapple finishers can be blocked, but will always inflict a minor amount of "scratch" damage.)
There are a total of sixteen player characters, with seven assigned "sets" of support characters. Player characters can be selected through any of the three main action (attack, jump, or grab) inputs; while inconsequential for most, this mechanic allows player characters with multiple support characters to make specific selections, as they are limited to one per battle.
Below is a list of the player characters, and their assigned support characters (color-coded, where applicable, with selection inputs).
|Monkey D. Luffy|
|Kuro||Sham & Buchi||Jango|
|Buggy||Mohji & Richie||Cabaji|
|Miss Wednesday||Mr. 8||Karoo|
|Shanks||Benn Beckman||Lucky Roo||Yasopp|
In addition to their standard canon outfits, all player characters can access an alternate, recolored outfit if selected with the left shoulder input.
Combatants may be helped or hindered by a variety of items around the battlefield. All items can be grabbed, caught, or thrown; their effects are generally activated by either direct contact or the impact of a throw.
If attacked, most items vanish immediately, without activating. If left alone, they generally vanish after five seconds. Items will also slide or roll by themselves if set on a tilted surface.
Below is a table of items and their respective effects.
|Sword||Raises attack power for approximately 10 seconds.|
|Crown||Raises defense power for approximately 10 seconds.|
|Coin||Raises agility for approximately 10 seconds.|
|Jewel||Raises attack power, defense power, and agility for approximately five seconds.|
|Food||Restores health - onigiri a small amount, tankards a moderate amount, and drumsticks a large amount. Will spoil if left alone for three seconds or more.|
|Spoiled Food||Inflicts minor damage, as well as one second of paralysis.|
|Bomb||Explodes to inflict damage. If left alone, usually explodes after five seconds.|
|Lantern||Releases several flames that inflict four steady "bursts" of damage.|
|Gaimon||If approached (or grabbed), fires a pistol that inflicts damage.|
Items are generally found by breaking the containers - barrels, crates, and treasure chests - positioned around each stage. These containers can also be picked up, caught, or thrown for minor damage.
|List of Stages|
| Syrup Village: Consists of forests and a rocky slope - half-coated by an oil barrel - leading to the ocean, with the Bezan Black looming in the background. Spectators include various Black Cat Pirates (including Jango, Sham, and Buchi), Ninjin, Piiman, Tamanegi, and Kaya.
| Baratie: Consists of the three-tiered restaurant and a half-sunken Dreadnaught Sabre, bridged - and surrounded - by ocean. Spectators include various Krieg Pirates (including Pearl) and Baratie staff (including Zeff, Patty, and Carne).
| Arlong Park: Consists of two stone walkways separated by a corner of the main harbor, bound on one end by Arlong Park and the other by a smaller gazebo. Spectators include various Arlong Pirates (including Hachi, Kuroobi, and Chew), Conomi Islanders (including Nojiko, Genzo, Chabo, and Dr. Nako), Johnny, and Yosaku.
| Loguetown: Consists of a small, enclosed area before Gold Roger's scaffold. Spectators include various townspeople and Buggy Pirates.
| Laboon: Consists of the main stomach chamber, with two small islands - one holding Crocus' cabin, the other holding a beach chair - bridged by an endlessly drifting rowboat, the exit gates looming in the background.
| Foosha Village: Consists of grassland, several windmills, and a dirt road leading to a harbor with a docked Going Merry. Spectators include various villagers (among them Makino and Woop Slap).
Two modes may be accessed from the Top Menu.
Event Battle (イベントバトル Ibento batoru?) mode puts the player character through a gauntlet of six 99-second battles against six semi-randomly selected CPU opponents.
Each battle is framed with a short cutscene, generally scripted after canon interactions if possible. The stage for each battle also generally follows canon; Usopp will always be fought at Syrup Village, Arlong will always be fought at Arlong Park, and so on.
To progress, each opponent must be fully beaten; if a match times out with no conclusive winner, both combatants are restored a small amount of health and sent into a Sudden Death rematch. Clearing all six battles will lead to a special victory screen tailored to the player character (overlaid with a signature quote), followed by the game's development credits.
Outright losing a battle will present the player with a continue option; a total of five continues are allowed before Event Battle automatically ends.
Event Battle also contains five special post-credits cinematics, meant to chart progress in unlocking characters. They depict the following:
- The Straw Hats' Grand Line entry celebration (adapted from Chapter 100)
- Smoker and Tashigi preparing to pursue the Straw Hats (adapted from Chapter 100)
- Mihawk's meeting with Shanks (adapted from Chapter 96)
- Igaram's farewell to Vivi (adapted from Chapter 113)
- A replay of the game's opening cinematic, fast-forwarded and zoomed in to reveal the hidden Pandaman
Unlike those of later Grand Battle games, these cinematics are triggered by strictly one-time conditions, and cannot be saved or replayed.
Grand Battle (グランドバトル Gurando batoru?) mode allows players to participate in classic arcade-style battles against each other, or against a CPU opponent. Unlike Event Battle, this mode allows characters to (through alternate costumes) fight duplicates of themselves, and limits all battles to one round regardless of time limits or draws.
Before battle, players can use this mode's "handicap" mechanic to raise - or lower - their chosen character's standard attack and defense capabilities along a five-point scale. The battle stage may be freely chosen, or left to one of two "special" options:
- Order (順番 Junban?), which defaults to the Syrup Village stage and proceeds along the in-game ordering for every subsequent battle.
- Toss-Up (お任せ O-makase?), which selects a stage at random.
Treasure (お宝 O-takara?) provides a data file for each player character, containing a revolving model of the character, combat attributes, voice clips, and finisher commands. Here, the character-select menu doubles as a win record, showing who the selected character has beaten in Event Battle.
Each of these files can be unlocked by clearing Event Battle with the corresponding characters. Achieving a complete win record will unlock a supplementary file, containing an alternate character model and a five-point scale measuring the damage output of each finisher.
The Option (オプション Opushon?) menu, in addition to standard sound and system settings, allows players to adjust the following:
- Computer (コンピューター Konpyūtā?) intelligence between three different levels.
- Time Limit (制限時間 Seigen jikan?) between 60 seconds, 99 seconds, or total deactivation.
- Item (アイテム Aitemu?) containers between three different re-spawn rates.
(Computer and Item adjustments affect both modes, while Time Limit adjustments affect Grand Battle only.)
Grand Battle! retains almost every voice-casting from the TV anime for its characters (including Ginzō Matsuo's last performance as Smoker), setting a precedent for every One Piece home-console game to follow. However, most of its support characters are left silent; only Jango and Igaram are voiced (the latter by Kuro's voice actor Kōichi Hashimoto, possibly because Keiichi Sonobe's casting had not been finalized).
The game is also notable for casting Mahito Ōba - who, until then, had only narrated the anime - as Pandaman. Ōba would reprise the role for most if not all subsequent One Piece games.
- The game's box-art, opening cinematic, and Press Start screen all recreate the cover to Volume 12.
- As with many PlayStation games, this game's disc contained a "redbook" audio track designed for CD players; aside from standard product warnings, this track featured a brief skit between Luffy and Jango.
- This game sold well even after its initial release; by mid-2002, it and its sequel had sold over 600,000 units together, earning a joint Gold Prize commendation at the 2002 Sony PlayStation awards.