■ Dōbutsu Shōgi makes an appearance in Last Labyrinth
In the recently released Last Labyrinth, players play a variation of Japanese chess (shogi) called Dōbutsu Shōgi during critical sequences of the game.
Dōbutsu Shōgi was invented by professional women’s shogi player, Madoka Kitao, with illustrations by Maiko Fujita (also a former professional shogi player). Since the game’s conception, Dōbutsu Shōgi has been enjoyed by a wide range of players for its simplicity and depth.
Collaboration between Dōbutsu Shōgi and Last Labyrinth came about when the director/producer of Last Labyrinth, Hiromichi Takahashi, reached out to the creators of Dōbutsu Shōgi and asked to include their game within Last Labyrinth. Takahashi wanted to implement a tabletop game as part of the gameplay and story of Last Labyrinth. He discovered Dōbutsu Shōgi and was intrigued by its simple yet deep gameplay and felt that the game was a perfect fit for Last Labyrinth. Kitao and Fujita created Dōbutsu Shōgi to make a more beginner-friendly entry point into shogi that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and to share their deep love of shogi with the rest of the world. They allowed the inclusion of Dōbutsu Shōgi in Last Labyrinth with hopes that it will introduce shogi to more people worldwide.
After playing Last Labyrinth, some players have commented that they discovered Dōbutsu Shōgi through the VR escape-the-room game. The developers hope that Last Labyrinth continues to be an entry point for new Dōbutsu Shōgi players worldwide.
◆ Dōbutsu Shōgi: Let’s Catch the Lion!
Dōbutsu Shōgi is a simpler variant of shogi that was made to be easy for children and beginners to learn while still containing a depth that can be enjoyed by all players.
Dōbutsu Shōgi is played on a 3×4 grid board with 8 pieces. Each player starts with 4 different types of pieces: Lion, Elephant, Giraffe, and Chick. Like Chess, each piece has different movement rules; for example, the elephant can only move one square diagonally (similar to the bishop in chess). The player who captures their opponent’s lion wins.
Rules Invented by Madoka Kitao
Illustrated by Maiko Fujita
Age Range: 4+