Developing for the Dreamcast years later, interview with redspotgames

By Spencer . December 22, 2006 . 12:08pm

Most systems quickly fade into existence after their lifespan, but not the Dreamcast. Time after time new publishers are stepping up to release dating games and shoot ‘em ups for Sega’s final console. Before Trigger Heart was announced redspotgames said they were bringing Last Hope, a 2D horizontal shoot ‘em up to the cast. Why would they pick the Dreamcast as their choice platform? Max Scharl the executive director over at redspotgames explains.

 

Siliconera: Let’s ask the burning question first, why did redspotgames pick the Dreamcast for releasing Last Hope?  

 

Max Scharl (executive director): Actually we at redspotgames didn’t pick the Dreamcast as the platform Last Hope should have been ported to. As you know originally Last Hope is a NeoGeo AES game which has been released in Autumn 2006 and is sold for US$550. The idea about the port on the Dreamcast came from the developers themselves and started it after the NeoGeo AES release.

 

Still the Dreamcast got a very loyal and big fanbase – compared to other consoles of their times in the same age. Also a lot of other high quality shoot em ups were released after the so-called "commercial death" of the Dreamcast, so I think it was the right decision to choose the Dreamcast.

Is the VMU is being used for visuals? What is going to be displayed on it?

 

Mainly the Last Hope logo and a mascot which acts straight to the current action within the gameplay.

 

Since Last Hope is coming out for the Dreamcast, have you run into problems distributing the title?

 

We have been working on this case for 12 months now, since many stores haven’t had new Dreamcast releases in their shelves for years. One of the advantages of redspotgames as a publisher, distributor and promoter is that we are personally taking care of issues at their origin. As an example, we directly flew to Tokyo / Shibuya and Hong Kong to ensure the distribution of Last Hope in Asia and speak to wholesalers and retailers about their local circumstances. Play-Asia.com also became our premium cooperation partner and Last Hope sells through them with big success.

 

Until now, almost every second order came from Asia, which corroborates our strategy.

 

If the Dreamcast release is successful will you consider bringing Last Hope to the Xbox marketplace?

 

redspotgames is indeed a very open-minded company to all new products and platform – which doesn’t mean that we don’t bring a lot of passion and heart in our projects. Yet we can’t decide over the will of developers. I don’t want to speak for NG:DEV.TEAM, but I think it’s most unlikely because the target audience Last Hope is pretty much different than the Xbox 360 casual gamers. They attach a lot of importance to the packaging, presentation and the feeling of having a high quality release in their hands. There are a lot of details which come first and the mass compatibility lies far beyond them.


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  • stonerocker

    I think that’s a terrible idea. I don’t see how developing for a dead system will ever sell enough to make the work worth it’s while. Yes, maybe there is a small demographic of diehard Dreamcast fans, but it’s not enough to support development and production of a game. Most stores will proabably not even stock the game, even if enough were produced for distribution, which simply lessens the amount of people who will even be aware of this games existence, let alone consider ordering it, when the same money could be spent buying a game that is technologically up-to-date.

    Maybe I missed something, but I just don’t see how this could lead to anything except wasted money on the companies part.

  • moi

    Well, it looks like they still haven’t understood how to pick their software platform right in order to make money (lol)
    First neo-geo, then I imagine a develloper storming in the conference room “Guys, I think I know what was the problem, you see, noone wanted to buy our game for $550 and on the Neo Geo. What we have to do is release it at a much cheaper price and on a popular platform! Guys we are going to release it on THE DREAMCAST!
    -OMG! Jack, you’re a genius!”

  • http://www.lasthope-dc.com Max

    Indeed I can understand your doubts for a highly commercial success when it comes to the sales quantity. Anyhow some developers like NG:DEV.TEAM and publishers like redspotgames doesn’t see the need to choose the lastest of the high end machines as the target platform because purety and gameplay comes first.

    I don’t see the need for being on one of the latest consoles as long as the sales cover all of our expenses.

  • Thumpie Bunny Eve

    Why not port it out to the PC? Most who still want the dream cast experience, will be burning and sharing this disk over the net, as dream cast didn’t have much if any copyright/CD protection at all.. Popular emulators like Chacast, and a few more, will be emulating this game on the pc shortly after it becomes available. While the game itself, will most likely be copied over and “burned” to cd’s for play on actual dream-casts, or emulated through hacked PS2′s >.

  • Thumpie Bunny Eve

    ((Prior post cut off due to Arrow brackets, Arrow Brackets removed, for this Repost))

    Why not port it out to the PC? Most who still want the dream cast experience, will be burning and sharing this disk over the net, as dream cast didn’t have much if any copyright/CD protection at all.. Popular emulators like Chacast, and a few more, will be emulating this game on the pc shortly after it becomes available. While the game itself, will most likely be copied over and “burned” to cd’s for play on actual dream-casts, or emulated through hacked PS2’s

    But “ripping” aside, lets address why i think this game will at least be popular.

    Today, all the company hype is around Polygon based games, But the tendency with such games, is toward extreme complexity, or context sensitive input. You cant just sit down and play, and it takes more time to configure the controls of, or acclimate to a game mechanics, then it dose to enjoy it. Also, many times, games lack individuality, not just in the genera, but in the games ability to let the -player- express their -personal- uniqueness.

    It’s been my experience, that Shooters such as Gradious3 or Rtype3 are more successful, because they permit a number of different play styles and user options. They provide a sufficient level of player expression, without too steep of a learning curve. The ability to express yourself through a game, and be successful, makes a player grow attached. The ability to “Choose” things for ourselves, and see how they work out, gives a game replay value. Where as “Upgrades” or “Tweaks” provided, or awarded through experience, give a player a feeling of accomplishment. Especially so, if such accomplishments can be saved.

    All these things are reflected in many of the games produced today, but what most of he games -produced- today appear to lack, is the simplicity, to just grab and go, and have an epic time, in under 15 minuets. It’s just a fact, most games today, require complete, dedicated, distraction-less, focus, to play. The path toward victory isn’t very fun, you don’t feel very accomplished, and unless you have half an hour to get it perfect, your probably not going to feel relieved when you play time is up.

    I think it’s Wonderful, redspotgames is working on this 2D shooter. Few of them are produced these days. And Shooters -do- give me that feeling of satisfaction i crave. But shooters today, seem to fly under the radar. They aren’t as celebrated, as, -yet another- First Person Shooter. :p However, It’s my strong belief, that Last Hope, will have a wider, if not controversial influence due to it’s DreamCast release. And, if per-say, it were to be ported to the PC there after, who knows. maybe Last Hope, would even surpass the reputation of Tyrian2000!

    It’s -my- “last hope” that they will -eventually- consider a PC version. So that everyone can enjoy their work.

    Thank you for reading.
    [Credit to Play-Asia.com for their advertisement of Redspotgames "Last Hope".]
    -Thumpie Bunny Eve NY, USA

  • Denise

    They should release an Amiga version next!

  • http://www.vintagecomputermanuals.com Max Rubin

    The Dreamcast was a computer video game platform far ahead of its time.
    Even now many of the features are still far advanced of current games platforms such as Microsoft X box.
    It still has a good video gaming following in Japan.
    Too bad that its computer game makers with a fine gaming tradition were intimidiated by market forces and abandoned the electronic video game platform in North America/
    http://www.glendalegolfs.com

  • smook

    I would like to see some 2D shooters on the XBOX 360. I’m sure they would sell.
    I hate getting my Dreamcast out just to play one new game. Argh!

  • http://www.the2bears.com the2bears

    @smook – I’m sure we’ll see a few on Live Arcade. I’m pretty excited about that as a “platform”.

    Bill

  • http://www.ngdevteam.com RHE

    Thumpie Bunny Eve Says “I think it’s Wonderful, redspotgames is working on this 2D shooter.”

    Last Hope was developed by NG:DEV.TEAM.

    Consoles are the most common platform for japanese oldschool video games, especially for shooters since most of them were originally made for consoles. It’s a matter of taste though.

  • http://www.adgerlinux.com Kirk Badger

    The Dreamcast still more than rocks.
    The inital team sure knew their stuff and picked a more than viable platform.
    There was even software for a better than powerpoint presentation .
    This presentation software even used the game controller for control.

  • http://www.segagagadomain.com Yakumo

    Reading some of the above comments really makes me wonder if you guys have any idea what you are talking about. Selling a game on the Dreamcast can still make you a lot of money ! I do Dreamcast sales with the latest being Trigger Heart and Karasu. now I’m not big name like play Asia but even I sold over 200 copies of Trigger Heart !! So if I can do that just imagine what the bigger boys are doing ! In fact the special edition of Trigger Heart is now sold out at the source ! Not bad for a system “you can’t make money on” is it?

    The Dreamcast has a vast user base that is so big Trigger Heart and Karasu both out sold PS2 and Nintendo DS titles this week at Sega Direct !!

    Yakumo

  • http://www.DCEvolution.net Christuserloeser

    I bought the game for Dreamcast and I love it. Next I’m gonna buy Trigger Heart Exelica and Karasu :)

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