UFO Interactive discusses Heavenly Guardian and The Monkey King

By Spencer . April 11, 2008 . 2:20pm

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The Pomona based publisher first came on my radar when they released Raiden III. I really started to keep a close eye on them when we discovered GameFly listings for The Monkey King and Kiki Kai World. Fast forward a year and Heavenly Guardian (aka Kiki Kai World) is half out the door. The PS2 version is out, the Wii version is coming along with the Monkey King: The Legend Begins in the future.

 

Inside UFO Interactive’s mothership, I had a chance to speak with Michael Yum, Assistant Project Manager at UFO Interactive, about the two games and address a few rumors. One of them deals with the Monkey King 2 and the other Elminage.

 

The discussion began with the back history on Heavenly Guardian.

 

How did UFO Interactive release a PlayStation 2 version of Heavenly Guardian? I thought Star Fish only released the Wii version in Japan.

 

We bought the rights to the US Kiki Kai Kai title for the Wii.  When Square Enix took away the rights, we changed the games characters and backgrounds.  Since we owned the rights to the US release, we can control which platforms they will release on.  Japan opted not to release it on the PS2 and we brought it here as an exclusive.

 

Are there any differences between the PS2 build and the Wii version?

 

The only difference between the two version are the controls.  The Wii version has an extra Wii Remote feature that lets you flick the Wii Remote in a direction to perform the blizzard in that same direction.

 

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Did UFO Interactive make any changes to the US version of Yukinko Daisenpuu?

 

There are no differences between the US and Japanese versions.  We had the text translated and it was a straight port.  

 

Why did UFO Interactive change the game's name from Kiki Kai World to Heavenly Guardian?

 

We had to change the title because the Kiki Kai World sounded too much like Kiki Kai Kai.  We didn’t want any problems with Square Enix and felt a new title would best fit the game.

 

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I noticed the Monkey King went through some cover art changes. Is the core game being altered from the Japanese version?

 

mk1.jpgThe Monkey King game has went through a lot.  First off, the game was supposed to release last year.  We pushed the game further into Q2, 2008 so we can expand the marketing strategies.  The American audience was just not aware of the Monkey King character so we felt that releasing the game after a new movie which I cannot say, would help people recognize the character.  The actual game play is perfectly intact and has not been changed.  Just to let you know something on the side that has not been released yet, the US version of the game will feature stuff not seen in the Japanese version.  There is an added Reverse Mode and a new stage.  You are the first to know.

 

When will we see the Monkey King in stores? How much will it cost?

 

The Monkey King still does not have a concrete release date, but we are certain on a Q2 2008 release.  We still do not have a retail price point, but are leaning towards $19.99.

 

I saw UFO Creative Group in Hong Kong is working on "the Monkey King 2". Can you tell us anything about it?

 

They are developing new concepts for a possible sequel.  

 

What about "Mini Chinese Restaurant" for the Nintendo DS?

 

The Mini Chinese Delivery game is something that is not associated with us.  

 

What is UFO Interactive’s relationship with Starfish? It seems like you are publishing a lot of their titles.

 

We work very closely with Starfish and publish their games in the US.  

 

elim.jpgI'm not sure if you're aware of this, but a number of gamers are hoping for a localization of Elminage. Are you working on one?

 

We have not heard of Elminage.  Thanks for the heads up and we will be sure to look at this title.  We are currently expanding in a fast rate and looking for games of all nature.  We will be making some announcements soon for our future titles.  There are a lot of surprises for hardcore fans.

Is UFO Interactive internally developing any titles?

 

UFO Interactive is currently publishing titles and looking into development.  

 

Images courtesy of UFO Interactive and Starfish.


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  • Angelous

    I might have to pick up the PS2 version of Heavenly Guardian after all. If I still owned a Wii, I’d definately get The Monkey King.

  • jeffx

    thanks for the excellent interview. for 20$, the monkey king is a must buy. I love Raiden III to death… UFO has the potential to become a good niche/SHMUP publisher. You should have suggested they take over the US market with that genre. I wish them good luck, but they should be more agressive with releases.

  • TheTimelyHoward

    I really appreciate that you would take the time to do this interview, buddy. I’ve been looking forward to The Monkey King for a good long time; in fact, I remember being pumped to pick that game up back around the time of its original release date (November 2007, here I come) only to be let down come December when I find out it had been pushed back to April. No wonder I couldn’t find the game, huh?

    I think it’s nice that you’d ask one of the lesser-known (but still loved (by me, Heavenly Guardian is great<3)) publishers what it is that they’re up to. I’m looking forward to finding out what they’ll do next.

    For the record, I hadn’t heard of Elminage, either. Game looks sweet.

  • http://www.cosmosgaming.com Chris Dahlberg

    How in the world did you get in contact with these guys?

    I’ve certainly been trying for awhile.

  • Daizyujin

    That was a very nice interview. I am very happy to see games like these being published here. Too often the only real niche games from Japan you see getting US publications are RPGs. To anybody who has played Heavenly Guardian, how much replay value does it have? I know $20 is not that expensive for a game anymore but I am curious to know what to expect.

  • http://www.10dvarim.com/Articles/Computers/TenTipsForComputerMaintenance.html מחשבים

    we shoud see more of this games in siliconera, it`s a ver good interview. this guys are very intersting.

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