Makoto Asada Discusses Guwange And Answers Your Cave Questions

By Spencer . October 20, 2010 . 2:00pm

Maniac shooter developer CAVE has taken big steps to bring their games outside of Japan through partner publishers like Aksys Games and digital distribution. While we’ve seen many CAVE games for the iPhone, Guwange will be the company’s first Xbox Live Arcade title.


We spoke with Makoto Asada, Producer and Game Development Department Manager, about the first English version of Guwange, their Xbox Live Arcade debut, and asked your reader questions.


Guwange7 Guwange is coming out on Xbox Live Arcade soon and that’s awesome. But, I’m not sure everyone is familiar with the title. Can you get us up to speed with the concept and share where the idea for the setting came from?


Makoto Asada, Producer: Guwange’s setting was designed by Junya Inoue who was also the designer of  Deathsmiles and other titles for CAVE.  When it was released, the motivation was to base the game off of Japanese culture, add fictional monsters to the mix and give a unique flare to the game setting, something different from the games we had put out up until that point.


What new features and modes does Guwange have on Xbox 360?


XBLA Guwange will also include a "Blue" version which was previously only available at certain press events as well as a 360 version of Guwange which is based around playing with a 360 controller.  The 360 mode allows you to control both your character and your character’s avatar (Shikigami).


We’ve also put some pretty nice graphics options into the XBLA release to improve the horizontal viewing options.  These allow you to display a zoomed-in window of your score, life count and more to the left or right of the main window.  I hope people check these options out.


It is also of course the first time the game will appear in English or be sold overseas.


Did Cave enhance the graphics at all like other Xbox 360 releases?


Since the game is being released on XBLA, we did not upgrade the graphics to high definition.


IMG_0709A lot of my readers asked why isn’t Cave releasing games on (insert platform here). Instead of listing those out, why did Cave pick Xbox 360 and iPhone OS as their primary platforms?


With regards to the Xbox 360, CAVE’s main target is the domestic audience. Here in Japan, the Xbox 360 has the largest concentration of shooter players, and that’s the main reason we keep releasing games for it.


Guwange is a new business model for us, and we will be testing the XBLA waters with its release.


Yukihiro Masaki, iPhone Producer: In terms of the  iPhone OS, the iPhone/iPod touch game market already had a lot of momentum before we got involved.  We had been wanting to try our hand at a new platform, and since this was also a good opportunity to get the games known by a worldwide audience, we took that opportunity.  As a developer, you have a lot of control over how your product is sold, which is nice.


Since it was requested so much by my readers I have to ask… why isn’t Cave releasing games on PSN?


We don’t think there are more users who are interested in our games on PSN than there are on XBLA.


Guwange9 Recently, Cave has been making an international push. Can you tell us about your future plans? Will you partner with overseas publishers like Aksys and Rising Star Games?


We are talking to a few candidates at the moment, but besides Deathsmiles Europe and Guwange at the moment we don’t have any fixed plans.


Will we see more digitally distributed Cave titles, pending on a successful launch of Guwange?


We are going to continue release package games, but you will see more XBLA games as well.


What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of digital distribution over physical media?


As a publisher, you don’t have to worry about inventory risk which is important.


Cave invited Milestone to showcase their shooter at Cave festival this year. As a company are you trying to expand the field for shooters and is Cave thinking about collaborating with other shooter developers?


We don’t have any plans to collaborate with those companies.


Guwange6 How do you expand the genre for shooters so they have a wider appeal beyond the core audience that loves them?


Since you’re going to see more titles coming out on XBLA in the future, we hope we can connect this to an increase in the amount of people interested in the games we make.  That’s one way that we think we can expand the audience.


What does Cave think about doujin developers like Zun and ABA games? Rockin’ Android and Nicalis have had success releasing doujin titles on consoles. Is Cave interested in partnering with any indie studios?


We don’t really feel a particular way about them. As long as it makes sense business-wise, we could put together a project to work on with a company, whether they’re a doujin studio or not.  But currently we do not have any plans to work with doujin developers.


We heard Cave was working an original game for Xbox 360 can you tell us anything about the project?


Right now I’m afraid I can’t say anything, however we will be able to reveal more information about it at the start of next year.


What does Cave think of the Nintendo 3DS? Cave already has a bunch of portable shooters on the iPhone those could, perhaps, work on the Nintendo 3DS.


We are not looking at the 3DS as an option now.


One request… my readers really want What are the chances of seeing it on XBLA, iPhone OS or, well, anything?


At the moment we do not have any plans to put it out on any platform.

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  • malek86

    He kinda avoided many of the questions. Oh well.

  • I’m glad he said more titles would be coming to XBLA. I’m good with just knowing that. I still wish Muchi Much Pork / Pink Sweets gets an NA release. Really want those games!

  • There is absolutely no reason for them to expand worldwide. Cave shmups should be kept a niche so we can be cool about them.

  • thaKingRocka

    If it were possible to preorder a download on XBLA, I would.

    • Aoshi00

      You really love Guwange eh :) I’ve been looking forward to this for months, I especially love the Jpn setting from Inoue’s artwork. I’m excited about Trouble Witches too, it looks 50x better than Strike Witches :) So now we have one vertical and one horizontal.

      • thaKingRocka

        I can’t say that it’s an amazingly great game or anything, but I can say that the sights and sounds of this game combine for an exceptionally gratifying experience. They’re kind of thick and chunky, but damn pretty, like the glorious days of CPS1 Street Fighter.

        Trouble Witches is definitely on the radar.

  • neo_firenze

    Appreciate the effort, and it was awesome of Spencer to really pay attention to questions the readers asked about. Too bad though that the answers were so terse and devoid of much interesting information. That is, when they were even consistent (“Guwange is a new business model for us, and we will be testing the XBLA waters with its release”, then he goes on to say “you will see more XBLA games as well”).

    Also, thanks Spencer for calling out Esp.Ra.De by name! Every little bit helps, and especially considering it would likely be an XBLA release it’s nice to let them know that some of the “overseas” users care about it.

  • Hopefully they will be releasing disc-based games in North America as well, not only in Japan. I prefer physical copies by far, if only for the collection.

    “We don’t think there are more users who are interested in our games on PSN than there are on XBLA.” Oh come on now! What about me?! But seriously, I should think that most North American gamers who are interested in Japanese games (including shmups) have bought a PS3 (way) before they bought an Xbox 360, if they even own one. (Japanese Xbox 360s don’t count!)

    • Aoshi00

      I like to collect retailed shmups too like DDP DFK, but 800 MS pts doesn’t break your piggy bank (they always get me w/ the LE + OST), it’s really hard to say no, plus they’re actually more convenient to play under XBLA, you don’t need to switch discs. They get much cheaper when they’re on Games on Demand anyway, like d/ling Otomedius and Mamoru-kun only cost 2000 pts now (of course Jpn pts cost much more) compared to $70 on disc. If they are selling them retail, they should upgrade the graphics like Deathsmiles, Mushihime-sama Futari or Espgaluda 2. DDP DOJ or Ketsui just felt a little expensive to me w/ no HD graphics upgrades.

    • That depends on what games and how many (personally, I’ve been bouncing back and forth about getting a PS3 first or a Japanese 360 – although, at this point I can’t say I could go wrong with either). That’s what it came down to for me. 360 sold me on Oneechanbara and E.D.F. first – sorry :P
      Anyway, I think it would be nice for the download games to at least to appear on each platform when possible.

  • Aoshi00

    Asada has a new hairdo every time I see him, the man is flashy..

  • TrevHead

    Bah i wish my questions got asked but atleast theres quite allot of other questions in the article and even though Cave siad no to allot of them atleast we know where they stand.

    THX for this article

  • z_merquise

    Sigh. So even lots of people requested to release their games for PSN, yet they just won’t do it. Oh well. There still lots of games out there that I would look forward to but it’s kind of disappointing for people like me who don’t have an Xbox 360.

    • TrevHead

      This is what ive been led to believe from been on the shmups forum for a while (I cant verify it as gospel though)
      They might have an exclusive deal with M$ as i believe M$ activly encouraged shmup developers into making games for the system as a way for the 360 to get a foothold in the Japanese market. Plus while M$ were activly encouraging arcade games on their system, Sony was the total opposite as they didnt want anything retro looking on their next gen system.

      Also cos shmup devs are only small niche companies they tend to go for the console that is easy, simple and cheap to code for (for example the Dreamcast used the same hardware as a popular arcade pcb). The PS3 is a bitch to code for and they might not have any staf with the know how. (The PS2 was a bitch to code for (plus its a bitch to emulate) but i think Cave outsourced all their pre 360 ports to other companies.

      Plus like they said for a niche thing like shmups it is good to keep the games all on one system so fans will only need to buy one console to gain access to every shmup. Plus the other BIG factor in sticking with the 360 is because of Region Coded and they dont want Regoin Free as they want their games to be picked up by western publishers which they would have no chance of anyone picking it up if half of the western fan have bought a RF jap copy.

  • @cave – what a pile of lazy ***** lol

  • Ace interview, Spence!

    “We are talking to a few candidates at the moment, but besides Deathsmiles Europe and Guwange at the moment we don’t have any fixed plans.”

    Oh. Their Twitter feed throws surveys out once in a while. It mostly focuses around the iPhone stuff, but it’s interesting to see what they look out for. For instance, even though I can’t really can’t be much of help to them as I don’t have an iPhone I did at least put down that I’d be interested in a release for a OST release ;)

  • JustaGenericUser

    “We don’t think there are more users who are interested in our games on PSN than there are on XBLA.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong if you had a donkey orgy.

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