G.Rev CEO Not Satisfied With The State Of His Company

By Ishaan . May 19, 2011 . 11:56pm

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Gen16.com has an interesting interview up with Hiroyuki Maruyama, CEO of G.Rev, who recently released Strania on Xbox Live Arcade. In addition to being the company’s CEO, Maruyama is also producer and designer on several of the company’s games, and programmer of Taito titles such as G-Darius.

 

Here’s an excerpt from the interview, where Maruyama comments on the state of G.Rev at present, nearly ten years after the release of the company’s first original shoot-em-up, Border Down, on the Dreamcast:

 

“As a small studio, we feel very blessed to have been able to release several original titles since incorporating in 2000. In that respect, it has been a good 10 years. However, in terms of our growth as a company, unfortunately there are several issues that have prevented our ability to expand and we are still a small company. So we certainly are not satisfied.

 

One of the biggest problems we are facing at the moment is trying to answer the question, “What are we going to do for the next 10 years?” The current game market, user needs and the general environment has changed so much since we first started. Up until now, we have created games from the stance that they are games we wanted to make. In the future, we may have to adjust our perspective.”

 

Matsuyama also briefly touches upon distribution challenges associated with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and on possible remakes of Border Down and Under Defeat.


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  • Yukito

    Does this company even have a game on PS3? I would probably throw them my bucks if they had made anything worthwhile for PS3. I know most of these shooter things go to 360, so….

    • imaguni

      Sigh, how I wish they did! Mamoru-kun technically counts…? Sorta.

      • Yukito

         They did Mamoru-kun? Is that it? Mamorukun was a pretty looking game, I will say….. and heck, I heard they said they got Mamoku-kun generated more revenue at a cheaper cost in comparison to games like Killzone 3 and such. I dunno.

        • Code

          But it still doesn’t change the fact it really didn’t do well, the 360 version had 12,000units sold, and last I heard the PS3 version only just broke half it. If G.Rev wants to survive they need to be scoring higher sales then this. rar, it’s so heart wrenching omo;

          • imaguni

            It really is such a shame to see that it’s tough for them…

        • imaguni

          Them and Cyberfront, I know that they’re involved in the creation of the game at least. :) It gave me hope to see the game get ported to the PS3, as risky a move as it was, but… well, like Code said, the game still didn’t do too well.

    • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

       He mentioned this in the full interview that was interesting:

      “G.rev: Of course, excessive development costs are one
      concern, but perhaps the biggest reason is the nature of the market for
      packaged games for the PS3. It seems that only the games on which a lot
      of money has been spent in creation, ones that can offer rich content,
      are the ones that are successful. Certainly we can understand that more
      casual games can be sold over the PlayStation Network. However, there is
      nothing casual about the process it takes to get a game distributed on
      that service. That seems to be another reason for the lack of titles.”

  • imaguni

    Whoa, a Border Down remake…! I’d love to play that but with the sound of this article, I can’t help but feel it’ll be as hard to access as its other titles without substantial funds and importing….

    I have liked the G.Rev titles I’ve had the chance to play and I will forever stare at Senko no Ronde DUO with longing, but… I’m torn. It’s true that times have changed and so have the demands, but I am bothered by my own train of thought when they just want to make the games they want to make.

    • Code

      rar, I absolutely fell in love with Senko no Ronde after playing the original, it’s one of the most original games I’ve played in the last 10 years, and has really turned into one of my favorite games omo; so much so when I switched to J360 the first title I imported was DUO >w<' 

      I just feel like Senko's concept is so incredibly good, easily the most original game I've played in the last 10 years; that it'd break my heart to see them not continue working the series. But after even DUO bombing in Japan, and G.Rev being on tough times and talking about changing direction, it worries me about the stat of the series omo; 

      I really hope that G.Rev finds there footing in all this, and perhaps this means they'll have to reel back and work on more traditional shmups; but I just hope they don't forget Senko no Ronde T_T;

      • imaguni

        Minus the importing DUO part, you sound just like me! It was one of the first games I bought when I got my 360 and I really love it. I always think that its such a shame that it is such an obscure game, because I think it is really, really worth the discovery. It’s one of my favorites too, I love it! Still, objectively-speaking, I can see why it is as obscure as it is. I think that it’s a pretty hard game to pick up and for the time it takes to handle the difference in mechanics, then get good at it… Well, I can see why some people might not have the time to progress at it.

        I’ve heard that they’d be releasing drama CDs that continue the story of the games recently (and a manga too, I think? Something like that) so I guess that we shouldn’t lose /too/ much hope even if it’s not a new title. It would make me sad to see the series fizzle out. I know that the series has potential, but if only it were more accessible. It would be a shame to see G.Rev’s take on shmups fizzle out. :(

  • http://twitter.com/Cudgeon Raji

    Well, if they are stupid enough to only release on x360, its their own fault.

    • Aoshi00

      Sounds like Sony doesn’t want their games either?

    • mikanko

      It has nothing to do with being stupid.  It has everything to do with Microsoft making it cheap for them to release their games on Xbox 360, and Sony making the dev kits cost prohibitive for a company as small as theirs. They’ve said they’d like to release games for PS3, and have been looking for a way to do so in the past.

      edit: In this interview they also say that PS3′s game sales(physical copies) seem to be slanted in favor of big budget games, while small budget titles don’t do well. Small time casual games do well on PSN, but they don’t really equate their games with those. This added to the dev cost issue makes it purely a business decision not to release games on PS3.

      It’s the same reason other 2d shooters aren’t coming out for PS3 as well. A perceived lack of market added to additional costs for development these small companies don’t have. People don’t seem to realize it’d cost a lot more to port high quality 2d shooters to PS3 than the typical PSN games being released.

    • Code

      The problem with that thought is; they actually did try breaking into the PS3 market. Silly comment without knowing the context of the situation, lol >w<

      Personally I feel like shmup companies are having to tackle a lot of fronts, between consoles, localization, and just managing to turn profits, rarr tough stuff omo; Part of the problem is the shmup market is just so deeply rooted on  the 360 at this point, it's one of the few times where I've seen rival companies are actually really dependent on each other. G.Rev, Cave, Treasure, and others all are having to rely on each other a fair amount to even keep the shmup market on 360 healthy. To try and grow the PS3 market at this point is the kind of a risk most of these companies would really want to soak if it fails. G.Rev at this point has tried the PS3 market with Mamoru-kun, but sadly it didn't do so hot. 

      I think most of them are concerned about trying the PS3, when there is already a really safe market established on the 360. Bigger companies wouldn't run into this problem, but your talking companies that even if one game bombs, they are going to take a hard hit. Even stranger though is if one of these companies were successful, and did really take off on the PS3, then they could potentially be splitting an already small market, which might not be healthy as a whole.

      Even getting a J360 specifically for shmups, I'd love nothing more then to see the shmup market branch out onto the PS3. I think it'd really solve a lot of problems for shmup fans outside of Japan omo; But it's just one of those cases that things sadly didn't worked out like this. Personally I think G.Rev took a big risk trying Mamoru-kun after DUO bombing. And I don't really think they were in the shape to take on a big step like that (rar, I love G.Rev but I think right now they need Border Down HD, and to lick there wounds omo;). Although maybe with Cave's recent success, they might pitch something at the PS3 in the future maybe. I think honestly if the shmup market is going to hit on PS3, it's going to have to come from Cave or Treasure first.

    • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

      They did release a game on PS3 and it bombed hard 

      • HarryHodd

        Just one lackluster game? Oh you mean a year old port? I don’t think It bombed that hard for what it was and thier lack of building an audience on the platform.

        • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

          Blame Sony for that, not G.rev. If Sony weren’t so narrow-minded the PS3 would have launched with Ketsui and the 360 would have never had a chance to establish itself as the shmup console for this generation. 

          Education yerself yalls: http://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36699

      • mikanko

        G-Rev has nothing to do with the Mamoru-kun port asides from telling Cyberconnect, “oh, hey that’s cool, good luck with that”  They were more co-developers on that game with Gulti, and had pretty much put it behind them by the time it was announced.

        There was however an interview with all the top shmup guys last year where questions were asked about lack of development for PS3.  G-Rev did take that moment to say they were exploring PS3 development and had hoped to do something for it in the future. 

        Cave and the other heads didn’t even go that far and were all in pretty much agreement that their games were for a hardcore audience who probably already owned 360s.  If your games aren’t expected to sell well on a system, and that system costs more $ to port games to, then you’d probably just port things to the cheaper system the majority of your target audience already owns.

  • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

    Truly tragic, hope their next game is a big hit…

    At this point I say they should just port over their existing library to new consoles instead of focusing on new stuff all the time, seems to work well for CAVE. Maybe a region-free double pack including Under Defeat + Border Down or they could bring both games to XBLA and iPhone. Not that I like iPhone but it seems like it’s where CAVE makes most of their money these days, guess the direct control method revitalizes some of the more mainstream shmup interest and I know some people HATE HATE HATE XBLA but they could always pull a SEGA Dreamcast Collection and do both – maybe first release Under Defeat and Border down on XBLA and then release both of them + Strania + Side Vower DLC as an expensive region-free disk (at least for Japan, probably won’t fly in the US unfortunately). 

    BUT SRSLY PPL – BUY STRANIA, AMAZING GAME, BETTER THAN TROUBLE WITCHES YET SOMEHOW TROUBLE WITCHES GETS ALL THE SALES!

    • Aoshi00

      You said it pal.. I actually regret spending money on Trouble Witches Neo.. should’ve gone to Strania :(…  Nin2-Jump was a good purchase though minus the stupid corrupt save file thing.. too many games to play at this point, will get Strania in a bit w/ the DLC… Akai Katana is going to rock too, the demo was pretty awesome..

  • http://twitter.com/katamariTo Katamari Toys

     how about re-releasing Senko no Ronde Duo, but in english and region free in the next 10 years?

    • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

      Look on their facebook page -

      They state that they tried to bring the game to NA Games on Demand but Microsoft rejected them. Why should they allow CAVE but reject G.rev? Spencer/Ishaan should make an article about this issue to drum up support, Microsoft hate, etc. Gotta wonder what the deal is…

      If you’re talking about a disk release then no doubt they tried but it’s not easy to get a disk-based shmup published overseas and only about 10% or less have made it so this is hardly an issue with G.rev but more of an issue with overseas pubs avoiding big risks. 

      • Code

        The issue is compounded by the fact Senko no Ronde when it was originally localized by Ubisoft bombed pretty hard too. I’m not sure how they feel about bringing Senko no Ronde: DUO over after having the original do poorly here, and then having the sequel do poorly in Japan. I think this is why with Strania they did NA/Japanese release together, G.Rev would really benefit from a slice of NA, but hard to say if they’ll go back to localize DUO at this point to get it.

        • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

          Games on Demand is the solution to everything. Anyone know a Microsoft exec email we could spam about this? 

  • neo_firenze

    Re: Mamoru-kun PS3.  First, I’m surprised anyone would have expected strong sales for a port of a year old game that wasn’t too popular to begin with, which was already out on a console (360) that essentially all fans of the genre who buy games in Japan already own.  If people were interested in Mamoru-kun, they likely already bought it on 360 and they were being sold the same game with some tweaks and enhancements.  Common misconception is that 360′s lack of mainstream popularity in Japan means that games in certain genres will have worse sales – it’s just not true, 360 in Japan is widely accepted among the fans of certain genres (shooters, visual novels).  It’s the otaku system, really. 

    Also, G-Rev’s relationship with the PS3 port is a bit removed.  Cyberconnect published it, and from all I’ve seen did most of the work in the port.  G-Rev just worked with Gulti (which is another issue, Gulti’s work isn’t exactly top-of-the-line stuff) to create the original arcade/360 game. 

    Obligatory plug for Strania though – it’s just great.  Probably my GOTY at this point in the year.  And considering the price, the $15 I paid for the game + Side Vower DLC missions is shaping up to be the best deal in 2011 for me. 

    • HarryHodd

      Delete

  • HarryHodd

    These guys need to show the PS3 some real support if they want to have success on the system. No year old port to the PS3 without significant additional content has succeeded. How about day and date with the 360 version next time and see what happens.

    • TrevHead

      Personally I think Cave would be the best ppl to release one of their games (the 16:9 DS2X or Red Katana) on the ps3, imo it would help put the spotlight for shmups on the ps3.

  • TrevHead

    It would of helped Grev and other STG makers if they didnt all release their games at the same time as shitloads of STGs were released in Feb / Mar.
    Considering many shmup fans like to spend a long time with each title, all the devs will be eating into each others sales, unlike in the past with the lack of new shmups.

    I can imagine for gamers (like me) who cant afford to buy every shmup on release date will be prioitising which STGs they buy. For me since ive only just got into 360 gaming im buying all the Region Free disk STGs first (ive still to buy Escatos and Bullet Soul)  rather then risk them selling out. After that moving onto buying all the decent XBLA titles which I can buy when im good and ready.

    Im sure other shmup fans spending habits are similar to me, which means each game will make their money in the long term rather then short term which is the norm for most video games

    im sure the Japanese earthquake didnt help sales either

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