Deathsmiles Details Straight From Aksys

This year’s biggest surprise so far is an English version of Deathsmiles. How did Aksys get the rights to Cave’s horizontal shooter?

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“We asked,” Cherie Baker, PR Specialist at Aksys jokingly replied. “No, but really we’re big shmup fans here at Aksys, and we pushed for it. We also know that there are many Cave fans in the states that have been dying for something new and fresh. We asked, and Cave was all up for it!”


Princess Debut was Cave’s first game in North America, but the dancing/dating-sim is quite different from the intense bullet hell shooters Cave is usually associated with. “At Cave, they understand that shmups aren’t for everyone, but they could be with the proper learning curve,” Baker explains.



Don’t let the video intimidate you. It’s possible to get through Deathsmiles even if Gradius was the last horizontal shooter you played. “Practice mode includes a stage selection option for practicing any stage in the game. Players can change certain settings, including their item counter, number of bombs, and difficulty  level. This should help people interested in jumping back into the genre or people that are terrified at sucking from the get go and never gave shmups a chance in the first place,” Baker explains.


Cave fans can look forward to Mega Black Label as an on disc bonus. “Mega Black Label was previously only available in arcades. This mode features the new stage “The Ice Palace,” [above] the new character “Sakura,” and a more challenging scoring system that rewards you with big bonuses if you can make it from stage to stage without taking damage.” Mega Black Label was sold separately as downloadable content in Japan. Since it’s part of Deathsmiles I asked about other downloadable content. Baker said, “future DLC will be available.”


Deathsmiles is being localized for North America, but it won’t get Mobile Light Force-d. Aksys is sticking to the source material. “At Aksys we take pride in what we localize. We work very closely with Cave to keep the same feel of the J-version. Our fans would be disappointed if we did less. All of the girls hail from different parts of the world and our localization team had brought their dialogue text to life.”


deathsmiles_05 In addition to Deathsmiles, Cave has a ton of other Xbox 360 shooters. I asked Baker if Aksys will pickup their other titles such as Espgaluda II and Mushihime-sama Futari Ver. 1.5. “We rely on the support of the genre’s fans,” answered Baker. “To be honest, unconditional love doesn’t work for this niche genre. Deathsmiles needs your love, so go out and buy it!  When love is given, love will be returned.” Baker also assured Microsoft’s North American Xbox division is supportive of shooters like Deathsmiles and said approval was “pretty easy. The dudes and dudettes at Microsoft are awesome!”


“Last year we saw the year of the fighters with Street Fighter 4, Tekken, and Blazblue. We hope that 2010 is the year of the shmups! This is a classic genre that needs a revival, and we want to make it happen. We need support from diehards and new comers alike.”


Aksys’ revival starts this summer when Deathsmiles comes out in North America. How much will it cost? “That’s like asking the bride how much the ring was; just come to the reception!”


Take that as your official invitation. Oh, and the party might have gifts! “We are cooking up something special for a possible LE,” Baker teased. I hope whatever they’re making is as crazy as their limited edition for Record of Agarest War.

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