Rising Star Games is becoming the main shooter publisher in the West. They brought Dodonpachi Resurrection and Deathsmiles to Europe. Now, they are working with Senko no Ronde developer G.rev on Under Defeat HD. The helicopter shooter was originally released for Dreamcast and is available for PlayStation 3 with a brand new chopper exclusive to the Rising Star Games version.
How did Rising Star Games get in touch with G.Rev?
Hiroyuki Maruyama, G.rev CEO: When we began to consider the international release of Under Defeat HD, we approached several foreign publishers. We already had established contact with many of them in the past, but Rising Star Games had always stood out as a company that we felt would be able to appreciate and understand our games. As we knew they proactively sold and promoted shoot’em ups and other hardcore Japanese titles, we eventually decided to cooperate with RSG.
Can you tell us the process G.Rev goes through when designing a level? How do you map out enemies and bullet patters to make a game exciting without being frustrating.
HM: The process differs depending on the game, but typically we build a general model of the game environment and work on figuring out a tempo for the game in its entirety. Once we have a solid idea on that, we begin manipulating details and fine-tune each section. In addition, if it is an arcade game, we must consider the length of game play (per coin). We will take data at the location tests and make adjustments to the difficulty accordingly.
How does the new chopper play in Under Defeat HD compared to the old one?
HM: The VKL6.02, exclusive to the RSG release, is probably somewhere between the original and the VKL7.04(V)W in terms of strength. We selected this model, for one reason, because we thought fans of the game would enjoy using one of the game’s enemy mechs as their chopper. It uses an independent option, but instead of having the smaller gun turrets that the original had, the VKL6.02 features homing missiles that create a different dynamic to the game. It will probably take a few runs through the game to understand how to use them effectively, but hope that gamers will enjoy that process.
Rising Star Games have been bringing a lot of shooters to the West. Are you looking at picking up more titles from G.rev or Cave?
Yen Hau, Product Marketing Manager, Rising Star Games: We are continually looking to bring titles to the west that our fans want to play, irrespective of the genre. If the demand is big enough we will look into it, and although we can’t always do it, we will try our best to do so.
While shooters used to be a popular genre in the 80s, shooters almost vanished from the marketplace. In Rising Star’s opinion, is the genre growing, shrinking? Has it reached its peak?
YH: Shooters are a niche genre now, that is undeniable, but we see it as an alternative to FPS’ on the market today and feel there is a potential for it to continue growing.
What do you think can make the shooter genre more popular?
YH: I think in today’s age of online gaming we must explore ways of integrating it into shooters. I’m not talking about just online leaderboards, but the full-fat competitive online gaming experience that makes FPS’ so popular.
Is Rising Star Games working with Toybox on any future titles aside from Deadly Premonition and Project Happiness?
YH: We have a very strong relationship with Wada-san and Kanazawa-san, the founders of Toybox, and wouldn’t think twice about working with them on other projects.
Since Rising Star’s base is in Europe, how does the European market compare to the US one when it comes to bringing Japanese games to the West?
YH: I don’t think there is any differentiation between European and US fans of Japanese games. We are all fans of the ‘genre’ and want to see the same games released. It is this support that has made our move into the US market so smooth and we are humbled by the amount of goodwill towards us on both sides of the pond.