This week, HAL Laboratory released a claw crane action game, Hataraku UFO, for mobile devices. This marked their first title under a newly established company brand, HAL Egg, and Famitsu interviewed Brand Manager Shigefumi Kawase and Hataraku UFO Director Teruhito Suzuki regarding the new brand and game.
Famitsu: First, can you tell us how the “HAL Egg” brand came to be?
Shigefumi Kawase, brand manager: “When you hear HAL Lab, you probably think of the Kirby series, but as a creative group we come up with many ideas daily outside of the Kirby series. In order to provide these sort of new sources of fun, we created the “HAL Egg” brand.”
Famitsu: Hataraku UFO was announced as the first title under HAL Egg. What was the process of making the game?
Teruhito Suzuki, producer: “Hataraku UFO was planned as an action adventure game that utilized a physics engine. Originally, it was being developed as a difficult sidescrolling action game where a crane arm was used to evade obstacles and traps while bringing back treasure, but we realized that the best motif for a character using a crane arm was a UFO. (Crane games are called ‘UFO Catchers’ in Japan) As a UFO, you would be able to fly around freely, and it was easy to picture a UFO picking and moving objects around. This is why in the end the cute character Mr. UFO was created, and it became a casual game about challenging different tasks.”
Famitsu: By the way, it has been quite a long time since HAL Laboratory published a game of their own.
Kawase: “The previous one was ‘Super Dunk Shot’ for the SNES, so it would be the first in 25 years. We haven’t been very proactive on the publishing front for a long time, but considering that we plan to continue making games like this, and that we need to obtain more knowledge on various aspects of publishing, we decided to take upon this challenge.”
Famitsu: While this is your first published title in a long time, do you have any vision for worldwide expansion?
Kawase: “While not as a simultaneous release with Japan, of course we plan to expand abroad. There are still various areas where Hataraku UFO can be expanded as well, so we would like to be more active in this regard.”
Hataraku UFO is currently available for iPhone and Android, at the price of 480 yen.