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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Esp.ra.de. 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.