Continuing our interview with John Greiner, president of MonkeyPaw Games, the discussion moved away from BurgerTime World Tour and on to MonkeyPaw’s future plans as far retro remakes, digital imports and even new, original games go.
BurgerTime World Tour is MonkeyPaw’s first foray into "retro evolution." Are there any other games in particular you’re interested in reviving?
John Griener, President: We have a number of target titles in our sights. So first we need to prove that we have a winning hand with BurgerTime. Then we can show how we plan to upgrade our next game with similar evolutionary treatment. We are pretty close to our users so we always encourage them to talk to us on Facebook, Twitter and our blog. Put us in your stream! Networking means your voice gets heard.
What about original IP? Are there any retro genres MonkeyPaw wants to take on with a brand new game?
Based on our PSN retro games, shmup fans deserve more love. They sure are a dedicated crowd! But I think it is more about the title than the genre. There are so many games that didn’t get to expand on the vision of their creator. We’d love to get access to those game designers and pick their mind as to what they would have done to advance the game further.
We are creating new IP for the digital download formats as well. We think the use of DLC, avatars, and online play offer unique opportunities to create games that couldn’t be done before. We’re in the age of social networking but let’s not limit it to Facebook. Games are a natural medium for communicating. Communicating with friends or even strangers while sharing an online game adds a dynamic that really increases the experience, much more so than things like 3D. So our games will always have a multiplayer function and will allow for the game to be shared.
As a side question, what do you think of the two new handhelds the 3DS and NGP?
I was very impressed with the 3DS when I saw it at E3 but now that I’m playing it, I think the 3D effect isn’t necessary. It just doesn’t affect games in any deep manner, at least not yet. In fact, it makes me dizzy. On the Sony side, it is still very early but the NGP is looking like a great piece of hardware. It is a true next-gen handheld. I’m very impressed with their execution. But we all know the key to any hardware is the software so I wouldn’t count Nintendo out of any fight.
MonkeyPaw came on the scene with digital imports for PlayStation Network. Are we going to see any more of those?
Of course! The Japanese PSN Store is so full of whacked games, why shouldn’t everyone get the chance to play? We see this stuff everyday so we’ve become pretty good at picking the obscure, fun titles that we know our fans will appreciate. A lot of work goes into getting these games through the licensing gamut. We want to reach out to retro fans and provide games from another world. Let’s not lose touch with our roots.
What do you think about releasing unlocalized Japan-only PsOne classics as digital downloads? Is there a large enough market to tackle these kinds of projects?
We’ve been seeing a steady flow of downloads on our Import section of the PSN Store. While not overwhelming, we have been pleased with the dedication of our serial users. We know they will spread the word and make this section profitable over time. But we would like to have more visibility and get people to take more chances on the games. Our choice in game selection gravitates toward the weird and wonderful of Japan. So they might not be for everyone but one thing we can assure is that all our games are intrinsically fun. You won’t be wasting your time or money.
Here’s an idea. Maybe we can combine "retro evolution" with unlocalized Japanese games. Is MonkeyPaw looking at picking up quirky games and remake them?
Yes, there are a lot of great Japanese games that deserves the new look and canvas. It is always so difficult to get the game you really want, especially the quirky ones. Pepsiman has been on our radar forever but just think about the licensing nightmare with that one! Moon is a quirky title that deserves a remake. The list is pretty long. Why not drop us a line and tell us what you’d like to see.
BurgerTime World Tour the first "retro evolution title" from MonkeyPaw Games will be released this summer on XBLA, PSN, WiiWare and PC.