This past Saturday, I met up with Michael Yum, the Executive Producer of DJ MAX Technika. We had a nice chat where I was able to ask him some questions about the arcade game, what other places are getting it, as well as possible console and handheld ports.
Some of our readers are asking if there will be a DS or iPhone version of Technika sometime in the future?
Michael Yum, Executive Producer at PM Studios: Actually, we’re working on both.
Interesting! Will the iPhone version allow players to upload their own songs to play, like in Tap Tap Revenge?
We’re trying different things with the iPhone. We haven’t really finalized anything right now, but it looks to be a lite version of [Technika] so that players can see what the game is about without having to go to the arcade.
For the DS, we’re trying to do something with the DSi, but it’s a big secret. I can’t tell you what we’re doing with it, but the DS and DSi version will be different. It’ll play on both, but the DSi will have more features.
Will there be camera features?
Yes. And storage too.
Are you working with Pentavision on this?
This will be published by PM Studios in every country.
Is Pentavision also working on a XBLA DJMAX game?
We were trying to, but it was declined from Microsoft. But we’re still working on that. It’s in another division at Pentavision — it’s not even the guys who do DJMAX.
Is it going to be more like Technika?
It’s going to be more like DJMAX, but with a different team making it. It might be really different. The title will be different too.
It won’t be DJMAX at all?
No. I can’t really give the title right now, but it will be a different game.
I can talk about Fever and everything else. The engine has been changed slightly from Fever. It’s going to use the same engine that was in Black Squares. We can’t really say anything about it right now, but it’s a bit different. There’s two ways to play the game: the original way, and a different one. There’s a new node in the game that lets you control the background.
At the same time you’re playing?
Yeah, you can turn on and off the background as you play.
Are there any other arcades with Technika?
We’re planning on sending one out to Sunnyvale Golfland, Arcade Infinity, New York, Kansas Ohio. We’re just trying to spread them out right now. We have an exclusive agreement with UCLA arcade for one year and then we put another one in Long Beach because other companies like MTV and G4 want to record, but they’re not allowed to record on campus.
It seems like arcades aren’t that popular now, do you think Technika will start bringing people back? It’s such a big machine, it’s not like you can have it at home.
In Korea, Japan, China, the games do really well, but when I brought them here, it was really hard. I went to all the arcades, meeting everybody, and it was the same guys who were at each arcade. So, there’s only one group of people supporting the community right now.
Do you think that arcades are more open to other types of games like fighting games?
I wouldn’t even say that anymore. I think all the consoles are killing everybody. When we made Technika, we wanted to make something that couldn’t be done at home. Even the DS doesn’t have the multi-touch feature that Technika has.
Oh you’re right. Multi-touch would be hard to port over.
Yeah, we’re thinking of different ways to approach that right now. We felt that we needed to add it because after the first round of testing, people thought it was too easy, but now it’s a bit too hard, so we’re trying to make it for everybody.
I think arcades are dying and I really see it now. In America, it’s practically dead. The only way everybody has a chance is if everyone comes out to start bringing games only for the arcade. When we heard that Activision and Konami were bringing Guitar Hero, we want to promote them and help them because we think that by bringing those types of games to the arcade, it can help everyone. We were disappointed that Capcom wasn’t bringing Street Fighter.
Yeah, back when Street Fighter II was in the arcades, it was huge and it was kind of like a spectator sport too. I guess it’s good that Technika has that second screen on top (to watch) because it gets a bit boring staring down at the player as he presses buttons. Are you planning on bringing anything else to arcade? Or just Technika for now?
Just Technika for now. We’re thinking of possibly an upgrade for Technika.
Will it still be using the same player cards?
Yes. But we’re going to do something different with the top screen.
Can you talk about the online features? You can upload your score to an online scoreboard right?
Yeah! You can save your rankings online with your player card. What PM Studios tries to do with Fever is to give out prizes based on your ranking. We want to do the same thing with Technika. If we eventually bring it out on the handhelds and other consoles, we want to link them together so that the players can have a community. We’re planning to upload new songs through the network. In Korea, you can challenge new missions (kind of like the extreme challenges in DJMAX). We plan on using the network a lot.
Is this going to be a national scoreboard or worldwide?
It’s going to be national.
Haha good, because it seems the arcade players in Asia are at a different caliber than the ones here.
Yeah, it’s totally different here. But here, the players do want the ranking. It definitely is important for them.
Is this going to Europe?
Yes, Europe and Latin America. We’re sending them out next.
That’s about all the questions I have. Do you have anything else you’d like to say?
I want to say thank you to everyone for your support.
Images courtesy of PM Studios.