Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel is a sidescrolling shooter about witches, magic, and saving lost friends, having players blast their way through various stages and deal with varied bosses. Drawing heavily from Mega Man, players will find themselves gaining new magic powers as they defeat bosses, growing in power as they find victory.
Siliconera reached out to WOMI, developer of Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, to learn more about what the developer wanted to draw from the Blue Bomber, as well as how they wanted to diverge from the Mega Man formula.
The Rosenkreuzstilette series has some long, complicated names. What do they mean? What drew you to name your games this way?
WOMI, developer of Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel – “Rosenkreuzstilette” is based on the German for “Stiletto of the Rose Crucifix”, and “Freudenstachel” is based on the German for “Thorn of Joy”. Both the titles and characters were originally taken from a visual novel game project by one of the creators. Personally, I liked how it starts with an “R”, like “Rockman” [Japanese Mega Man].
There were comments about it being unreadable in Japan, and about the spelling being impossible to remember, but I think they were good titles, with the preceding comments considered.
Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel mixes magic and Mega Man-like play, like the previous game. What new things did you want to do with this title that you couldn’t do in the last one? What made you want to make a new game in the series?
One of the bigger things we weren’t able to do with the previous title was the boss character solicitation thing. Six of the characters were selected from entries from fans.
As for in-game stuff, the boss algorithms have been changed greatly. In the previous title, we copied the NES style and purposely included movements with fewer patterns, but for this title we went for a more SNES-and-beyond feel and added more attack patterns and less random movements. We’ve also added vertically-scrolling areas and double-screen boss fights to the latest game.
Originally, we had no plans to make this game. We decided to make it after receiving so many requests for a sequel. (Since we made the decision for a sequel without thinking very carefully, it ended up taking us five years to develop it, though…)
How did you want to create your own vision of a Mega Man-like game? How did you want to make this play style your own?
Since it’s a game with a long history, I feel like what is considered “characteristic” of it would differ between people, but I personally feel that the way the game is made – in which it can be enjoyed by beginners and veterans alike – is very Mega Man-ish.
At the time, for most games, you’d start at Stage 1 and would have to clear one stage at a time, and if you couldn’t clear the first stage then you’d be stuck with just the one level. But then, suddenly, there were these games where you could play six stages, and if there was a boss you weren’t good with, you could find their weak point and attack accordingly.
I think the game was designed really well in that it allowed the player to first find a boss’ weak point, then once you’ve gotten used to the boss, you could take it out with normal shots, and then once you’ve gotten further acclimated you could clear the game without taking damage and have fun with time attacks and stuff like that. The game was made so that players of all levels could enjoy it.
For this game as well, we wanted to make it so that even beginners could somehow get through it, so we really put a lot of work into balancing things out. Since hardcore fans tend to make them, Mega Man-style games usually have difficulty levels that are really hardcore themselves.
Players who keep firing in Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel will find their shots weakening. Why did you choose to add this hindrance to players’ weapons? What does this add to the game?
During development, the main shot could be used unlimitedly, but with the rapid-fire function it became so that simply holding down the fire button became the easiest way to play, and it made it more like a Contra-style game. As far as the Megaman style goes, while I felt that the limited main shot was a kind of heresy, we had to include it in order to avoid players simply holding down the fire button. It’s actually really fuel-efficient, and each time you miss, the main shot gauge refills completely, so I don’t think players will end up getting weakened very often.
Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel features many challenging bosses with neat powers to collect. What thoughts go into making a useful, interesting magical power for players to get from bosses? How did you design so many different attacks and keep them useful?
Since the normal shot is extremely powerful in this game, I remember being really careful in making sure that the different types of magic were exceptionally effective in specific parts of the game. As a result, we ended up with a lot of “peaky” weapons and somewhat useless ones… But I feel that this too is in the Mega Man tradition.
Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel has many nods to classic video games with some of its enemies and levels. Why put in these nods to older games? Why did you want to include them?
The way we included elements from other old-school games in the Game Over screen of the previous title actually turned out to be a bit of a hit, so we included a bunch of new joke references while making sure to maintain the main Mega Man style.
Do you feel like you will make another game in the series? What else do you want to do with the Rosenkreuzstilette franchise now?
We still receive requests for a sequel, and we would love to make one, but since one of the team members left during development of Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, meaning it’s just me by myself, and since I’m also involved in other things as well, it would be pretty difficult to do.
Game development isn’t my actual main job, so it’s hard for me to maintain my motivation unless it’s in the sort of situation where a few friends toss ideas around and get all excited while creating a game. If I were to do it, I feel like it would be fun to make something based on the dash and close-range attack mode included in this latest title as a bonus.