SIE’s Shuhei Yoshida And Keiichiro Toyama Celebrate Ape Escape’s 20th Anniversary

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While Ape Escape is only getting a PS4 theme and some related merchandise for its 20th anniversary, the official account for the 20th anniversary of the series has been releasing developer commentary on the series from Sony Interactive Entertainment president Shuhei Yoshida, and Siren and Gravity Rush director Keiichiro Toyama.


Here’s the translation for YoshiP’s series of Tweets below:

Shuhei Yoshida, president: “It’s Ape Escape’s 20th anniversary, congratulations! …Thank you very much. (laughs) As someone involved, it’s weird to be the one giving congratulations. As the producer of the first Ape Escape, we began with only 2-3 people on the team.”

“Among all the games I’ve produced, the one I was most involved in was Ape Escape, so I’ve always said that among the Ape Escape series the one that was the most well-made is the first one. I really believe there’s a wide gap between that and the rest. (laughs)”

Ape Escape was made to go along with the new Dualshock controller. Because there were two sticks, I said that we should make a game that can only be played with these, and put out the idea.”

“Spinning the sticks to spin a propeller and fly up, spinning a hula hoop, use the left stick to move the character while using the right stick to move a remote controlled object… We went through the process of coming up with ideas then cutting them multiple times.”

“One day, I found a piece of paper on my desk with every programmer’s name on it. It said that they couldn’t stand continuing this trial and error process any longer, so please stop. (laughs) And so I believe I caused a lot of trouble to everyone back then, but I think that because of this we were able to release a good game.”

“When it was about time to release the game, we had a lot of trouble coming up with the title. And then a new guy or someone into his second year of work said, “Why not Saru☆Getchu?” He proposed that name because you catch monkeys. And we were like, “Hey, that sounds pretty good!!””

“”Except… Please remove the ☆.” And so we took away the ☆ from Saru Getchu. (laughs) The one who named the game Saru Getchu, is the current head of marketing, Seigou Sugai.”

“The Ape Escape series is a title that I have many memories with, so I’m glad I have this chance to wear this Pipo Helmet and give my comments on the anniversary. Thank you very much.”


Keiichiro Toyama

ape escape 3

“Congratulations on the Ape Escape series’ 20th anniversary. It’s been 20 years, huh. …The Ape Escape series was released around the time I was working on the Siren series.”

“The Ape Escape series is just as much a flagship brand of Japan Studio as Everybody’s Golf and Dokodemo Issho, and because they were able to gather such a wide spectrum of fans, we were able to create a game like Siren, so I’m very thankful. (laughs)”


ape escape 4

As part of the celebration, a new collab T-shirt celebrating both Ape Escape and Siren will be released in limited quantities at PlayStation Fest Tokyo 2019. The picture shows a Shibito…er, Shibisaru, drawn by Yoshitaka Takahashi.


Ape Escape first released in North America for PlayStation in May 31, 1999. It released a little later in Japan on June 24, 1999 then in Europe on July 2, 1999.

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Image of Alistair Wong
Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!