A quirky platforming series starring a robot busting carpenter is smashing its way back into the spotlight. After a construction site crashing, giant mole smacking arcade game and a bunch of only for Japan games Hammerin’ Harry toiled away in pachinko parlors. Irem brought Gen out of retirement for Hammerin’ Hero, a PSP game where he has more tools than his trusty hammer.
In Hammerin’ Hero, Gen can change his costume and get different weapons like a giant fish. Atlus elaborates and explains the connection with the older Hammerin’ Harry games in this interview. Let’s get busy!
Are there any connections between Hammerin’ Hero and Irem’s Hammerin’ Harry games?
Sammy Matsushima, Project Lead: Hammerin’ Hero is a true successor to Irem’s Hammerin’ Harry games. Its original Japanese name is “Daiku no Gensan” (Gen the Carpenter). You’re in control of Gen, fighting off the evil construction company Kuromoku-gumi, except this time not only as a carpenter but also as a DJ, baseball player, diver, and all sorts of wacky jobs. Most of the main characters from the arcade, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and pachinko (Japanese only) games appear in this game as well.
Hammerin’ Harry had an wacky plot involving capitalism and a final boss that attacks with money. Can you tell us about the story in Hammerin’ Hero?
Clayton S. Chan, Editor: Hammerin’ Hero also has a wacky plot that involves capitalism, but the final boss here doesn’t attack you with money. Gen returns home after a long day of honest construction work to find that shady construction mogul Hyosuke Kuromoku and his Kuromoku-gumi are trying to evict Gen’s neighbors. The residents can’t possibly fight the hordes of pickaxe-wielding men bearing down on their homes, so Gen realizes that they need a hero…one who can hammer.
After defeating the initial group of Kuromoku goons, Hyosuke accidentally lets part of his larger plan slip out, and Gen goes into full justice mode, rushing everywhere to stop the Kuromoku’s dirty deeds.
Was there a lot of text to localize? Which was the most difficult part?
CC: Well, I can’t speak for the translators, but in terms of the editing process, the rakugo section was the toughest for me. It took me a long time to figure out what to put there, both in terms of space and logical constraints.
Madoka Ueno, Translator: Yeah, the rakugo part was hard. I laughed out loud in despair the first time I read it… so I saved it for last. When last finally came around, I was like, “Ohhh noooo! My demise is here!” But surprisingly, the 2-year-past-expiration-date chocolate on Clayton’s desk helped me cope. God bless that chocolate, it’s still sitting there, half eaten, getting riper with age… (to be saved as power for future projects!!!!) Anyway, for that part, besides the actual translation, I had to write extensive notes about what each word meant and why and how it’s supposed to be funny… this is where a translator’s real skills are tested!!!
Gen has more than a hammer. What do the other items like the DJ outfit and giant fish do?
Cynthia Ungson, QA Lead: Gen wears his DJ outfit when he takes on the DJ job class. This allows him to throw vinyl records as weapons for a normal attack. Other attacks with this job include using a boombox to smash an enemy to the back of the screen and a super attack that utilizes the power of sound from his boombox. Gen can use the giant tuna fish as a weapon when he is a Sushi Chef. He can use various sizes of fish with this job, depending on how long he charges this particular attack. The bigger the fish, the stronger the attack and the longer the range.
CC: Basically the different outfits are going to change the way you decide to go through the level. Certain jobs will have attacks with different speeds and ranges, so you’ll have to adjust your play style to factor in the different jobs’ advantages and disadvantages. Also, the giant fish just looks awesome.
So Gen can… smack courage into people?
CC: Yup. Even better, when Gen does smack courage into people, they’ll write him a letter. You can go into the menu and read what happens to all the various folks that had their lives changed by Gen’s tough love. You can also transfer emotions from a friendly NPC to an enemy character if they’re in range of the emotion bubble.
How does ad-hoc mulitplayer mode work?
CU: Ad-hoc multiplayer mode allows two players to compete with each other through any of the unlocked stages from a loaded save file. The players can also choose any of the jobs that are unlocked on that file and choose various difficulties for each stage. The objective is for both players to get through the stage and the winner is determined by who ends up with the most points once the stage is completed.
The players are given point gains or deductions throughout the stage depending on performance (i.e. how many enemies defeated, how many times the player lost a life, etc). There are also bonus points for reaching certain areas in the stage before the opponent and dealing the finishing blow on the mini-boss or boss gives extra points as well. The bonus points make it important for a player to be quick in progressing through the stage, but the deductions for bad performance make it important for a player to be precise and skillful in their actions.
Did Atlus improve Hammerin’ Hero over the Japanese version?
SM: Yes, thanks for asking! We added much more English voiced dialogue than what was included in the original Japanese release, along with the option to select the Japanese voice tracks for the purists who want to play in its native language. The character movement was slightly sped up for better response. We also addressed the long loading times before each stage and almost cut them by half. That alone was a very significant improvement to the original release.
Aram Jabbari, Manager of PR and Sales: Please, tell a friend. Also, please tell a friend about the awesome pre-order bonus figures that come with the game available exclusively at GameStop (in store and online, received at time of purchase, while supplies last).
CC: You know, I hear those figures are some kinda something.
Is Atlus planning to release a demo on the PlayStation Store? I believe Irem did something like this in Japan.
SM: For this game, we are not planning to release a demo due to time constraints.
What is Atlus’ relationship like with Irem? They have a handful of other PSP games that could be localized like a certain disaster survival game…
Aram Jabbari: *rolls up sleeve* You see that there? *points to forearm* That’s an “Atlus <3 IREM” tattoo, right there. I think that should tell you a fair bit about the relationship.
As for specific games, I think the safest way to keep track of whether we’re bringing a certain title over is if we announce that we’re bringing that title over. See, Clayton, that’s how you dodge a question. *high fives*
Has Atlus thought about re-releasing any of their retail PSP games as PSN downloads?
SM: If the opportunity for us to release PSN downloads of our games, we will certainly take a serious consideration into doing so.