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STG Developer Interview [1/3]

Developers, listed in (Japanese) phonetic order of their company. Games inside the brackets is that person's personal best 3.

Tsuneki Ikeda: Cave Head of Development. Born 05.17.1968. Major works include Dodonpachi, ESPRade, and Guwange. [Salamander, Battle Garegga]

Junya Inoue: Cave Director. Born 10.18.1971. Major works include Dodonpachi, ESPRade, and Guwange. [Raiden Series, Koukaku Kidoutai (Ghost in the Shell), Galaxy Force]

Shinsuke Nakamura: Psikyo AM Head of Planning. Born 01.12.1967. Major works include Strikers, Gunbird, and the Sengoku Series. [Raiden DX, ASO, Gradius]

Takashi Egawano: Success Programmer. Born XX.XX.19XX. Major works include Psyvariar. [Space Harrier, Thunder Force 3, Musha Aleste]

Takashi Nishi: Takumi Manager of Planning & Development. Born XX.XX.19XX. Major works include Gigawing and Mars Matrix. [Dodonpachi, Gradius II, B-Wing]

Yoshitaka Kobayashi: Takumi Assistant Manager of Planning & Development. Born 11.16.1974. Major works include Gigawing (Arcade & Dreamcast versions) [Dodonpachi, Raiden Fighters Jet, Radiant Silvergun]

Hiroshi Iuchi: Treasure Head of Development. Born 01.13.1967. Major works include Radiant Silvergun. [Image Fight, Salamander, Star Wars (Atari Version)]

Yuuichi Sotoyama: Raizing Director of Operations. Born 04.23.1967. Major works include Mahou Daisakusen Series and Soukyuugurentai. [Xevious, Zanac, Galaxian 3]

[Best 3]

Nakamura: Raiden II, at the time, was refreshing, and had well done graphics.

Sotoyama: I don't think there would've been Raiden without games like Kyuukyoku Tiger. In that sense, I think it has a very important existence. I personally like games like Tatsujin as well, but, I didn't feel like it properly expanded.

Kobayashi: Raiden Fighters Jet is fun once you've gotten used to it and can properly dodge its bullets.

Ikeda: Actually I didn't really like the Raiden series. While on the one hand you can play it and enjoy it for it's purity, I guess maybe I've just become bored with the transition from Hishouzame to Kyuukyoku Tiger to Raiden.

Iuchi: You could say Dodonpachi was a turning point.

Ikeda: For me, that's Battle Garegga. A long time ago, I hated bullet dodging. Around the time I was playing Slap Fight, I'd move around and coincidentally move unscathed through the bullets. It was then that I came to like dodging. I tend to make the player do so forcefully to an extent. Faced with the question of how to convey the fun in bullet dodging, I played around with making the hit box smaller, and the bullets fiercer.

[Shooting Elements]

Nakamura: Has to be fast bullet patterns. Also making attacks stronger with proximity.

Ikeda: For me, I tend to throw out what I don't need. I'm the type that doesn't want to think about anything other than blowing stuff up and dodging bullets, so I tend to ditch the rest.

Egawano: For me, it's clear cut rules, mixed with exhilaration.

Iuchi: I think of shooting as a game of catch... like bargaining with someone. Because I do this, he does that. In turn, I do this. I also like to make shooting stuff the most important. If you stray from that, you fail. In the sprite-based world, having that "sense of shooting" or not is as plain as day. So, yeah... I guess I really don't have any idea (laughs). I have bad memories of when we were making Silvergun, where we couldn't find that "do this and you'll do well" element.

Nishi: In my case, the rules need to be simple, and the attacks proper. But, also where to put the right path.

Sotoyama: For me, even if I'm not good at the game, I'll rate it higher if there's an interesting character or story. I liked Master of Weapon. I like to put that feeling into my own games.

Kobayashi: For me it's not exactly being able to easily understand, or being able to easily play, but more like adding this to something else I've played. For example, on Dodonpachi Stage 5, thinking "I wish it were like this", and putting that into Gigawing.

Inoue: I personally like following the story. But, you obviously can't do this on every stage, so I try to find the proper balance.

[Yoko and Tate]

Ikeda: In Yoko, your eyes are always going like this... I always wish they'd line up vertically (laughs). When dodging bullets, you're either "using both eyes to check over a line" or "moving left and right, always looking at something that which travels away". However, the latter always seems to take precedence. As such, I think the level one can track [in yoko] is pretty low. So for my taste of games, yoko is pretty hard.

Nakamura: But it looks good.

Inoue: The beauty of yoko is that you can express depth. We're currently making a game with terrains like those found in yoko shooting games. It is quite nice (laughs). I guess I'm starting to think it's nothing different than tate.

Sotoyama: I think the era where you died when you hit the terrain was long.

Nakamura: Our games don't have terrains. However, in Sengoku Blade, the bullet patterns were like those in a tate game, which made it kind of hard. Dodging bullets in tate versus yoko is totally different. Ones that work in tate, won't in yoko.

Inoue: There was a time when I thought yoko shooting was summed up with Gradius. In terms of where it's easiest to dodge, that would be just in front of the very back [left] of the screen. Deciding on how to balance, you decide on where the bullets can fly. Using the entire screen, it gets rather manic, which then causes you to decide, "Okay, we need this type of weapon" and such. It's grows in that type of manner.

Ikeda: I tried Dodonpachi in Yoko, but it just didn't work out (laughs). Couldn't dodge it at all. Yoko games have many attacks that look like they travel on horizontal vectors. I guess it's trying to show you a horizontal line.


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