Hudson Interview - Alien Crush, Bomberman, Tetris, Blue Oasis

Hudson is a company that needs little introduction. One of the first publishers to flock to the legendary NES console, Hudson has continued to be a solid Nintendo supporter and has recently opened its WiiWare account with the enjoyable Star Soldier R. Needless to say, the veteran publisher also has several other interesting titles on the horizon.

With this in mind, we spoke to Hudson Japan to get the lowdown on the company's plans for the service.

WiiWare World: Could you tell us what attracted you to developing for WiiWare?

Hudson: We felt that there were huge opportunities in the fact that all the users who purchase the games are connected via network. Especially appropriate was the ability to spread simultaneous worldwide delivery.

WW: Alien Crush is a surprising choice for WiiWare, given the cult status of the PC Engine original. What inspired you to revisit the game?

H: Given the fact that pinball is a game that is loved and favoured throughout the world, along with it being the best candidate to implement the Hudson style, this really was a no-brainer.

WW: The original Alien Crush was developed by Naxatsoft – are any of the original developers involved with this update?

H: Unfortunately, none of the original developers were included for the WiiWare version, but we constantly encourage the developers to go back to the original, sort of as a guideline.

WW: Alien Crush WiiWare has been called a ‘remake’ of the original, but do you intend to include any new features, such as new bonus rooms or new table designs?

H: The boards and stages are completely new, along with additional aspects as Special Ball actions and a new concept in Tilting, which we will be adding on a regular basis, also with various Wi-Fi features, but the thing that developers pride themselves most are the major graphic enhancement that reminisce the original, as well as showing the whole new world.

WW: Will Alien Crush game feature any online elements?

H: Yes, it will. It will feature online battles as well as rankings.

WW: Is it true that the WiiWare version of Tetris will support the Wii Balance Board? Can you tell us how this would work?

H: Yes, it does. Currently, we are testing various ways of controls. I think it’s something to look forward to.

Please note Hudson is the developer for the Tetris and the Publisher in Japan, but not the Publisher in Europe and US.

WW: Can you tell us about any other features that make WiiWare Tetris stand out from previous versions of the game?

H: There are new rules, along with items that fully utilize the nature of the Wii Remote.
Aside from multiplayer battles, there is also a co-op mode.

WW: It was recently revealed that the WiiWare version of Bomberman is basically the Battle Mode from the full retail version. Why did you choose to release the game this way, and do you see the WiiWare version to be a ‘demo’ for people to try out before purchasing the full retail version?

H: As I said in the first question, we believe the network aspect of WiiWare is the next frontier in the gaming community. With that in mind, we thought that the gameplay for Bomberman battles were the perfect candidate for fully incorporating that feature.

In Japan, a package version, including the WiiWare Battle mode and the single player mode, will be released soon after the WiiWare version. These versions can be connected via Wi-Fi to Battle with each other.

Please note the Europe and US release date of the package version is TBA.

WW: Are there any elements of WiiWare Bomberman that will be new to fans of the series?

H: There are the obvious ones, such as additions of rules and stages, along with items specific to Wii remote, but the one that should be anticipated the most is the fact that it is compatible with Miis.

WW: Could you tell us a bit about Blue Oasis? Is it just a simple pet simulator or will the game have solid objectives and goals?

H: You can say that it’s a simulator, but interactive aspects are also included. Example
of such feature include celebration dance from the fishes when an anniversary is
specified, or sharing your aquarium with your friend via Wi-Fi. It is also connected
with the Weather Channel, so that the atmosphere of the tank changes accordingly.

WW: What has the critical and commercial response been like for Star Soldier R so far? Do you have any plans for a Star Soldier title that isn’t time-limited?

H: We would suspect that there were some who were concerned about the volume, but they soon realize that the main point of the game is to play it over and over again to find the hidden bonuses on their own.

As for the Star Soldier R without the time limit, it is currently not yet in development, but will be considered if the public demands it.

WW: Do you have any other WiiWare titles in development that you can tell us about?

H: Yes, we have several in development at this time, but none that I can officially mention yet. Sorry.

WW: Hudson is a company with a proud lineage of fine videogame releases; are there any other classic Hudson franchises that might be updated for WiiWare?

H: We do have some in consideration. Please be on the lookout for them!

WW: Do you think WiiWare will change the way Hudson publishes games? Will the company be more willing to experiment with more original concepts, given the relatively low-risk option that WiiWare provides?

H: Truthfully, no. We’d like to think of WiiWare as a brand new chance & challenge for us to pursue and incorporate, instead of an element that may change our ways. We expect WiiWare will be a good way, for Hudson doesn’t have a locally-incorporated company in Europe.