Hudson Interview - Alien Crush Returns

With the recent release of Alien Crush Returns, Hudson continues to breath new life into their classic franchises through both the Wii Virtual Console and WiiWare services. While they've also brought out some great new titles, it's these remakes of their classic titles that seem to grab the most attention from gamers around the world.

We recently caught up with Hudson's Associate Brand Manager Amar Gavhane and he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to take part in an interview with Nintendo Life. You can find out what he had to say in our exclusive interview below.

Nintendo Life: What were some of the challenges you faced in updating a classic title like the Turbografx-16 version of Alien Crush?

Amar Gavhane: Since the last game in the series came out well over a decade ago, it was mainly finding the right elements to add to the game to make it feel modern yet retro at the same time. I feel like we hit the modern mark with the action balls and motion controls, and hit the retro mark with the story, audio, and gameplay itself.

NL: Why was the decision made to add a story mode and boss fights to the game? Was there a concern that the straight-up classic pinball action of the original title might not be enough to satisfy gamers in today's gaming world?

AG: I think that's certainly part of it. Back then, games were highly constrained by memory limits. Nowadays, gamers expect much more from their games. Adding the story mode and boss fights both contributed to the modern/retro feel of the game.

NL: What are some of the advantages/disadvantages to developing for the WiiWare service as opposed to developing a full retail title?

AG: The biggest disadvantage right away is the memory limit. You don't have gigs upon gigs of memory to make a game. At the same time, though, it's an advantage in that you have to really prune down your game to its essential, pure, most fun elements. Other advantages that make WiiWare great are the motion controls and the audience. I know a lot of the long-time gamers/hardcore crowd aren't especially pleased with the games on the platform, but for us, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to reach out to a new audience that is a little more hesitant to spend a ton of money on a very complex game.

NL: How long was Alien Crush Returns in development?

AG: Not long at all, about 8 months.

NL: Did any of the original Alien Crush development team work on or have any input on the development of Alien Crush Returns?

AG: No, it was an entirely new team this time around. That last game was made a loooooong time ago.

NL: What does having access to a unique controller like the Wii Remote bring to the table as far as developing games for the Wii?

AG: Well, I think it's pretty obvious that it gives you a ton of new interface options. Whether it's using it as a pointing device or for one of the many motions you could do, you can get pretty creative with what you can have users do when playing games.

NL: Why was the decision made to remake Alien Crush instead of Devil's Crush?

AG: You know, I get that question a lot. Alien Crush was the first in the series and was the logical choice to remake first. Now, while I preferred Alien Crush, a lot of fans out there thought Devil's Crush was the superior version. Now that we've remade a few of our classics for WiiWare (Star Soldier series, Alien Crush series), who knows what other games we'll bring.

NL: Hudson has enjoyed quite a bit of success on the WiiWare service so far. What do you think one of the biggest factors in that success has been?

AG: I hate this buzzword, but "synergy" comes to mind. Hudson makes fun, family-friendly games and WiiWare is a great platform for those kinds of games. Games for download services have a limited amount of memory to work with, and because of that reason they're boiled down to their core essence: fun gameplay. That's one of our strengths and it's the reason why we've seen the success we have.

NL: Is there a lot of added pressure in creating an updated version of such a well-loved classic title like the Turbografx-16 version of Alien Crush? Any worries of possibly alienating fans of the original game?

AG: You've got a point there. Any time you change directions in a game series, you risk upsetting fans. Particularly with games that have been dormant for many years, gamers have extremely fond memories of those games and don't like the formula being changed. There've been a lot of discussions on this subject what with the digital download platforms allowing many companies to bring back beloved brands.

NL: Are you planning to do any Alien Crush Returns tournaments like you did for Star Soldier R?

AG: At this point, no. Star Soldier has a history of the "Caravan Mode" which was designed specifically for tournaments, so running a tournament for the WiiWare version was a natural continuation.

NL: Can you tell us any new information about the rumored Adventure Island remake?

AG: Here, let me give the official rumor quote that all businesspeople have memorized: "I can neither confirm nor deny rumors." That being said, you've already seen us bring back a few of our popular series. We get requests every day to bring back all sorts of series, like Adventure Island, Military Madness, Bonk, and so on. Let me say this: I think we'd be crazy not to bring some of our classic brands back.

NL: With such a wonderful catalog of classic titles to choose from, do you have any plans to update any more Turbografx-16 games in the future? Might we be so bold as to suggest a Lords of Thunder or Gate of Thunder remake?

AG: Please, be bolder! We love it when people ask about games they want brought back. You're not the first to suggest Lords of Thunder or Gate of Thunder, but that's one of the more rare ones.

NL: Virtual Console fans seem to still be clamoring for a release of Dracula X as well as other import PC Engine titles. Are there any plans to bring more PC Engine import titles to the Virtual Console service in the future?

AG: I wouldn't be surprised if you saw some more PC Engine import titles. As far as Dracula X is concerned, you'll need to ask the folks over at Konami.

We'd like to thank Amar Gavhane again for taking the time to do the interview with us. If you haven't tried out Alien Crush Returns yet you should definitely consider taking it out for a spin. If you're still unsure, you can take a look at our Alien Crush Returns review and maybe that will help you make up your mind.

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