News Article

Virtual Console Blaster Master To Spearhead Sunsoft Revival

Posted by Damien McFerran

Famed Japanese developer confirms impending release of 8-bit classic

It would seem that Japanese developer Sunsoft is about to support the Virtual Console in a big way.

Former Working Designs big wig Victor Ireland is currently making big noises over at NeoGAF about some interesting projects he's involved with, and Sunsoft's resurgence would appear to be something that is taking up a lot of his time right now.

Ireland's new company - called Gaijinworks - is assisting Sunsoft with some new ventures, one of is a Virtual Console release of the popular NES action platformer Blaster Master, which is due this month.

Here's the official press release:

Sunsoft, a division of SUNCORPORATION, has today announced their return to active console game publishing for the North American market, aided by startup GAIJINWORKS.

Kiharu Yoshida, CEO of SUNCORPORATION (JASDAQ: 6736) initiated a meeting to discuss the possibility of reinvigorating the Sunsoft console gaming brand in the USA. At that meeting, it was quickly obvious that the relationship was a great fit. GAIJINWORKS President, Victor Ireland states, “My relationship with Sunsoft and Yoshida-san goes back more than 15 years, and when this opportunity presented itself to help Sunsoft return to the US console market, it was a natural fit for both our companies.”

This month, the Sunsoft website is being re-launched at sunsoftgames.com, where users will be able to get the latest information about current releases, upcoming games, and special promotions, as well as interact in the forum. Kiharu Yoshida wanted gamers to know that Sunsoft plans to launch a number of special promotions where big prizes can be won, and exclusive, limited edition premiums would be up for grabs as well. Ireland added that some of the swag being made would only be available through these promotions – and is sure to please Sunsoft fans, new and old.

The first title out of the gate for Sunsoft USA will be the Wii Virtual Console release of the Nintendo Entertainment System classic Blaster Master, due in December 2009. Originally titled Meta Fight in Japan, this groundbreaking game was given a story makeover and released in 1988 as Blaster Master™ here in the United States. It received strong critical acclaim and fan raves almost from the moment it hit these shores.

Blaster Master™ is still often listed on magazine and online charts as one of the top 25 NES games ever created. The sublime blend of side-scrolling shooting/platforming mixed with overhead perspective action/shooting areas is just as addictive now as it was then. It will be available for 500 Wii points.

In the coming weeks, additional titles coming to the US market will be announced, many of which will surprise and delight gaming fans. Ireland added, “This first Wii release is a great start, but there is one upcoming announcement in particular that will demonstrate just how serious Yoshida-san is about rebuilding the Sunsoft console gaming brand here. Game fans are going to be pretty happy when they hear about it – I know I was. “

About SUNCORPORATION. Located in Aichi prefecture in Japan, SUN CORPORATION has been innovating electronic equipment and software for almost forty years. Their corporate slogan, “Dream, Challenge, and Creation” perfectly summarizes the spirit that gave birth to their software company Sunsoft. Worldwide, Sunsoft has developed or published almost 100 games for both consoles and arcades. They also publish for iPhone and Windows mobile platforms.

About GAIJINWORKS. GAIJINWORKS was founded by Victor Ireland after spending more than 15 years as President of Working Designs, where he innovated deluxe packaging, special premiums, pack-in soundtracks and game documentaries for their RPG product. Many of the practices he innovated have become standard in the RPG segment, and console video games in general. GAIJINWORKS is focused on continuing a tradition of fanservice for game fans.

Blaster Master is certainly worth getting excited about but the prospect of more Sunsoft classics coming to the Wii has us giddy with expectation. Watch this space, folks.

Thanks to Nintendo Life reader Martyn De Weert for the tip.

[via gonintendo.com]

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User Comments (80)

Porky

#3

Porky said:

I second iken004, never heard of Blaster Master either. Meh, not interested.

Zweck36

#5

Zweck36 said:

Blaster Master was one of my all-time favorite NES games. It is great. All you youngins will find out.

cheetahman91

#6

cheetahman91 said:

Hell yeah! One of the best NES games ever made is finally coming! Sure I already knew this days ago but who cares! I'll celebrate a second time. Here's to more good Sunsoft games!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention it has some of the best music for the console?

Mange

#7

Mange said:

There´s hope for the first NES Batman game. Maybe not the best but it´s the one that I want.

CorbsAdmin

#8

Corbs said:

I still remember breaking the news of GaijinWorks years ago. I put it on my blog and suddenly every major game news site had it up. My blog shut down from the traffic. LOL. Ahh the good old days. Glad to see Vic finally getting things rolling. :)

Ricardo91

#9

Ricardo91 said:

Little late on the draw there, but it's still good news and I'm really looking forward to it. I loves that Blaster Master! :)

WolfRamHeart

#10

WolfRamHeart said:

This is one of the best games to ever come to the Virtual Console so this is indeed fantastic news! I would gladly take Blaster Master over Super Smash Bros. any day! This is retro gaming at it's finest and I simply cannot wait!:)

niner

#12

niner said:

Blaster Master is definitely one of the best NES games. I'm with Zweck36, if you haven't played it and/or are too young to remember it, give the game a try.

However, I don't think there's much more that we'll see from this GaijinWorks/Sunsoft partnership. Most of Sunsoft's good games were licensed properties, such as Batman, Looney Toons, Fester's Quest, Gremlins, Lemmings, etc.

What else do they have? Journey to Silius is an awesome NES platformer, so that's one. But their other big properties are probably Aero the Acro-Bat (a forgettable 16-bit mascot game), Chameleon Twist (blech! - first generation 3D on the N64). I think they also did Spy Hunter, but that property probably belongs to Midway/THQ now.

WanderFan91

#13

WanderFan91 said:

SunSoft also released Fester's Quest, but it's a licensed title. :( So is Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday, but it's the most fun I've had out of the two I've mentioned now, imo.

Mange

#14

Mange said:

How about Mr. Gimmick. Never played it but it looks nice. And it´s very expensive in the second hand market. Above 100$.

niner

#15

niner said:

Yeah, Sunsoft made a bunch of Looney Tunes games for NES and SNES, but of course they're all licensed properties that we'll never see on VC.

WanderFan91

#18

WanderFan91 said:

There's also this Christmas game called Daze Before Christmas that I looked up for the SNES and MegaDrive, that I never heard of prior to having looked up some games by Sunsoft days ago.

Imagine how surprised I was when I found out about this game. :/

TwilightV

#19

TwilightV said:

I wanna see Kangaroo and (since Working Designs is involved) the Lunar series (VC or Disc). :)

niner

#20

niner said:

Never heard of Mr. Gimmick. Looks like it wasn't released stateside. Anyone played it?

Pastry

#21

Pastry said:

Looks good, I might get this with the 5,000 Wii Points I'll be getting for Christmas.

WanderFan91

#22

WanderFan91 said:

SunSoft's a good company. I loved Kangaroo (back when I still had the MAME32 CD). Arabian's a fun title.
SunSoft is one of the most awesome video game companies there is (of many). :)

Adam

#25

Adam said:

I didn't think this would ever come out. Always did want to play it.

Nintendork

#26

Nintendork said:

Blaster Master may be an awesome addition, but I'm personally hoping for Journey to Silius. :)

JayArr

#27

JayArr said:

Blaster Master! What a great book! ...........uh, yeah......I'm serious.

WanderFan91

#28

WanderFan91 said:

@JR: Book?? :3
I also own Journey to Silius, but I couldn't get far years ago. Perhaps it'll all change now. :)

JayArr

#29

JayArr said:

@Starboy - Yeah, there's a novel based on the game. I read it around 20 times when I was a kid. I can't remember the publisher but they also did Bionic Commando and Ninja Gaiden. I think you can get them for under a dollar off Amazon. :)

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#30

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

About time we got some Sunsoft games. Ufouria is brilliant, hopefully it will come some day. Mr. Gimmick would be awesome, especially since the cart sells for about 200 euro... and that´s just the cart without box.

Link79

#33

Link79 said:

I wonder what this mystery game is that will surprise fans and make them soo happy? Could it be NES Batman or something totally unexpected? I'm not too familiar with Sunsoft's games. I actually missed Blaster master when it originally came out. Guess I didn't even try it back then. After hearing all the praise I just might be getting it on VC.

The_Ink_Pit_Ox

#39

The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

Maybe we can get some superheroes, Looney Tunes, and Lemmings?

Of course, they've already omitted Spider-Man and Batman from one game. :(

MasterGraveheart

#40

MasterGraveheart said:

...You know, I like to think I haven't ruffled any feathers here. I like to think that, being amongst my kind of people that we could all get along nice and happy-like.

...but WHAT is WRONG with you guys? You call yourself gamers and you don't remember Blaster Master?! This game was everything old-school gaming could be called old-school gaming! A balls-off-the-wall story, awesome action, diverse game play, what more do you want?

ahem sorry. It just kind of becomes saddening that my gaming heritage is fading into obscurity... :(

Oh yeah, does anybody else hold hope that this could also mean Batman coming to Virtual Console? That would be icing on the cake.

Sunsoft was greatness, especially in the music department. You could do a series of remix albums off of their music alone.

MasterGraveheart

#41

MasterGraveheart said:

Just to clarify my last post, in general, I was just trying to be funny and not offend or invoke the ire of anybody. Sorry if I did.

The_Fox

#42

The_Fox said:

@MasterGraveheart:
Don't worry, I was shocked that people didn't know about Blaster Master also.

Regarding the article I must say that I was never a huge fan of the title, but the more companies aboard the VC the better.

CanisWolfred

#43

CanisWolfred said:

Well, I'm certainly looking forward to it. I saw a pretty extensive video review of it not too long ago, and it looked fantastic!

#44

said:

Sunsoft was a big deal on the late 80s early 90s..but I cannot remember a game I would known from them besides Aero the acrobat..not that it was a good game though.

And never heard of Blaster Master in my life. A lot of people seems to be exicted about it. Oh well, if is good I may check it out why not ^^

Aenaida

#45

Aenaida said:

Even though the only Sunsoft games I've ever played were Chameleon Twist and Batman (neither of which I have clear memories of), I'm rather anxious to see what else Sunsoft and Gaijin Works have in store for the VC. Also I'll definitly be picking up Blaster Master in the future.

ganondwarf16

#48

ganondwarf16 said:

I will admit i've never heard of blaster master before now but it sounds great and this brings the vc one step closer to liscenced games

DarkEdi

#49

DarkEdi said:

wow, sunsoft returns!!! it was one of my most remembered company in snes era along with ocean (i think ocean later became infogrames an later absorb/ed by atari).

deggs

#50

deggs said:

yeah, batman, blaster master and journey of sillius were amazing games... don't remember much else though from sunsoft

Objection

#51

Objection said:

My only exposure is, like JayArr, the Blaster Master novelization I randomly obtained and read a few times.

Porky

#52

Porky said:

@To who say Im wrong for not knowing Master Blaster: I don't play or research old games unless it looks interesting. The only flying-shooting games I like is gradius, sorry.

Travenous

#53

Travenous said:

Just sifting through the list of games they were involved with and there's some good ones for sure:

Aero the Acrobat 1 & 2 (SNES) - excellent action platformers
Albert Odyssey (SNES)
Arabian (Arcade)
Super Arabian (Famicom)
Batman (NES) - I sure hope this comes out, its one of my faves
Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)
Blaster Master (NES) - YESSSSSS!!!!!!! I love this game!
Blaster Master Boy (Game Boy)
Blaster Master 2 (Mega Drive)
Blaster Master: Enemy Below (Game Boy Color)
Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage (SNES)
Chameleon Twist 1 & 2 (N64) I only played the first one, but enjoyed it - a definite sleeper hit!
City Hunter (PC Engine)
Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions (SNES)
Death and Return of Superman (SNES) - this is pretty much the only Superman game that's enjoyable (IMO) it was co-developed with Blizzard and is a level by level beat em up like Streets of Rage and Final Fight.
Fester's Quest (NES) - for those who like the top view parts of Blaster Master will enjoy this title.
Flashback (SNES) - Sunsoft published the title in Japan (US Gold elsewhere, which was acquired by Eidos in 1996, which is now owned by Square Enix so...)
Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors (NEO-GEO)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (NES)
Journey to Silius (AKA Raf World in Japan, NES) -AWESOME GAME!!!
Looney Tunes B-Ball (SNES)
Out Live (PC Engine)
Platoon (NES)
Super Spy Hunter (NES)
Tough Turf (Arcade, Sega also worked on the game) its pretty much a Double Dragon Clone
Waku Waku 7 (Neo-Geo) Fighting game
The Wing of Madoola (Famicom)
Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel (SNES/Mega Drive)

JimLad

#56

JimLad said:

YES YES YES, what a game.
Hard as hell but definately revolutionary for its time.

You drive a tank but can also get out whenever you want and go on foot. Then it shifts to over head as you blast your way through mazes n crap.
If you're a platforming fan, you should check out some videos on youtube.

Sean_Aaron

#57

Sean_Aaron said:

Sunsoft did the Fantasy Zone games on the Sega systems as well, no? Surely people have heard of those?

DrakeStaff

#58

Drake said:

@Sean: They only did Super Fantasy Zone, didn't they? They're the publisher for it on VC as well.

Kevin

#61

Kevin said:

I'd love to see the Batman game on the VC. Another fun and challenging game from sunsoft with an excellent soundtrack.

Bass_X0

#63

Bass_X0 said:

This isn't a direct port of Blaster Master, its updated. There will apparently be easter eggs and other bonuses added to the game for the VC release. No VC game has been altered like this before.

Sean_Aaron

#65

Sean_Aaron said:

@Drake: That's the one I have (great game too); apparently they ported the first two to the NES, but I guess they didn't do the original dev work?

Travenous

#68

Travenous said:

^^ it's wonderful! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKno6qPQEJg

Area 3 was prolly my fave though http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQv0GhjIn2Q&feature=related

So I've been readin on the NeoGAF forums and Vic says the upcoming press release on Friday has nothing to do with the recent Blaster Master announcement - and involves more than one title (and will make old Working Designs fans happy). He also stated there's going to be yet another press release the following friday in regards to furthering the revival of Sunsoft. He's also stating that players will have more incentive to beat Blaster Master this time around (as it was really hard), plus there will be cool promotional things available for those who buy the VC version...

Sean_Aaron

#69

Sean_Aaron said:

Excellent. I always thought name of the game was pretty lame, but I'm happy to check it out on ye olde VC.

Vinsanity

#71

Vinsanity said:

I remember Blaster Master - and I'm looking forward to it hitting the VC, as I barely played it back in the day (my cousin had it, not me) - but what else has Sunsoft made of note? I remember the NES Batman games were theirs until Konami got the license for Batman Returns, and that game was awesome. But other than that, I only remember Sunsoft for being the licensor of Looney Tunes, and thus producing some horrible licensed tie-ins like Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle.

They have any other awesome original games? Well, technically Batman WAS an original game; they just slapped the license onto a ninja game and knocked out some new sprites to replace the hero with Batman and the last boss with the Joker. Besides those two though?

Vinsanity

#72

Vinsanity said:

Oh man, they did Aero the Acrobat? The second Aero was actually really fun if memory serves correctly, and the spinoff (Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel) was , though probably not very PC these days:) Hope that shows up on the VC in 2010, especially since Iguana ain't around anymore - can't believe that game wasn't developed by Japanese, and by the future makers of Turok no less. Thank you Wikipedia:)

If anyone else wants to know what Sunsoft did back in the day:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_released_by_Sunsoft

Travenous

#74

Travenous said:

^^ Nice!!! I won't be able to get the game until I get back from Mexico... I've got exactly 500 Wii points on my account so... :D

So it turns out I (and prolly nobody else) had no idea what Sunsoft's big announcement was for this week. But here it is... Sunsoft acquires entire Nihon Telenet software library, more VC games coming!!

http://gonintendo.com/viewstory.php?id=107353

Travenous

#75

Travenous said:

...and keep in mind that there's supposed to be another Sunsoft announcement next week... passes out from too much awesome

Kenji

#76

Kenji said:

In the topdown stages, I could never see around the hero's head. Too big!

BlueFlameBat

#77

BlueFlameBat said:

Tries not to have any hopes for Batman the video game for NES and fails miserably.

I know it's a license issue, but ... damn, that game is good!! I have a hard copy on my NES but that doesn't let me stop and continue whenever I please and playing it on an emulator makes me feel like a cheap whore.

JDesensitized

#78

JDesensitized said:

Man, Journey To Silius, Gimmick! (Vic should know about the soundtrack issue between the JP version and the PAL one), and Ufouria possibly coming to the VC would be the best thing ever.

If there was a way to get their great licensed games too, that would rock.

But Blaster Master is a perfect start. :)

Rapadash6

#79

Rapadash6 said:

Of all the classic Sunsoft games, Blaster Master is my favorite, so I'm thrilled they are starting with that one. Journey to Silius has a great reputation but I've honestly never played it, so I'll have to try that one when it's eventually released as well.

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