We rather liked Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure here at Nintendo Life, which has made the apparently underwhelming sales in Europe a particular disappointment. The title is set for release in North America on 10th July, however, and producer Shun Nakamura — who worked on Samba De Amigo on Dreamcast — has been talking about the motivations behind the project.
In his interview with 1up.com, Nakamura emphasized that Rhythm Thief's objectives are to provide enjoyable and varied activities alongside an immersive plot.
What I wanted to accomplish is the blending of rhythm and narrative. Standard rhythm games don't have such backbone and the core fun factors are to groove and simply enjoy the music. I liked being able to a different level of fun there.
For example, by matching up the music with a particular scene in a movie, it helps people get into the story. In the same way, I thought we could create a game that gets players deeply into it, while also incorporating fun [and] expanding on a usual rhythm game by offering specific gameplay with specialized music for each scene.
My other objective was to break away from standard rhythm games. Most rhythm games offer different songs with a single mechanic which is very simple. However, this game offers a variety of controls and gameplay mechanics which match the scene of the story. I thought I could create a wide variety in the game which would excite players.
...In fact, my personal feeling is that the Bemani style has reached its limit and users feel that way too. As I mentioned before, I created a similar game about 10 years ago and I felt that creators ran out of fresh ideas to grow the genre and as a result, users have grown tired.
The approach we are taking now, of adding in plot, is my way of reviving music games. In this new method, I believe old-fashioned music games and Bemani style have a place to live.
If you like quirky fun and are a fan of rhythm-based titles such as Elite Beat Agents, then this one should be on your radar: you can also check out our Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure review for more details.