Factor 5 is a studio with a long and proud history of technological achievement; it was founded in the super-competitive "demo scene" era of the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, and went as far as to create its own development hardware for the SNES and Mega Drive / Genesis in order to gain traction in that sector of the industry. Later, Factor 5 would work closely with Nintendo on its GameCube and Wii consoles, as well as producing technically stunning titles like Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.
We got the opportunity to talk with Factor 5 co-founder Julian Eggebrecht recently, and the topic of the company's superb port of Contra 3 / Super Probtector for the Game Boy cropped up. According to Eggebrecht, this was just one of several pitches his studio made to Konami - another was to port Super Castlevania IV to the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis, with Mode 7-style effects replicated entirely in software:
We did recreate one of the SNES Castlevania 4 levels, or at least part of one, that used Mode 7 in one part. I vaguely remember it might have been the huge swinging chandelier bit. They were quite impressed but Konami Osaka at the time decided to get into Genesis game creation in a bigger way and pulled all Genesis work internal.
The Game Boy work ended up being a lot of fun, though. It was so tough and constrained but that made us double-motivated.
Eggebrecht also expanded on Factor 5's Bomberman demo for the Genesis, which allowed for up to 8 players. Hudson instead commissioned Westone to port Bomberman '94 from PC Engine to the console instead:
We also did a fully playable 8-player Bomberman demo for Hudson Soft on Genesis, using two 4-Player multi-taps. Unfortunately Hudson [ported] the mediocre Bomberman '94 from the PC Engine to Genesis 1:1. But we did end up making BC Kid for them on the Amiga.
Another revelation is that Factor 5 also ported its SNES title Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures to Sega's console; again, all of the Mode 7 effects were present and correct:
We did a 1:1 port of Indiana Jones to the Genesis that was not released due to US Gold, who was financing it for LucasArts, going out of business. We were pretty proud that all the Mode 7 and transparency effects made it on the Genesis.
Eggebrecht is one of the many developers to be featured in the forthcoming SNES / Super Famicom: A Visual Compendium, which launches later this year.