When Masato Maegawa departed Konami in 1993, he co-founded Treasure – a Japanese company that became known for its classic action-style and shoot ‘em up games. Starting out with Gunstar Heroes and eventually moving onto projects like Sin and Punishment years later, the newest arrival is the re-release of Ikaruga on the Nintendo Switch.
Now, in a recent interview with GamesBeat, Masato Maegawa has discussed a range of topics linked to Treasure’s decision-making and development processes. When asked if the company would consider making a sequel for any of its titles, Maegawa explained it was a difficult decision to make:
We’ve considered various sequels, but the wall is high. For instance, Gunstar Heroes is known for Seven Force, a boss that can transform into seven unique forms, but that wouldn’t have much impact if we were to create something similar to that in a modern sequel. At the time, it had a lot of impact because it featured a large-scale boss that was lively and moving around on game hardware with limited functionality. Now, the hardware is much more advanced, so that sort of thing wouldn’t make as big of an impression. We don’t have a strict policy of not creating sequels, but it’s a difficult decision to make.
Maegawa was also queried about why shoot ‘em up games are still so popular, saying it was the passionate fans that sustained the popularity of these titles. He went on to note how the gap between casual and core users had widened, so the genre was unlikely to make a resurgence any time soon.
We could possibly increase the fanbase if we completely separated the Easy Mode by changing up the pattern construction and adjusting it to a difficulty where anyone can clear the game. This change could appeal to many newer users, while still showing them the real fun of shooting games. That said, we believe that this is a genre where it’s important for us to keep our core users in mind first.
The final question was about Treasure’s future. Maegawa was unable to provide any specific details, but did reveal the developer would continue to focus on more nostalgic experiences:
We can’t provide any details, but thankfully we are fortunate enough to receive offers from various companies even now. We don’t have plans to introduce new social games or VR games to our fans; we think we should leave those to companies who are good at those genres. We believe it’s best for us to continue making nostalgic game experiences, just like the way we’ve been making them up until now.
While we’re on the subject of Treasure, be sure to check out our interview with the founder and president of Nicalis (the American company responsible for publishing Ikaruga on the Switch).