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Thread: 1UP Interview with Treasure about 360 and other projects

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    Default 1UP Interview with Treasure about 360 and other projects

    Treasure Talks 360, Wii, and PS3
    We interview Treasure about its plans for the next generation.
    By Sam Kennedy, 01/04/2007

    Every so often we like to check in with Treasure, the small Japanese game developer known for creating some of gaming's cult favorites, like Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, Ikaruga, and the recently-released (on Virtual Console) Gunstar Heroes. (For more on the developer and its games, check out this 1UP feature). Treasure's been known to support whichever platform suits it, bucking popular trends, and put that hardware to use in unexpected ways. With that in mind, and the next generation of gaming now fully underway, we decided it was once again time to sit down with Treasure president Masato Maegawa to discuss the studio's plans.

    1UP: We've just seen the official transition to the next generation of consoles. What does that mean for Treasure?

    Masato Maegawa: At this point, we're hard at work on our Xbox 360 title. But in general, as the hardware gets more advanced it requires a lot more effort to create games. Once everyone gets more used to the systems there are going to be a lot more interesting titles. The tricky part is that there's almost limitless power at your disposal now, so it's difficult to find a point that you want to stop and say you're satisfied with what you've achieved.

    1UP: Treasure has made interesting choices in terms of which consoles it has supported in the past. For instance, Treasure put emphasis on the N64 when a lot of the development community shifted to the PS1 because of ease of development or to reduce costs. Why have you decided to develop for the Xbox 360?

    MM: Treasure supported N64 because the team wanted to work on the system. I always listen to the team and they basically chose the N64 because they thought it would be easiest for them to create games on. That was the same reason we decided to work on the Xbox 360. When we create games, we don't necessarily think about which platforms are going to have the highest installed base, we think about which platforms are going to be easiest to make games on - or more specifically, our games on.


    1UP: So when will we finally see your 360 project?

    MM: I can't talk much about it yet, but I will say that it's an original shooting title and that it won't be released for a while. I hope we can start showing and talking about it soon, though.

    1UP: A lot of Treasure fans are wondering if the game will be in the style of Radiant Silvergun or Ikaruga. Can you comment on that?

    MM: It's actually still early enough in the project that we don't yet know how similar it will be to those games. I'm thinking we'll probably want to go in a bit of a new direction now, though.

    1UP: But it's at least still a top-down shooter, right?

    MM: Yeah. We'll use really great 3D graphics but it will retain the 2D gameplay people love.

    1UP: So is this the same team that did Ikaruga?

    MM: Yes, the same director and team.

    1UP: So would you consider it a new game in Radiant Silvergun "series"? Even though Ikaruga wasn't technically a sequel to Radiant Silvergun, it was the spiritual successor.

    MM: I would say no, actually. I know what you mean about Ikaruga being a spiritual successor and I would have to say that this game is totally different.

    1UP: Is Microsoft publishing the game?

    MM: That is still to be decided, but they would be our first choice to publish it.

    1UP: Are they at least helping with the game's development, financially or otherwise?

    MM: It's actually too early for those sorts of discussions with them - we haven't even shown them the working demo yet - so right now we're doing everything on our own.

    1UP: So in terms of developing on Xbox 360, who approached who first? Did Microsoft come to you and say they would like you to work on their platform or did you approach them?

    MM: Microsoft approached us and were very keen to work with us, and later we showed them a concept that they were very excited about.

    1UP: Will it be a retail game or are you thinking it could be a downloadable title?

    MM: I can't really say since we still need to figure out the business strategy with the publisher, but we're definitely thinking of this being a retail title. We actually want to do something else for Live Arcade, too. Personally, I'm really interested in Live Arcade, and I really want to do something for it - but it depends on whether it'll make sense to do another completely original project just for that.

    1UP: Speaking of online services, Gunstar Heroes recently released on the Virtual Console. Are we going to see more Treasure titles on there soon?

    MM: There are four of our Genesis titles that are legally OK to release on the Virtual Console now, so it's probably just a matter of time. We're also considering putting them on Live Arcade.

    1UP: So when are we going to see Sin & Punishment?

    MM: Ah yes, it was on the Virtual Console list that Nintendo released a while back. They are planning to put it out on VC at some point, but it's probably going to be a while still. It's really up to Nintendo in terms of how they want to stagger things out - they could probably put 1,000 games on there tomorrow if they wanted, but obviously they don't want to do that.

    1UP: On one hand it's great to see all these games coming out on Virtual Console, on the other we're bummed that a lot of the Treasure games we've collected might not be as rare anymore.

    MM: That's actually one of our concerns as well. Introducing the games to new players is of course great for us and for the industry, but the people that are most important to us are those who have bought our titles over the years - the ones who have been loyal to our stuff all along. We've actually had conversations internally about whether this is disrespectful to our hardcore fans, but hopefully people don't see it that way.

    1UP: When you look at the next gen, particularly on the PS3, games are increasingly requiring more people and bigger budgets - it's not uncommon to see teams of 200 people and 20 million dollar budgets. Is there a place for Treasure on the PS3?

    MM: Of course we won't be able to release anything on the scale of, say, Final Fantasy XIII - we don't want to shoot for that - but we will try very hard to make our titles look really good and excel in other ways.

    1UP: So will you eventually do a PS3 title, you think?

    MM: It's not like we don't want to, but right now we only have two or three teams to work on projects and I'm not sure when they'd be able to get to it. Then there's the learning curve with the system - the team working on Xbox 360 will likely stick with Xbox 360 for future titles since they've already become familiar with it. Maybe in the future we'll be able to, though.

    1UP: But does the processing power of the PS3 appeal to you? Treasure has traditionally been good about exploiting hardware.

    MM: With the next generation systems it's going to be really hard to do, and to be honest, games are all going to start looking very good. Now it's really going to be just about the gameplay.

    1UP: How about Nintendo? Treasure has traditionally been very supportive of Nintendo platforms, so we're wondering if you have plans for the Wii.

    MM: We love the Wii and want to work on it in the future, but right now we've got our hands full with the 360 and DS. It's just a matter of freeing up people in order to create a team to work on it. But absolutely, in the future, we'll make a Wii game. We've already been in discussions with Nintendo about it. We're just brainstorming right now, but I am already certain we'll be able to do something really unique with it.

    1UP: So your "shooter" team is busy with the Xbox 360 shooter, but one other gameplay style that Treasure has been known for is the action-platformer. Do you have a team working on such a game for the new consoles?

    MM: The "action" team are eager to do new games in the style of their previous titles on the new consoles, yeah.

    1UP: So are they working on such a game now?

    MM: That, I'm unfortunately not able to talk about yet.

    1UP: Perhaps related, Sega is currently hot on revisiting a lot of its classic franchises on next-gen (such as After Burner, Golden Axe, and so on). Are they coming to you to work on new next-gen versions of games you did for them in the past, such as Guardian Heroes or Gunstar Heroes?

    MM: We've had discussions, and I personally would want to do some games in those series on the new consoles, but the team doesn't seem too interested in it. I've been pitching them on ideas here and there, but they would rather work on new titles. Sequels have certain expectations attached to them and they'd rather not be limited by those.

    1UP: That's rather rare to hear in this industry. So, we have to ask, are you content with where Treasure is or do you have bigger aspirations for the future?

    MM: Honestly, my vision and the company's vision is to have the team working on games that they enjoy and feel passionate about. That is our sole vision. It's not what I want to do, it's what the team wants to do. As long as we feel like we're making good games and we can stay in business, we're happy.

    ~ 1UP
    I love Treasure, especially some of their work on the Genesis. They are one company that consistantly creates unique, new and original titles and excels in both gameplay and graphics.

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    This interview makes me want a 360 even more now. Hell, Treasure's on it! That's always good. Well, except with the PS2. But it'll be a new SHMUP!

    I was also unaware that Sin & Punishment was going to be a Virtual Console release. Let's just hope it actually hits the US.
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    The most impressive point of that interview to me was the direction of the company. The "We don't need the best grafics, just good enough graphics with great gameplay" direction makes me like Treasure even more. Sure, they're out to make money, hense the easiest machine to develop for, but they also want to try new things(like the wii) and they seem to care a lot about what their loyal supporters have to say as opposed to just slapping Raidiant Silvergun 2 on a game case and trying for a money grab. Here's a company that just likes to make good games and survive doing it.

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    Anything that Treasure decides to put on Xbox Live Arcade, is solid gold to me.
    These cartridges are dirty as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

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    On a related note, there is also an interesting interview by GameInformer with John Carmack and Todd Hollenshead. On page 3 they talk about developing for the XBox360 and PS3 and compare the two systems from a developers perspective.

    Link:
    http://www.gameinformer.com/NR/exere...f232577fd7.htm

    I read in the last 12months lots of interviews with developers about upcoming projects, and almost in every interview the 360 was given priority (which is important but not decisive since some developers complained about the complicated architecture of the PS2 as well in 2001).

    Interesting that the Wii seems to play always third fiddle. Everyone says euphemistically it is interesting and a game will be developed for it -- but not right now, sometime in the near future.
    Last edited by lendelin; 01-14-2007 at 12:26 PM.

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