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Archive for April, 2015


   
 

3D Fantasy Zone II Classic Contest

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II W

Another SEGA 3D Classic release, another chance at the classic SEGA hoodie. This update centers around 3D Fantasy Zone II, which launched last week for North America and Europe for the Nintendo 3DS.

Classic Contest, Classic Prize

3D Fantasy Zone II Classic Contest

Our prize for all of the 3D Classic Contests is a very special SEGA hoodie. This will not be sold in stores and is your chance to own one of the most sought after SEGA hoodies we’ve made. In contrasting navy blue and grey, the hoodie is 10oz, embroidered, and awesome. Don’t miss out!

How to Enter

For 3D Fantasy Zone II, we’re going along a similar route as our last contest, but making this round specific to the unlocks. As with the last game, 3D Fantasy Zone II allows players to bank coins earned per playthrough. At certain milestones, you’ll unlock new ways to play. Unlock two specific upgrades to earn two different entries into the contest. We highly recommend checking out Link Loop Land to earn some coins – good luck!

Challenge #1: Play and earn 300,000 coins to unlock the first upgrade.

Challenge #2: Play and earn 1,200,000 coins to unlock the third upgrade.

Then email a photo of your screen beating each of the challenges and submit it to Sega3DClassics@sega.com with the subject, “SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes – 3D Fantasy Zone II.” In the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth. Easy!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. See Official Rules at http://blogs.sega.com/?p=20850 for FREE entry. Open to legal residents of the United States, D.C. and any member state within the E.U. excluding residents of U.S. territories, possessions and overseas military installations, 13 years of age or older. Ends 4/30/15 at 11:59:59 PM PT.

Classic Official Rules

Sega of America, Inc.
SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes Series
4th Classic: 3D Fantasy Zone II
Official Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
See Section (3) of these Official Rules for FREE method of entry by email.

(1) Description – Sega of America, Inc. (the “Sponsor”) is offering “SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes Series” (the “Classic Promotion Series”). The Classic Promotion Series consist of (8) separate sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”). In all Sweepstakes in the Classic Promotion Series winners will be determined and prizes awarded on the basis of random selection from eligible entrants. The 3D Fantasy Zone II Sweepstakes (“Promotion”) begins at 12:00:01 AM Pacific Time (“PT”) on April 20th, 2015 and ends at 11:59:59 PM PT on April 30th, 2015 (“Sweepstakes Period”).

By participating in the Promotion, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. By participating in the Promotion, participants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Facebook and Promotion Entities (defined below) from any and all damages whether direct or indirect, which may be due to or arise out of participation in the Promotion or any portion thereof, or the acceptance, use/misuse or possession of prizes provided for or in connection with the Promotion. Further, the Promotion Entities do not make any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the use of any prize, including, without limitation, quality, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. Further, no responsibilities are accepted by Sponsor or any other Promotion Entities for any additional expenses, omissions, delays, re-routing, or acts of any government or authority.

(2) Eligibility – The Promotion is open only to legal residents of the United States, the District of Columbia and any member state within the European Union who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at time of entry and individuals between the ages of thirteen (13) and seventeen (17) who have the permission to enter of a parent or legal guardian who agrees to be bound by these Official Rules.

Employees, officers and directors of the Sponsor, its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions, advertising, promotional, fulfillment and marketing agencies (collectively “Promotion Entities”), their immediate families (parent, child, sibling & spouse) and persons living in the same households of such individuals (whether related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Promotion.

Void in Puerto Rico, all other U.S. territories and possessions, overseas military installations, and where prohibited by law, rule or regulation. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

(3) How to Enter – There are two (2) ways to enter:

Via Game Purchase and Game Play –
• Purchase and play 3D Fantasy Zone II. Earn three hundred thousand (300,000) coins, unlock the first upgrade and take a photo of your score, (your “First Upgrade Picture”). To receive one (1) entry send an email to Sega3DClassics@sega.com, attach your First Upgrade Picture to the email, enter “First Upgrade Entry” in the subject line and in the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth.

• Continue game play to earn one million 200 hundred thousand (1,200,000) coins, unlock the third upgrade and take a photo of your score (your “Third Upgrade Picture”). To receive one (1) additional entry send an email to Sega3DClassics@sega.com, attach your Million Coin Picture to the email, enter “Third Upgrade Entry ” in the subject line and in the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth.

FREE Entry by email –
To enter without a game purchase and game play, to receive one (1) entry send an email send an email to Sega3DClassics@sega.com, enter “SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes – 3D Fantasy Zone II” in the subject line and in the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth.

There is a limit of two (2) entries per person regardless of entry method and a limit of one (1) prize per person for the entire Classic Promotion Series.

Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated number of entries by using multiple/different/duplicitous e-mail addresses, the use of a sweepstakes service, the use of multiple identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods will void that entrant’s entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Entries that are incomplete, late, or contain irregular or invalid information, or are corrupted are void and will not be accepted.

(4) Data Collection – Sponsor collects personal information from you when you enter the Promotion. By entering the Promotion, you agree to all of the terms and conditions of Sponsor’s Privacy Policy. For information about how personal information may be used, see Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, which is available at http://www.sega.com/legal/privacy.php

(5) Prizes
– Ten (10) winners will each receive a Sega branded sweatshirt, approximate retail value (“ARV”) is thirty U.S. dollars ($30).

There are a total of ten (10) prizes, with a total ARV of all prizes of three hundred U.S. dollars ($300). The odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received.

(6) Prize Awarding – Winners will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries conducted by Sponsor on or about July 2, 2015. Potential winners will be contacted within one (1) business day of the drawing by the e-mail address associated with their entry (“Prize Notification”) and provided with a Prize Claim Document (“PCD”), which must be returned to Sponsor within five (5) days of the Prize Notification. If any potential winner is between the ages of thirteen (13) and seventeen (17), his/her parent or legal guardian must complete the PCD with his/her information and accept the prize on behalf of their minor. Non-compliance with any of these requirements and/or the return of Prize Notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification, winner’s forfeiture of the prize and (at Sponsor’s sole discretion), and the selection of an alternate winner. Any unclaimed prizes will not be awarded.

Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to use winner’s name for advertising and promotional purposes as Sponsor so determines without notice or further compensation, except where prohibited by law. Prize recipient shall not be permitted to (a) replace his/her designated prize with another prize or item, (b) transfer or assign his/her designated prize to another person, or (c) substitute any prize or prize component for cash. In the event of unavailability, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All federal, state, local, and other taxes on prizes, (including any applicable import taxes on prizes) are the sole responsibility of the person accepting the prize.

(7) General – All decisions of the Sponsor in any matter relating to this Promotion shall be binding and final. If there are fewer eligible entries than the number of available prizes, any unclaimed prizes will not be awarded. Sponsor is not responsible for technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware, software, or web site. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, interrupted or unavailable network server or other connections, miscommunications, failed telephone or computer or telephone transmissions or technical failure, jumbled, scrambled or misdirected transmissions, late, lost or mis-directed mail, for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, howsoever caused, or other error of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic. Entrants found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Promotion, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified. If disqualified for any of the above abuses, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate entrant’s eligibility to participate in the Promotion. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion may be in violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Sponsor reserves the right to terminate, cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion if any fraud, virus or other technical problem corrupts the administration, security, or proper play of the Promotion, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. In such event, Sponsor reserves the right to select winners and award prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Promotion and the rights and obligations of Sponsor and entrants will be governed by and controlled by the laws of the state of California, applicable to contracts made and performed therein without reference to the applicable choice of law provisions. All actions, proceedings or litigation relating hereto will be instituted and prosecuted, without resort to any form of class action, solely within the state courts of California located in San Francisco, California and federal courts located within such state and county with respect to any action, dispute or other matter pertaining to or arising out of the Promotion. In the event any provision of these Official Rules will be held to be unenforceable, these Official Rules will continue in full force and effect without such provision.

(8) Winner Information – Winners will be announced at http://blogs.sega.com on or about July 15, 2015.

Sega of America, Inc.
350 Rhode Island Street, STE 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

© SEGA. ALL rights reserved. SEGA is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. SEGA, the SEGA logo, and 3D Fantasy Zone II are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation.

 
   
   
 

3D Fantasy Zone II W Soars today for Nintendo 3DS

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

3D Fantasy Zone II W, is available today to download in the Nintendo eShop!

YouTube Preview Image

3D Fantasy Zone II W is the popular side-scrolling shooter, first released for the SEGA Master System in 1987 as a sequel to 1986’s Fantasy Zone, in which players control a sentient spaceship named Opa-Opa to fight bizarre invader enemies. The re-mastered version upgrades all visuals from 8 bit to 16 bit graphic standards and combines stereoscopic 3D effects with a host of additional features to deliver cutting edge gameplay experience with a classic feel. Additional features include:, the ability to save games for later review, a Stage Select feature that allows players to save and resume progress mid-game, and adjustable difficulty settings. Further, this game allows the player to experience two games in one, the re-mastered master system version of story mode “Tears of Opa Opa” and an all new Endless Game Mode that takes place in the mysterious “Link Loop Land”, which condenses the all of the fun features of the shooter.

3D Fantasy Zone Developer Interviews

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

Learn more about 3D Fantasy Zone II straight from the developer! Our blog series looks at the history of 3D Fantasy Zone II while looking at the technical challenges for bringing the game to 3D, porting the game to and from the original arcade board, and developing the all new Link Loop Land mode. If you love the game and want to learn a bit more about how it came together, these are for you!

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2

 
   
   
 

April Showers Bring Downloadable Content for Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd

All new updates are headed your way in Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd! The first update is available today and our next release is available in two weeks. Enjoy!

April 15th Update – New Rhythm Game Songs

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates
When First Love Ends by ryo

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates
Marginal by OSTER project

April 15th Update – New Costume Modules

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates
“Powder” designed by Ichikai Hano

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates
“Ha2une Miku”, a back to school themed costume

April 28th Update – New Costume Modules

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates

Swimwear Costume Modules for Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, Megurine Luka, Kaito, Meiko, Akita Neru, Yowane Haku, Sakine Meiko, and Kasane Teto. Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin, Megurine Luka, Kaito and Meiko’s Swimwear Costume Modules will each come with and additional tanned version of the Module.

All Swimwear Costume Modules are available individually or can be purchased as part of either the Swimwear Bundle, or the Extra Character Swimwear Bundle.

April 28th Update – New Skins

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - April Updates

Both skins available for free for the first 39 days after release.

Costume and Song Club

For fans who want to own every piece of content, SEGA has two great sales initiatives; the Costume Club and Song Club, both of which offer more than 25% savings and are available for purchase now on PlayStation Network. All Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd downloadable content is cross-buy enabled, meaning that content purchased on either platform functions on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, and can be purchased individually on PlayStation Network.

Have a favorite update? Looking forward to anything in particular? Let us know in the comments!

 
   
   
 

SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Fantasy Zone II Interview – Part 2

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

We continue our look at 3D Fantasy Zone with the addition of an all new mode of play and an all new track from Manabu Namiki. If you missed yesterday’s update, be sure to catch up on part 1!

Very exciting stuff, we can’t wait to hear what you think. Enjoy!

Link Loop Land: Fantasy Zone boiled down to a dense, time-driven soup. Yummy.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

Yosuke Okunari (below YO): The reason we call this one “W,” or double, is because it’s actually got a whole other game in it called Link Loop Land, which I’d like to talk about.

This new game is M2’s answer to my request to go wild and do what they wanted to, rather than just do a port.

Naoki Horii (below NH): The idea was not to go back and add something to The Tears of Opa-Opa, which we were happy and done with, but instead to make something totally fresh.

YO: When we had decided to go and release Fantasy Zone in batch 2 with the first and second titles separate, since the games were very similar, we wanted to make sure there was something differentiating them.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

For Opa-Opa Bros., which we worked on first, we added on the Mark III version’s bosses, and added the different play style that was Upa-Upa Mode. Those were our Grantanoffs for that game. But if we approached Fantasy Zone II with the basic same concepts, it would be really hard to make them that different, and we didn’t want to be predictable. So for Fantasy Zone II, we decided to go with a completely different Grantanoff concept.

Put another way, we figured that fans would be happy with Opa-Opa Bros. since we added bosses and Upa-Upa Mode. But for the remake of Fantasy Zone II, at the end of the day it’s just one game, and in comparison to the first game, we knew people wouldn’t think it was enough.

NH: Okunari-san talks this way all the time! Really. (all laugh) “The schedule is the most important thing for me, but the users have needs!”

YO: So I said, “What do you think we should do?” And the result of these discussions was one idea: Let’s make a score attack game. And now there is an Endless Mode called Link Loop Land.

In the previous game, Upa-Upa took the main stage in an unprecedented way, so if we were going to put out Fantasy Zone II, I knew everyone would want to see him brought back. And so for this Endless Mode, he’s back as the main protagonist.

Fantasy Zone II: Link Loop Land Prologue

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

Ten years after the battle with Menon forces, a new planet is discovered in the Fantasy Zone.
While a dangerous world, it rewarded intrepid explorers with riches beyond belief, inviting a gold rush.
Upa-Upa, hearing of this, takes flight to this new planet known as the Endless Zone!
“I’ve got to pay off my debts…”

– He’s in debt again!? (laughs)

YO: There’s lots of people who are wondering what happened in between I and II, after Opa-Opa meets his father and learns where he has been, and what happened after Upa-Upa Mode’s ending.

NH: Yes, lots… (laughs)

YO: This is a bit of a spoiler for the Upa-Upa Mode ending, but Upa-Upa ends up in massive debt, (all laugh), so we figured he’ll need to work to pay it back. And so Endless Mode continues on with this storyline… (laughs)

NH: I think SEGA is a really forgiving company!

– Financial ruin, huh? So he didn’t just lose all the money he had.

YO: Well, it wasn’t his money in the first place. (laughs)

– Oh, right. He spent someone else’s money, and now has to pay it all back. That’s pretty good.

YO: And so now we have a reason for him to set out on a new journey. (laughs)

– This is really similar to Hero Bank (laughs).

YO: Well, Hero Bank was done by the same dev group (laughs). Anyway, this story is the basis by which he takes the stage again.

NH: Even though we wanted to make another game, schedule-wise we didn’t have enough time to make anything big. Since we went through the effort of fleshing him out as a character in the first game, we felt we should make a game for him.

The guy in charge of making this game is a programmer by the name of Yamanaka, who also worked on the System-16 remake itself, as well as Contra: ReBirth and Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. Yamanaka loves games like Geometry Wars, which get harder and harder and require the player to cope with it. He apparently wanted to do that with Fantasy Zone.

At first, there are only bases floating in the air and there aren’t that many enemies. But as you keep playing, the bases keep appearing and one base could be made of four bases. They tried a lot of stuff.

– I’ve played it myself, and now that you mention Geometry Wars, I feel like I get it better now.

NH: And so the result is just non-stop. They narrowed in on the specs, saying “Sorry Warps, but you gotta go!” And these kinds of games where you die instantly can be really stressful, so there has to be some kind of relief sometimes, so there are Repairers and enemies that function like bombs. It’s built so you can keep up with a skyrocketing level of difficulty.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
More types of enemies, including ones that explode when killed. The LINK Gauge at the top increases as you collect coins and falls as time passes. Keep your link going by picking up coins, and when it fills, your score multiplier increases!

YO: Fantasy Zone is a rather straightforward shooting game, but that’s because it was built in the 1980s. But we are conscious of the fact that shooting games post-2000 have lots of enemies and bullets flying around, and we wanted to see what that would be like.

– But, the fact that Fantasy Zone II had warps was one of the reasons for its replayablilty, but from the point of view of a portable game, a score attack mode that lets you pick up and play quick in short bursts is a very good fit as well.

YO: You’re exactly right. The Tears of Opa-Opa is a game that requires a lot of thought when you first start playing it, so we wanted to do something that was more fitting for a portable game. Something like the Caravan Modes common in Hudson’s shooting games. But we settled on a design where it was endless rather than having them end after a time limit.

NH: Something that would get your blood pumping in small gameplay spurts, something you could do on the train. Though it could be something that you would sit at home and try to break your own score, and that would be fine, too.

– It adds something new to the Fantasy Zone series gameplay. If you just fly around haphazardly, you’ll end up running into the enemy bases, just like the original, but it’s a very different feeling. Since you can freely make the game how you want, you can do this sort of mode as well.

NH: You could say that this is a very thick, dense version of Fantasy Zone, but that density makes it very different from Fantasy Zone.

– Even so, it doesn’t feel unnatural at all. It’s very easy to play.

NH: That might be because you played I and II, and then tried this one.

YO: And since the gameplay was so different, we decided to make it its own game. Koga-san* came up with the name—Link Loop Land.

* Keisuke Koga, game designer at M2, worked on the System-16 remake and Opa-Opa Bros.

NH: I was a little concerned that the title didn’t have “Combo” or “Chain” in it anywhere, but Koga really likes NiGHTS, so…

– Oh! OK, I get it! It’s got Link and then Loop. Right! (laughs)

NH: That totally few over my head, I’m sorry to admit. (laughs) I even said, “Is this… NiGHTS?” in the middle of a meeting.

YO: There was apparently a standing order that the words “combo” and “chain” we not allowed.

– So that’s how the Link Gauge got its name.

NH: Koga said, “When we are done with this project, let’s do a 3D version of NiGHTS.” To which I said, “Not possible!”

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
When you take a hit with your main weapon equipped, you won’t die but you drop the weapon. Touch Repairers to bring it back, but that’s not all they do. If you leave the Repairer on screen for short time, it will change to a Fever Balloon. Collecting it will put you into Fever Time, giving you a 12 WAY SHOT for a limited time!

– It’s a Saturn game. (laughs) Right right. “Link Gauge”… I like it. Having it as a gauge makes it easier to see how everything is connected, rather than showing everything with just numbers.

YO: Just like NiGHTS, you need to defeat the next enemy before your link is broken.

NH: It makes me wonder how many people who will play this mode will actually draw the comparison with NiGHTS. We didn’t even notice it ourselves. Though if you read this interview first, that’s sort of cheating.

YO: Going back to when we were talking about The Tears of Opa-Opa and how lowering the difficulty will cause the coins to get sucked into you, that’s the standard way Link Loop Land works, so it’s easier to keep your link going.

NH: Please give the Score Attack a shot.

YO: When you finish a round of Link Loop Land, it throws your score up on screen, nice and big, so we hope there’s going to be some healthy competition on Miiverse. All you have to do is compare screenshots, though it’s a bit old school that way. (laugh)

And Of Course, a New Song from Manabu Namiki!

YO: Since Link Loop Land is a brand new game, it got its own theme song written for it as well. A new song by Manabu Namiki.

For the System-16 remake of The Tears of Opa-Opa, they followed the System-16 specs and used the same sound bank and sound drivers from the arcade version of Fantasy Zone, and of course Link Loop Land follows the same rules. But in addition to that, similar to Space Harrier’s main theme, it’s a rather long song that changes during boss battles and when you defeat the boss, it goes back to being the normal theme.

NH: We had bigger plans back when we were planning it out, but in the end this is what we came up with. Namiki provided us with a comment that also goes back to the 2008 remake.

Manabu Namiki’s Comment

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

When Fantasy Zone released into arcades back in 1986, it was one-of-a-kind with its vivid colors, gameplay, graphics, and music. The impact that game had on me is still unmatched now in the 21st century. I was in middle school at the time, and we were so absorbed in competing with each other. The eagerly-awaited sequel was released the following year in 1987 on home consoles, and then 21 years later in 2008, a remake project appeared, a System-16 version of Fantasy Zone II, and I got the chance to work on the sound, including the music.

And now, 6 more years later, it is back as 3D Fantasy Zone II W, and again, I’m overseeing and working on the sound. I’d never imagined I’d be able to dig in this much on the sound work of a game I loved so much, you know?

Alright, let’s talk about the sound for this game. First, The Tears of Opa-Opa is just as it was when we released the System-16 version 6 years ago. It remains an homage to the concept of what it would have been like had it been released in ’87 as a System-16 game, nothing added, nothing taken away. That said, usage of FM Sound and its reproduction has made great advancements, and the sound quality was adjusted to take maximum advantage of that, so relax and take time to give everything a listen.

When I was actually working on the sound for the remake in 2008, my approach was, “What if I fell into a time warp and was sent back to 1987, and got assigned to create the sound for the System-16 version of II?” I had to come up with this crazy concept to match the crazy remake project we were working on. I imagined that I’d found myself in a SEGA development room in 1987 and told to work on the sound for II, and Hiro-shishou had come by and given me a PC and the sound source program. And once I completed the work, I’d be able to return to the 21st century. Or at least that’s what I told myself while I was working on it.

And then the new Endless Mode, called Link Loop Land, for which I’ve written a brand new song. So awesome! And of course it’s built to use all of the System-16 version’s sound gear.

Sound Source: FM Sound Source YM2151 @ 4Mhz
CPU: Z80 @ 5Mhz
Program: Modified 1st gen FZ sound program
Sound Bank: 1st gen FZ bank with some sounds taken from SEGA’s Quartet

Everything is in line with these above specs, so it should be playable on the actual System-16 arcade board itself. And since this is all 6 years after my first hack at it, I’d gone and totally forgotten all the ins and outs of how I put things together. I was worried if I’d even be able to pull it off, so I went looking for my backup drives and recovered some folders off them, reviewing files one by one. And slowly it all came back and I was able to do it. Would I be able to do it again 6 years from now? Honestly, I don’t know…

Lastly, the new song itself. Just like when I worked on the System-16 version the first time around, I didn’t want to do something that was a cheap knockoff of the original music. Honestly, I really didn’t want to make something that makes people think, “Yeah, I guess that’s sort of like FZ. I guess it’s okay.” So I retained that same concept, and stayed very conscious of the fact that I wanted to make something that really melds solidly with the game itself.

The above specs and concepts were absolute to me. I didn’t want to get caught up in forms or expected patterns, so I focused on the feeling of excitement when you hear it, and how it should make you want to keep moving forward and play over and over again. I let myself be guided by my formative experiences playing Fantasy Zone in the arcades, and how lucky I was to be able to play a part in creating the next entry in the series. I had to fulfill that duty. This is “♪ENDLESS LOVE,” from me to Endless Mode, Fantasy Zone, SEGA, shooting games, game music, development staff, and all the players out there. I hope you all enjoy it!

The next one is the real finale! (or is it?)

YO: And there you have it. A Fantasy Zone for 3DS with a different concept than 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros., double the fun with two new games. They are both chock-full of fun. The remake version of Fantasy Zone II doesn’t end with simply a port.

NH: Two stories, The Tears of Opa-Opa and Link Loop Land. Two protaganists, Opa-Opa and Upa-Upa, and a story with two branches, Bright and Dark. It’s double no matter how you slice it.

– And with those two games, you have both a Fantasy Zone-like experience as well as something off on its own vector, so while the core game is the same, I feel as if a wide range of shooting game fans can enjoy it. And I mean that for playability as well. There aren’t that many domestically targeted portable shooting games in the vein of Geometry Wars, where enemies just keep coming at you.

NH: We can make adjustments to the programming for difficulty, like when and where enemies appear and how many, so it was pretty easy to make in a short amount of time. It’s hard to do things in a short amount of time if you have to make each stage one by one. If someone told us to make 100 stages, well, that’d be impossible. So in that sense, it was the only way to go about it.

– I see. Was it about half a year for development?

NH: From the very beginning of the project, yes, it was about six months. But if you’re talking about the time from when we had a lot of people jump onto it, it was around when Opa-Opa Bros. was finishing up, I guess? It was a really dense schedule. Like, you’d wonder when we were getting sleep.

YO: We brought back the staff from the original System-16 remake, and had them carry over from the work on Opa-Opa Bros. onto this game.

NH: Though, we did get a head start on the work for Link Loop Land.

– And so you have two “Grantanoffs” this time around, it seems.

NH: Well, the System-16 remake of The Tears of Opa-Opa was sort of a Grantanoff itself in the first place.

YO: And Link Loop Land is an all-new game, so you could say it surpasses Grantanoff status.

– I see.

YO: Actually, at the present time, Fantasy Zone has received the highest praise out of all the Batch 2 games. So this is an appropriate encore for that game.

NH: If we see a ton of copies sell, I’m sure we can make a III.

YO: That’s a dream I’d like to see become a reality…

– Yes, a ton of copies would be very good! (laughs) Alright, let’s wrap up then. So I think everyone is wondering what’s going to happen after this. You touched on this at beginning, but after the big climax after the first 3 titles in Batch 2, with an encore of Fantasy Zone II, are you guys finished with these 4 games?

YO: Yes, it’s been a long time since we started, but the 3D Remaster Project comes to a close with this title…is what I should say, but actually there is one more title that we’ve been holding back. This one is really the last one. Even at a concert after the encore is finished, if the audience is really hyped up then sometimes you can get the performers to squeak out one last song. And this is that song. It’s the true finale.

NH: (gulps)

YO: We’ve actually brought it with us. It’s still in development, but would you like to give it a shot?

– Are you sure? Sure, I’d love to give it a shot— Wh-what… No way!?!?!

TO BE CONTINUED!

We hope you enjoyed the article and are as excited as we are to see Fantasy Zone II release this Thursday. I’m super addicted to Link Loop Land, I’m looking forward to seeing the Miiverse posts of everyone’s best runs.

Of course, there’s other very exciting news in the world of the 3D Classics, the announcement of three Genesis games that will be arriving this summer. Very exciting stuff, we’re loving the feedback that’s been coming through across the internet with the news.

As always, we love reading your feedback about this interview or anything about the 3D Classics, let us know what you think!

 
   
   
 

SEGA’s 3D Classics Return this Summer with SEGA Genesis Games for Nintendo 3DS

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Three more titles are incoming to the second batch of the SEGA 3D Classics exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. Featuring some of the most iconic games from SEGA’s Genesis console, The SEGA 3D Classics Series will let fans relive SEGA’s legendary console era and take them on a 3D ride through gaming’s golden age with 3D Streets of Rage 2 in July, 3D Gunstar Heroes in August, and 3D Sonic The Hedgehog 2 in September 2015. These games will follow the releases of 3D Fantasy Zone II (April 16, 2015) and 3D Thunder Blade (May 14, 2015).

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Streets of Rage 2

Just like the previously released arcade classics, each game in the series delivers a full-fledged re-mastered vintage experience, stunning 3D visuals and optimized for the platform. All games in the series will include brand new modes and features, letting you play the game how you remember it but also in an entirely new way.
All games will be priced at MSRP $5.99/€4.99/£4.49 and will be available for download in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Gunstar Heroes

 
   
   
 

SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Fantasy Zone II Interview – Part 1

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

We once again join Yosuke Okunari and Naoki Horii to talk about the next title in the lineup for the SEGA 3D Classics, 3D Fantasy Zone II.

The Journey Up Until the System-16 Remake of Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
Left: Naoki Horii, President of M2; Right: Yosuke Okunari, Sega Producer

– This is the one that made me think, “Oh, no way, you guys!” Anyway, let’s get started. Thanks again for your time, gentlemen!

Yosuke Okunari (below YO): Our main focus for this second batch of games for the 3D Remaster project was 3D After Burner, 3D Fantasy Zone, and 3D Out Run, three major titles in their own right. And we planned to finish off the series with them and leave it at that. But we got the go ahead to continue along a little further, so we decided to satisfy our own desires and added 3D Fantasy Zone II to the release lineup.

This is what I was talking about in the last interview when I spoke about an encore. You know when you are at a concert, and the artist plays something that wasn’t on the original set list? It’s something they didn’t necessarily plan for. That’s kind of what this is. It’s a bonus song at the end that the fans weren’t necessarily expecting.

– Alright, I see.

YO: So there you go. It’s an “encore” in that sense. We released Fantasy Zone previously, and as far as “remastering” goes, we didn’t go back and “remaster” the original Fantasy Zone II, but rather we worked on the remake we made previously. So it’s like a remastering of relatively newer game, one that’s only 8 years old. It’s a bit of an outlier as far as this project is concerned.

– I wonder how many people actually thought this game was going make the cut.

YO: I imagine there were a few people who had a good hunch about it. Even if it’s outside the norm for the project, there were a couple reasons it was chosen. First, since the first game was released, we thought there would be some people who wanted to play the sequel. Second, the remade version of Fantasy Zone II has never been sold as an individual game, so we hoped a time and place would come along that would allow us to put it out as its own title. Lastly, everything we’ve done for the 3D Remaster Project to date with M2 has been emulation based, but if it was something they’d developed themselves, then the limitations of emulation would be removed and we’d be able to “unleash the beast” that is M2 and let them show us what they can really do with 3D.

Naoki Horii (below NH): Not only are we showing you what we can do, but it’s a compilation of all our techniques to date.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

YO: And this version’s full name is 3D Fantasy Zone II W, with the “W” pronounced as “double.” In Japanese, we often use the letter “W” to mean “double.” What this means is, there is a whole other Fantasy Zone II present in the package.

One is Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa’s System-16 remake, rebuilt for the 3DS. And the other is a completely new game, so you can double your fun.

– I see.

YO: I’d like to start out by talking about the System-16 remake of The Tears of Opa-Opa, which is a bit of a detour. But I do want to take some time to explain how this game came into being.

So this game, Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa, was originally released in 1987 for the Sega Mark III. You see, the previous game’s Mark III port was a huge hit and one of the reasons for the proliferation of the Mark III itself.

The first Fantasy Zone didn’t get an arcade-based sequel, so this was a console-exclusive sequel. At this point, Sega had often remixed arcade games as they ported them to console, but I think this may have been the first time they created the sequel of an arcade game as a console title.

– Now that you mention it, I suppose that was the case.

YO: The development team was different from the original arcade game’s staff, and the game was developed specifically for home consoles with gameplay appropriate for the platform. The game was later ported to the Famicom and the MSX, as well. For a console game, it had a lot of game volume, and the fans at the time really enjoyed it, including myself. But there was one thing I was dissatisfied with—how the game was ported back to the arcades.

NH: The arcade version of The Tears of Opa-Opa ran on the Mark III compatible arcade board known as the System-E*, and was a straight port of the Mark III version, so for us arcade gamers, it was of inferior quality.

* System-E – One of SEGA’s arcade system boards. The CPU was a Z80 with the ability to handle 128 simultaneous sprites. Capable of square wave and noise for sound. It was comprised of similar hardware to a Mark III.

YO: For many fans of the arcade version of Fantasy Zone, the release of a sequel inferior to the original arcade game was just unacceptable. Not only that, some features from the console version were removed for the arcade version.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

NH: So many fans would ask themselves, what if Fantasy Zone II had been built and released on the same System-16 that the first game had? And I, too, was one of those fans.

YO: Twenty years later, I meet M2. The first thing we worked on together was the PS2 version of SEGA AGES 2500 Series Space Harrier II Space Harrier Complete Collection, and on the first day I met Horii-san, we really hit it off with each other talking about how cool it would be to make a true arcade-style version of Space Harrier II, and not just a port. I was really just kidding around, honestly. (laughs)

But Horii-san responds, “Well to do that, it’d basically be as much work as creating a new game from scratch. Considering the budget and schedule for this project, it wouldn’t be possible.” But then he says, “You know, I really would like to try our hand at a System-16 remake of Fantasy Zone II someday.” I agreed that it was a great idea.

NH: From my point of view, I was finding that there was a producer at SEGA who would listen to this crazy dream I had in my youth. It was like a miracle was happening right before my eyes.

YO: Well, when I was younger, I had the same crazy dream, too. And if we’re going to do a remake by putting in the same amount of effort it would take to make a completely new game, rather than do something like Space Harrier II which wasn’t so different from the first game, we thought it would be more interesting to do a remake of Fantasy Zone II. Afterwards, when we released the over ten games in the SEGA AGES 2500 Series, we chose Fantasy Zone Complete Collection to be the final title, and in that title, we were able to realize this idea and give birth to a System-16 version of The Tears of Opa-Opa.

I said to him, “We can finally start work on that idea we had back when we first met,” to which he quickly replied with an “Okay!” But it’s not like Horii-san was going to build this thing by himself, and I heard a lot actually happened behind the scenes. (laughs)

SEGA AGES 2500 Series Vol. 33 Fantasy Zone Complete Collection

Released on September 11, 2008 for the PlayStation 2 as the final game in the SEGA AGES 2500 series. It’s available in Japan as part of the PS2 Archives, downloadable for PS3 and includes the following titles:

Fantasy Zone Arcade Version (System-16) (4 versions total)
Fantasy Zone Sega Mark III Version (OLD/NEW versions)
Fantasy Zone Neo Classic Version (Hidden unlockable)
Fantasy Zone II Remake Version (System-16)
Fantasy Zone II Sega Mark III Version
Fantasy Zone II Arcade Version (System-E)
Fantasy Zone Gear Adventure of Opa-Opa Jr. (Game Gear)
Super Fantasy Zone (Mega Drive)
Opa-Opa Arcade Version (System-E)
Opa-Opa Mark III Version
Fantasy Zone The Maze (Opa-Opa and International Versions)
Galactic Protector Sega Mark III version

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone IISEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa (Sega Mark III ver.)

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone IISEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa (System-E ver.) This is not what’s in the 3DS version.

NH: For me, the fact that it would be designed for the System-16 was really important, so it couldn’t just look like a System-16 game; it had to actually run on a System-16 Board.

When I first told the staff that we were going to make a new game for System-16, their reaction was, “Oh man, the boss is off his rocker again.” So they tried to get me to give up on the idea, saying that they looked into it, but the work area for System-16 was too small for current programming styles, and we wouldn’t be able to make the game fit. If we couldn’t solve this key issue, then it would be impossible. But I visited to some hardware guys in the area to talk to them about it, and they said, “Oh yeah, we can add some memory on to the board there for you.” So I had them add some memory onto a System-16B board. So the team tried to kill it off that way, but now they actually had to follow through with it.

– (laughs)

NH: When I showed the staff this System-16 board with memory added to it, I said, “As I recall there weren’t any obstacles else other than the lack of memory… right?” All they could do was just grit their teeth. Then

I said, “Alright, since this is something we can actually put out, we’re going to do this, right?” “…Yes, sir.”

And thus we went on to make the System-16 remake. We made it so it would actually run on a System-16 board as long as it has memory added to it. It was the birth of the System-16C.

YO: The process basically involved you guys building a PC-based System-16 emulator, and then getting the game running on that, right?

NH: Yes, essentially, we made it on an emulator, but then we’d burn it to a System-16 EPROM and would playtest the game on the board itself.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
The System-16C board that currently lives at M2’s offices. The remake of The Tears of Opa-Opa can actually run on it.

– You put out a demo version that ran on Windows, didn’t you?

NH: Yes, we put out a demo of it that runs on Windows.

YO: When you take something you built on a PC emulator and burn it to a System-16 ROM to check it, there are a lot of framerate issues and other bugs that pop up, so you guys went back and to lighten the load and whatnot…

NH: We made adjustments to the emulator itself as well.

YO: To be more specific, when the screen gets filled up with bullets, the game really slows down. The background music gets all weird as well. Even if it was fine on the PC emulator, they still had to address and fix the bugs that would happen when it was actually running on System-16. At the time, M2 had a System-16 arcade board sitting right there in the middle of their meeting room.

NH: It wasn’t the sort of development studio you’d expect in the 21st century (laughs).

YO: Ultimately, we built the game in those conditions, and put it on the PS2. So it wasn’t necessary to make it work on System-16, strictly speaking. But M2, or rather Horii-san, insisted that it run on System-16.

NH: We wanted it to be as if it were the last System-16 game ever created. Should someone follow in our footsteps with another game, though, more power to them.

– (laughs) Regardless, getting it to run on an actual board was the key concept here.

YO: That’s right. And with that, they were able to include a System-16 remake version of The Tears of Opa-Opa in the PS2 version. It’s a bit convoluted, I suppose. (laughs) I don’t think there’s really that many people who got that excited about it in the same way we did, but even so, it was still a lot of fun to play a remade version of Fantasy Zone II with the visual tastes of that time.

NH: That’s probably just the easiest way to state it. We just wanted the people who played the Mark III or Famicom versions to say, “Whoa! There’s an awesome arcade version !”

– The fact that The Tears of Opa-Opa was released onto the Mark III-compatible System-E was an interesting development at the time as well.

YO: The reason Fantasy Zone was a commercial success was because of the Mark III version, as the arcade version wasn’t actually all that big of a hit.

After the Mark III version of Fantasy Zone II was done, they decided, “We’ve got a new Fantasy Zone game here, so let’s release it in the arcades as well.” Once the Mark III development was complete, the programmer quickly adjusted the specs for the arcade to create the System-E version.

NH: Yes, that’s right. A few things were removed from the Mark III version that would have been problematic in the arcade.

YO: Horii-san and his staff approached the remake from the standpoint of, “What if Fantasy Zone II had been built from the start as an arcade game?” But rather than create something out of thin air, they retained the Mark III’s flavor. It’s sort of an “alternate universe” version, if you will.

It retains the world, characters, and the story, and mixes things up a little to use the distinctive warp system to transition between the bright and dark sides. The new weapons have been adjusted for a distinctly arcade-like flavor. There even multiple endings. This is how a new Fantasy Zone, one with double the volume of the original game, was born.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
Bright Side Shop. It’s wide screen, so the menu is even easier to see, and there is no time limit.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
Dark Side Secret Shop. You have to find it yourself, but it sells rare items.

The Tears of Opa-Opa optimized for 3DS means widescreen and easier gameplay!

– And now we can play that version on the 3DS. So let’s talk about the 3DS version! The way this interview is playing out seems very familiar, but anyway…

YO: When we decided to port The Tears of Opa-Opa to 3DS as the fourth title in the second batch lineup, there were a few things I was hoping to see. First, since this game was originally coded by M2 themselves, I figured they would have a little more freedom when it came to adding stereoscopic 3D into it. This is what I was talking about when I said “unleash the beast” earlier.

Two, for the PS2’s Complete Collection had variety of titles from the Fantasy Zone series, and this one was in there as sort of a bonus version. But this time, the game was to be a stand-alone game, so I figured it needed to be something that would really hold its own. The System-16 version was going to be the base, but I discussed with them that I wanted something cooked up in a different way.

And three. You see, the disc version of the PS2 game is actually still on sale as a reprint, and the game is still available on PS3 as part of the PS2 Archives, so I needed it to be something that the people who played the PS2 version would want to play again.

NH: It’s not as if we built the System-16 with the mindset that it was just a small bonus feature, but for this version, we got a little carried away and made two games out of it.

– (laughs)

NH: The biggest difference between this game and the other 3D Remaster games is the fact that *we* made this one, so the analysis we typically do was practically no effort at all. And we have the source code, so we could reduce the emulation bits to the point where there is practically no emulation technology being used. In short, we could do whatever we wanted.
It is the same The Tears of Opa-Opa, but because of the System-16’s limitations, previously we could only have 127 objects out on screen at a time. On the 3DS, however, for some reason the System-16’s Video Display Process (VDP) could put out 2048 sprites. Things like that.

YO: This “double” version is a port of the System-16 remake, but it also breaks through the limits of the System-16’s framework in some parts. That’s because of something we wanted to do in Fantasy Zone but couldn’t: widescreen support. For the first game, simply making the game widescreen was doable, but maintaining game balance as we did it was difficult within the constraints of a port.

The Giga Drive titles aside, for the arcade ports, we’ve been doing widescreen all the way back starting with 3D Space Harrier, but Fantasy Zone was the first one that we were not able to do that for. And the reason was that rebalancing a game to handle widescreen is something that’s quite difficult to do with an emulation-based game. (You have to make adjustments to enemy appearances and bullet speed on a case-by-case basis.) This all began with the preposition that we’d build Fantasy Zone II by revisiting the game balance and tuning it for 3DS. As soon as we supported widescreen, it stopped being a System-16 game.

NH: Actually, for the first Fantasy Zone, we really challenged ourselves to support widescreen. But even if we were technically able to support widescreen on System-16, we figured we’d have no time to rebalance everything. After our analysis revealed how much time the adjustments would take, we had no choice but to give up.

YO: So, widescreen support was one of our initial goals for Fantasy Zone II.

NH: When we started building with widescreen support in mind, the programmer just up and started tweaking the game balance while it was being built, so it all came together quite nicely.

YO: When you’re making it with widescreen, not only is the width of the screen different, but your movement speed has to be adjusted as well.

NH: They’ve done such a good job on it that you don’t even notice the difference. It was rather interesting when they were in the middle of building it and enemies would pop out from where they would spawn if the screen was 4:3, but since we have the source code, fixing all that went quite smoothly. Had we really attempted to do widescreen in Fantasy Zone, it would have been a nightmare.

– When I was playing in it widescreen, I really didn’t feel cramped at all. It’s got a much more laid back feel to it. Everything is there from the original, but it’s all put together in a way suited to the 3DS screen, and there’s a strong sense of freedom.

NH: That’s due to the fact that we’ve made 11 titles on the 3DS so far and we know what we are doing, and the fact that it’s the second time we’ve made Fantasy Zone II.

– After listening to you talk about it, I have to ask: Was this 3DS version made by the same staff that built the System-16 version?

NH: Yes. The System-16 version team members worked on the 3DS version. And so all the little details that we had to put aside during our System-16 development were back on the table for this one. I’ll throw out an example that hardly anyone on the team even noticed, but I got bragging rights for noticing . When you destroy an enemy base, the wreckage falls down, and on the System-16 version, there isn’t enough processing to handle it so we just let it disappear when it goes off-screen. But on the 3DS version, they pile up on the ground. There’s a lot more room for those little details.

– That’s the total opposite of all the other 3DS Remasters to date. It seems that it’s always been the issue where the emulation sucks up all the 3DS processing, making you work hard to try to recreate the original game. The effort gets focused on replicating the environment from less powerful hardware, so I don’t think there’s been much discussion of upgrades like this.

NH: That’s right, it is the opposite. And even when we are tweaking it, since it’s something we made ourselves, we don’t start wondering where we need to go to fix things.

YO: And Opa-Opa Bros. released while we were in the middle of making this game, and of course the fans gave us feedback, and our own staff had their own opinions of the first game as well.

The feedback I was most concerned about from the previous game was that the bullets were hard to see on a normal 3DS. So for 3D Fantasy Zone II, we’ve made the bullets bigger. If you just play normally, you probably won’t even notice. You probably didn’t think, “Oh, the bullets are bigger” when you were playing earlier, did you?

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
An Opa-Opa Bros. screen.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
A W screen for comparison.

– I thought the visibility had improved, for sure. It’s much easier to see what’s going on. It’s clearly different. And not just the bullets either, there was a lot that seemed much clearer. I was thinking it was just the style that 3D Fantasy Zone II uses, something I didn’t feel in Opa-Opa Bros.

YO: Easier-to-see bullets aside, another thing we’ve put in for first time players is the ability to suck in coins when you set it to low difficultly.

– That just feels good—that sound when coins just flow into you. That’s a dream feature that you just have to try.

YO: People who’ve never played Fantasy Zone often fly through without noticing the falling coins. They don’t understand that you have to go pick them up. But now when you turn down the difficulty, by getting close to the enemies when you kill them, the coins just suck into you. So people now go, “Oooooh, so I’ve gotta pick the coins up!”

However, the only settings the player can really adjust in this game are the controls and difficulty. There aren’t options to adjust things like rapid-fire speed because the game is optimized for the default setting.

– Compared to previous games in the series, this one does feel rather Spartan when it comes to those various settings items. It’s pretty easy to play with the default settings too.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II

These are the settings for 3D Fantasy Zone II. They are quite simple compared to previous entries in the series.

YO: For The Tears of Opa-Opa, there’s a save feature that lets you save at any point. That, combined with the adjustable difficulty, makes getting the true ending much more feasible. Though won’t be able to necessarily see them all, you can see some of the multiple endings if you save right before the last boss.

– Using the Save really makes things easier. On the flip side, though, it also reminds me of how when I was playing Opa-Opa Bros., I saved it when I was in a pretty pitiful state, and then had to clear the game by beating the boss with nothing but Twin Bombs.

NH: A lot a people don’t use these sorts of convenience features even if they know they are there, though.

– Some even consider their use a form of losing. (laughs)

NH: There are a lot of those people who want the old-school experience, including myself. We balance everything for 3DS with those people in mind. I think people who have played the PS2’s System-16 version will notice the difficulty tweaks.

– People who have played the Complete Collection who go and play the 3DS version will stop and go, “Oh, yeah it’s different.” It’s much easier to play for the 3DS, easier to understand, with a clearer presentation. You can really feel the polish that has gone into it.

NH: As long as it feels the same, it’s all good.

– The experience is the same on the 3DS, you could say. Even though the platform is different.

YO: This might be something I shouldn’t say, but honestly, Fantasy Zone was a hard game to play on 3DS. That said, that’s how the original is and Opa-Opa Bros. is a faithful remastering so we couldn’t depart too much from the original. We did what we could to alleviate some of the difficulty by adding convenience features.

NH: After Opa-Opa Bros. launched, I was looking around and noticed that people were really making use of those extended features to take on the game.

YO: The extra stuff is tacked on the outside, on top of the original.

NH: By allowing the new stuff to sit on top of the original, we give the player the option to get rid of all of them if they want to.

– The original is running on the 3DS, that being the most important thing, and then you’ve basically equipped it with external plugins, almost.

YO: In Opa-Opa Bros. and even 3D Out Run, essentially there is a lot of extra content in there, but in the end some people just want to turn all that off to play the original experience, and so that’s how we’ve built it.
We added a lot of handy abilities to the cars for 3D Out Run, but when people wanted to go back to the original arcade version, we wanted to make sure there was some visual difference between the cars with additional abilities. I mean, people who played it back in the day have a real emotional attachment to the original red car, you know? So regardless of the improved handling, or being able to run off road or whatever, even if the player thinks, “This is really nice. This car makes it so easy,” people will still think, “I’d like to try to beat this game with the original settings.” That’s why we made sure if you power up your car, it’ll look different from the original red car.

That said, for The Tears of Opa-Opa, that game was built as a 3DS game. M2 made the original System-16 version themselves. It’s the debut as a standalone title, so we don’t have to stick to those rules.

NH: And since it’s something we made, we were able to interpret it as we saw fit, and that really opened a lot of options to us. That’s what we mean when we say we had our way with it.

– And you brought back the Coin Stock that was in Opa-Opa Bros. and you can resume play from anywhere you like.

YO: Yes, the Coin Stock is back, as we had a very positive response to it. And while it depends on how you play, as long as you collect those coins, more convenience options will unlock as you play. We made them so they unlock pretty quickly this time around. We made them based on the previous game, but they become quickly available so you can just get to using them.

On the other hand, if you crank up the difficulty to the highest level on The Tears of Opa-Opa, it’s even harder than the Complete Collection version, now that we’ve removed the limitations of the System-16.

– Since the limits of what you can display has been lifted, you can put out more enemies and bullets, you mean?

YO: Yes, that too. The overall difficulty is lower, and those who have played the PS2 version might feel it lacks bite. But if you raise the difficulty to the max, it’s brutal. There are 4 levels of difficulty, and on the highest setting they come at you with red bullets basically from the very beginning.

NH: I’ve haven’t even cleared the PS2 version on its hardest setting, but our guy who made that version goes and makes it even harder? Well, that’s going to be a problem. (all laugh)

YO: On the PS2 version, if would lag if there were too many bullets on the screen at the same time, but that restriction has been removed this time around. Anyone who has played the PS2 or Archives version should give it a shot.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
The Coin Stock. Coins you pick up accumulate over time, even if you turn off the game. The collected coins can be withdrawn and used for the Story Mode.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
This is the highest difficulty. Note the red bullets.

A Compilation of the Best-Of Techniques from Past Games

YO: The biggest benefit of building the game from scratch is that we are able to put in more stereoscopic 3D effects than we have previously. Alright, Horii-san, “unleash the beast!” (laughs)

NH: Okay, so on the topic of putting 3D into the various objects, we’ve tried a lot of things up until this point. For example, we were able to get the enemy spawn bases to have “roundness” to them in Opa-Opa Bros, but that was done by layering just two objects on top of each other. This time around though, we’re able to display a large number of objects, so there’s no need to just settle for two layers. There’s a ton of them, up to seven layers even, and that makes things look really nice and curved. That’s what you get when you have virtual hardware that can display 2,048 individual pieces.
After all we’ve been through, being able to achieve the look we want without being limited by the number of in-game objects… Words cannot express the feeling.

YO: What makes this interesting compared to other 3DS games is that though this is 3DS, it doesn’t use polygons. It uses sprites, and they weren’t designed to be displayed in stereoscopic 3D in the first place. The same staff took 2D graphic art that was designed to run on the System-16 for the 2008 remake, and put those into 3D themselves. So considering that, this too is most certainly a “3D Remaster” title.

NH: The same staff basically disassembled all the objects that would need to be put into 3D. Starting with the background, they put objects in deep, in the front, then more in front, then all the way on top, all by hand. The result is just impressively smooth. It was just one person on our staff who stuck to it to get the work done. They were very set on getting a very good 3D implementation.

YO: Widescreen and 3D support really expand the playfield—to a much larger degree than even the other 3D Remaster Project titles.

NH: Opa-Opa Bros was really impressive, and 3D Shinobi III was another one we were really proud of, but 3D Fantasy Zone II really takes the cake. You could call it the most recent of our proud achievements.

– It’s not just that it looks 3D, but it looks really natural in 3D. That’s the difference. In previous games, you could tell that it’s in 3D, or that a lot of work went into the 3D support, but Fantasy Zone II is the real deal.

NH: It does seem like we crossed a certain threshold somewhere in the production process. It’s like we broke through to the other side. But nothing feels forced. It’s as if everything is as it should be. The people working on it really busted their butts to get it done, but for those enjoying the results, it seems as if a picture-perfect world is popping out at them in 3D.

– It’s like the difference between movies when they first started doing 3D, and movies these days. You don’t see things that seem forced—everything feels so natural. Your eyes don’t get tired.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Fantasy Zone II
Lots of places, including the bosses, have had stereoscopic 3D applied to them.

YO: In the grand scheme of things, there really aren’t that many 2D games that have been enhanced with 3D support. But M2 has worked on a lot of these projects in a short amount of time, from 3D Space Harrier to the current title. I think 3D Fantasy Zone II is the best they’ve done so far. It is in the most literal sense a grand compilation of the best 3D techniques they’ve developed as they’ve worked on each of the projects.

– This might just be me, but I imagine the process by which you take 2D visuals and put them into 3D probably hasn’t changed all that much. But in optimization through object placement and the way things move, Fantasy Zone II has simply blown everything else out of the water with how everything looks in 3D. It’s like there were limits to what you could do before, but now you have the freedom to do more.

NH: When we slice 2D visuals into layers to make them 3D, that’s intertwined with the timing for the object’s animation. When we’re recreating an existing game we make sure we don’t change the original animation timing. But in this case, we made some slight adjustments. It’s not that we made changes just to make it 3D—we made detailed adjustments so things look better. I think a lot of small changes come together to result in such a breakthrough.

– It’s like a lot of puzzle pieces have come together to fit perfectly. Like a lot of amazing things have combined to create something and looks and plays in the most natural, normal-seeming way.

YO: I think that’s one way in which this goes beyond what we’ve done previously.

– It’s something that a person who has been taking 2D visuals and putting them into 3D would appreciate. At least, I’m guessing it is.

NH: Though the people who have been reading our interviews might be able to appreciate it as well.

– And I’m sure they get a kick out of it (laughs). It just feels like a lot of care and work has gone into every little detail. Everything feels like it is as it should be.

NH: There aren’t as many loose seams anymore, at least.

YO: 3D polygon-based characters of course look just fine on 3DS in stereoscopic 3D, but I hope that people feel this stuff seems just as natural as well.

NH: That’s all I’m looking for.

– I wouldn’t be surprised if it stops some people in their tracks.

NH: I think we’ve really pushed things pretty far when it comes to the challenge of taking 2D pixel art and getting that into 3D. And this is the grand compilation of that.

– Horii-san, you spoke previously about how there were no other challengers looking to do this sort of thing.

NH: There aren’t. Though I would love to see other people doing this stuff.

– With this, all will know the fearsomeness of 3D pixel art. The work you’ve put in can be seen all over the place, such as the easier-to-see bullets.

NH: When it was in development, I went and stood behind the designer working on it, and I just stopped in my tracks. The number of layers they split an object into, and the time and effort they put into trial and error to get things right are just astounding. And they do that over and over. I think the results of all that work really shine through.

There’s a big difference between doing everything can think of within the constraints of system processing power and doing anything you want without the processing restrictions. A lot has happened between our first title, Space Harrier, and now when it comes to taking a character and making it 3D. We have gotten a lot better. But sometimes, we’d try something and end up giving up because it would cause things not to run at 60fps. I really hope the people who make the 3DS hardware see these games and smile.

– This is “awesomeness” that I’m looking forward to people getting their hands on.

YO: And 3D aside, if you are a Fantasy Zone fan, you need to play this remake of Fantasy Zone II. The original Complete Collection this is based on was sold in the final years of the PS2, and the fact that it had this System-16 version in it wasn’t really widely understood. So I think there are still a lot of people who haven’t played it yet. Also, I imagine there will be some people who have just played Fantasy Zone on their 3DS. I’d be honored if those people, and those who haven’t ever played Fantasy Zone II, would give it a shot.

And first-time players can also enjoy the multiple endings that are in the System-16 remake.

This game has a slightly complicated system for a shooting game, so there’s a lot of additional info displayed on the lower screen to help the player. In this game, you can travel between the Bright and Dark sides by using warp zones that appear throughout the stage, giving you a choice on which side to beat. And so there is now a big map that tells you which route you are going down, as well as fuzzy parameters showing Opa-Opa’s status .

NH: We usually can’t show a whole lot on the lower screen due to processing limits, but this was our chance to throw a lot of things in there.

– Come to think of it, did you discuss putting in a 4:3 screen ratio mode like the original game?

YO: The idea this time around was to make all changes necessary for people to play the original game on the 3DS, so we never really thought about that. So for the first time in this series, we don’t have a screen size setting.

– I see.

Join Us Tomorrow for Part 2!

Hard to believe, but this is only half of the total interview! Tomorrow we present the new Link Loop Mode and discuss a special new song composed by Manabu Namiki. Read part 2 here!

 
   
   
 


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