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Archive for August 20th, 2015


SEGA’s Newest Title in their 3D Remaster Project: “3D Gunstar Heroes” Interview Part 2


3D Gunstar Heroes

This is a translated version of the article located here.  Read part 1 here.

3D Gunstar Heroes is now available on the eShop in North America and Europe!

3D Gunstar Heroes


– Just getting the game to run is already hard, but there’s new content in there too, right?


NH: Yes, as always, we have included additional content.


YO: There are two additional features in the game. The feature additional feature is two play modes: Standard and Gunslinger. The Standard mode has identical gameplay as the Mega Drive version.


In Gunstar Heroes, you can have two weapon types equipped at any time from a selection of 4 types total, and by combining the two items you can create a new weapon. There are ten of these combinations available, for a total of fourteen weapons with the basic weapons included. When playing the Gunslinger mode, however, you can use every type of weapon from the get-go and swap between the weapons on the fly. Specifically speaking, once you pick up any weapon to fill your second slot, you’ll be able to cycle through the weapons as you wish. You can switch between the fourteen weapon combos according to the situation you’re in by using the L Button and the R Button.

Also, you can select between two characters in Gunstar Heroes, named Red and Blue. They play differently from each other, as Red can fire while running, but Blue must stop to fire but can shoot downward.

There was actually a game that was developed by Treasure after Gunstar Heroes named Alien Soldier, and in this game, you can switch weapons and playstyles during gameplay. We thought that being able to switch between firing while running and having to stop to fire would be beneficial to the players, so we added the option to toggle between the two. Now that a player has access to all the options in their arsenal right at their fingertips to whip out on the fly, we dubbed it “Gunslinger”.

There’s also another game mode you can select called Mega Life. This mode simply doubles your HP from the beginning of the game. The original Mega drive has Easy, Normal, Hard, and Expert difficulties, but if you were a person who never could get a hang of Expert, you can select Mega Life to give yourself a leg up on the difficulty. It also serves as a helper to our fans who perhaps played the game back in their glory days and were able to clear it then, but might have a hard time clearing it now. They can now enjoy their original experience without having to stress about it too much. So there are those two merits.

NH: When you pick Expert Mode, the bosses have newer or different attack patterns. The fact that the bosses had these varied attack patterns was a really neat aspect of the game. If you’ve never played the game on the higher difficulty, please use the try using the Mega Life Mode in Expert Mode.


YO: Back when we were working on the Wii Virtual Console version, some users voiced that this game is too hard to play these days, or that they were able to beat the game back in the day but they just can’t beat the game anymore. If you can’t beat the game, well, that’s sort of on you, but the Mega Drive version of Gunstar Heroes did come out about 20 years ago, and it would be pretty mean if we just left all those people out to dry. We also want people who have never played to give the game a shot, so I hope that people will give all these new modes a chance.


– I recall that Gunstar Heroes was considered to be quite a difficult game when it first came out.


YO: That’s another interesting point, since console games let you choose your own difficulty level. There’s famous weapon combo known as the “Shachou Laser”* in Japan, which fires a homing laser just tracks in and defeats enemies one after another, so the player can focus on avoiding enemy attacks. Using this weapon decreases the difficulty for Gunstar Heroes. When we take a look at the developer interviews, they themselves say that it’s a cheap weapon and that the name actually came from the fact that president at the time would always use it. It really was a savior for many a beginner, most new players would pick it because it was so easy to use.


And so, please please take a step away from the Shachou Laser this time, since this game offers a variety of weapons! I want everyone to understand that. Until now, even when you’re about to pick up weapons, the players were so set on getting the Shachou Laser that if they picked up any other weapon, they would not be able to beat the boss battles. But when you play the game in Gunslinger mode, you can switch to Shachou Laser if you think the other weapons aren’t working out.


* Shachou Laser literally means “President Laser”. It’s the Japanese name given to the weapon created by combining Lightning and Chaser.


– So, the players who used to exclusively use the Shachou Laser back in the day should try to use different weapons in this version.


NH: That, and Shachou Laser it’s actually pretty weak, so on the higher difficulties its effectiveness wanes. I mean, it’d be sort of lame if people could clear it using this weapon. We want people to try going with a different strategy. Blowing through the game like that isn’t fun, you know?


YO: You’re right, Shachou Laser is really made for the normal difficulty. We would like you to try to beat Expert Mode properly.


NH: Right.


3D Gunstar Heroes

We would like the players to re-live the enjoyment of using numerous types of weapons by employing the Gunslinger mode, and as well as using Mega Life mode to try clearing Expert difficulty.


– When you’re looking at these aspects, such as game balance, do get a feeling for the genius of Gunstar Heroes’ original developers?


NH: We do. There is this density, this intensity in the game itself, and then you go and talk about it with the original guys, they say it was created by a core team in less than a year. I can’t help but be amazed.


– Before you worked on the title, did you actually visit Treasure, the original developer?


NH: We didn’t go that far, but we happen to have staff at M2 who come from Treasure, so we’ve heard about it. They guy who was originally in charge of the backgrounds happens to be on our team, so when the programmer had just finished with converting the background into 3D, we asked him to take a look at the game. We bugged him about it, like “What do you think about this?” and “How about this spot?”, just really being persistent about it. But he would say, “Guys, that was 20 years ago, I don’t remember any of this!” But for the main parts, he did make some comments that it was different from his original intention, but he also conceded that the whole goal of the 3D Remaster Project is to ensure the players enjoy the game in 3D above all else. Throughout the work, we had a lot of constructive conversation.


– Does that mean the game differs from the original in some ways?


YO: When you look at it from a 2D perspective, there is not a single place that is different.


NH: Well, in a way it’s different, but when I look at it, I wonder myself what a particular background would even look like in 3D, so you can’t really say it’s different or off. What he was saying was that when he drew the backgrounds, he drew them so they’d look good then and didn’t really overthink it too much and was also having to work within the memory laminations of the time.


– So you’re saying that the original developers approve of the work?


NH: I would like them to approve of our work. I don’t think they saw the final version so I can’t say for sure.

YO: Treasure themselves have said that we should do as we wish, as they have faith in us. And so, to live up to their expectations, we have spent every last minute on turning the game into stereoscopic 3D.


– Then, were the extra contents that you told us about for the older generation of players?


NH: Yes, that would be correct.


YO: Well, I think Mega Life is good for people who can’t play the games as well as they used to, as well as people who play more modern games and want to make the game easier for themselves. Gunslinger changes the game a little, so I think it’s more for people who enjoy using a variety of weapons. To reiterate, if you’re the type of player who knows Gunstar Heroes gives you many options, but you still only use Red’s Shachou Laser, which I think is a large number of players, it would be good for you to try out new options. Maybe you’ll find you like Blue’s fixed shots better. Just try a lot of new things when you play, and you might find something new.


As for the weapons, I think a lot of people really did stick to a single weapon, but this time around, I would really like everyone to try out various weapons. Since we’re asking you to play the 3DS version maybe you should just try it with Gunslinger and Mega Life modes on. If possible, I would like everyone give Expert difficulty a shot.


NH: I feel the same. Hard things are hard, after all.


YO: If you haven’t played this game in a while, even if you have both modes on, I think you’ll find even Normal difficult.


Gunstar Heroes just feels great to play, doesn’t it? Throwing enemies, blowing things up, dashing up, sliding low, tackling the enemies… It’s really fun. But when I played it earlier, I realized that I’d forgotten how to do a lot of things.


NH: Firing weapons, throwing enemies, sending the enemies flying and finishing them off with a body press, and there’s a great deal of strategy involved while all of this is happening, and everyone develops their own strategy on their own terms. But as time passes, you begin to forget your strategies, and it can feel like you aren’t doing so well. But as you play the game, you’ll begin to remember, “Oh, this is what I did back then!” This won’t be happening right when you buy the game; try to clear the game with the Mega Life first to regain your former skills from the Mega Drive days.


YO: I always had bad luck with dice rolls on the 4th stage, in the Dice Palace, and only ever roll 1s, and would have to go back to square one so many times. Game Overs all the time. And so I started from Stage 4 (in Gunstar Heroes, you can pick the order of stages except for the last stage), and then went to Stage 1 after clearing it. I’d not really thought about that strategy in a long, long time.


NH: I’m grateful that you checked the game out so thoroughly.


– Yes, that was true. Since you can choose the order of the stages, you can clear the stages you liked the least first.


YO: During the early stages of development for 3D Gunstar Heroes, Mega Life Mode was not an option, so I would ask myself, “Did I always have this much trouble with Stage 4? I remember how to beat all the bosses to a certain degree, so why all the Game Overs? What the heck? Did I get bad at this game?” But I realized later that I just got bad rolls on that stage.


NH: The die only has 1 through 3, after all.

3D Gunstar Heroes

3D Gunstar Heroes

You can tackle the stages in any order. A viable strategy is to take care of Dice Palace first. If you get bad rolls in Dice Palace, (it’s unfair, but) you can try again.


Please play the game on Expert so you can fight the 5 extra forms of Seven Force!

3D Gunstar Heroes

Seven Force always shows a surprising form each time you see it. Play Expert to make sure you see all the forms!


– So, are there any specific points where you would like the players to pay attention to?


NH: Slicing up the backgrounds for the 3D really creates a sense of space throughout the game, and we encourage everyone to check them out. Also, the boss character Seven Force is now a super cool looking character, so I hope everyone gets a kick out of fighting this boss.


In the beginning, we were actually really concerned about getting the backgrounds and the multi-sprite characters into 3D correctly, but I think they turned out well when we look at them now.


You’ll know what I mean when you see them It’ll surprise you. I think you’ll really understand the meaning behind turning a side-scrolling action game into stereoscopic 3D through playing this game, and I hope you have fun with it.


YO: Multi-sprite characters like Seven Force really leave an impression, and I think a lot of people remember the strategies for these characters being almost puzzle-like, but 3D Gunstar Heroes’ Seven Force just leaves a lasting impression as this big 3D robot.


NH: Adding depth accentuates all the details in the character. It exudes a stronger presence.


YO: Seven Force used to feel like was made of pieces of paper pinned together, but now that it has been converted to 3D, it doesn’t feel like that at all. It makes you wonder what it would look like if you looked at it from a different perspective.


NH: I totally get what you’re saying!


YO: It really looks much more like a mecha now.


NH: Yes, it does. It’s really imposing!


– Then I guess we’ll have to try our best to get to that point.


YO: Yes. The video we released only shows two forms of Seven Force, so please play the game yourself to see its five remaining forms. Every last one of them really looks like a well-developed mecha.


– Well, the mechas are very charming in Gunstar Heroes, after all. Alright, do you have any final comments for the players?


YO: Let’s see. It’s not only restricted to Gunstar Heroes, but I think it’s safe to say we have created the most spacious-feeling game among the titles in the 3D Remaster Project. I hope everyone can really get a since of things really existing in that space.


If I was to give one reason why this game gives off this sense of space, I would have to say that it’s because the player character is small. In other words, because the character is small, you can really see the background. Because you can see so much of the background, you can really see the details put into turning graphics 3D. It’s all thanks to the game’s design that we were able to create that sense of space.


3D Gunstar Heroes

Right before this screenshot, there’s a scene where the enemy robot’s arm comes out from the forest and surprises the player. Stereoscopic makes this scene even that more real.


I think this is because the original Gunstar Heroes is a well-made game, but when you’re walking through the forest at the end of the first stage, those robot hands fly out from the forest and at your character, you can really feel a sense of depth. I mean, you are looking at the same original sprites, but when you look at it with the stereoscopic 3D, you can feel a completely different feeling from the visuals. It’s truly the fruits of dedicated labor put in over the course of this project.

I think those who have played the game previously will appreciate these scenes even more, and didn’t play the game back in the days, I doubt you’ve ever played a game with as much depth as this one.


– So that’s the true value of SEGA 3D Remaster Project, right?


YO: That’s right. That said, I think there will be players who will play the game in 2D anyway.


NH: If you already play with the stereoscopic 3D on, please turn up your 3D dial even further.


I would like to add that although it was a title that needed to be ported, there were many issues to overcome that we kept putting it off. But we can now take pride that we did it using everything we’ve learned, and completed it successfully. I hope you enjoy the result.


– By the way, there’s one more title coming down the road, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Is Sonic 2 the last title because it was the hardest to develop?


YO: Well, speaking about the next episode, when we were talking making five games in the first batch, considering five Mega Drive titles for  stereoscopic 3D, M2 stated that Sonic would be the hardest to port. We figured that if we didn’t make something amazing from the beginning and really knock the fans’ socks off, no one would stick with us, so we talked about porting Sonic first.


So we went and made Sonic, but the bar has just been rising and rising, so it’s like we are bookending the Giga Drive series with Sonic games. It’s because the development was the hardest out of all of them.


NH: I don’t want to spoil everything right now, but you know those scenes that everyone’s wondering about? The Special Stages? That’s what everyone’s going to want to know about.


YO: The Giga Drive arc of the SEGA 3D Remaster Project begins with Sonic and ends with Sonic, so you’ll be able to see the evolution of Sonic.

But still, it’s not that we saved Sonic for last on purpose, but rather, now that the development on Gunstar Heroes is finally over, M2 can focus all of their energy on Sonic 2, which was being developed concurrently. Please stay tuned!


– Thank you very much!





Gunstar Red and Gunstar Blue vs. the World — 3D Gunstar Heroes Now Available for Nintendo 3DS

3D Gunstar Heroes

It’s time to take on the doomsday robot Golden Silver and save the world as Gunstar Red and Gunstar Blue in 3D Gunstar Heroes. Marking the 15th title in the SEGA 3D Classics series, this remastering of the action side-scroller Gunstar Heroes required all the accumulated skills to convert the SEGA Genesis classic into stereoscopic 3D. The results are remarkable, and you can experience the remastered 3D Gunstar Heroes now available as a digital exclusive on the eShop for 3DS for $5.99.

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Gunstar Heroes, developed by Treasure had its debut in 1993. Originally passed over for a 3D release on the Nintendo 3DS due to its technical complexity, the programming wizards at M2 (developer of the other SEGA 3D Classics) reached a level of mastery to be able to recreate the game in stereoscopic 3D. Now Nintendo 3DS players will be able to take control of Gunstar Red and Gunstar Blue to thwart Colonel Red’s plans to revive Golden Silver, the doomsday robot, and save the planet from destruction.


In addition to the stereoscopic 3D conversion, the 3D Gunstar Heroes features both the Japanese and International release versions, different emulation options, and local co-op multiplayer. It also includes several brand new gameplay modes. Mega Life mode doubles a player’s life from the start, making them harder to kill. Mega Shot mode, which unlocks after clearing the game once, makes all gun attacks do double damage. Finally, there’s Gunslinger mode, which allows players to switch weapons on the fly. This mode was inspired by the subsequent Treasure project, Alien Soldier, now incorporated into 3D Gunstar Heroes’ Gunslinger mode, it will allow players to discover brand new combinations of weapons.