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Games The Way They Want: Catching Up With Treasure

January 5, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

What do you think about the state of the shooter market right now?

MM: Oh, I think it's still good! (laughs)

Namco remade Galaga/Gaplus on the Xbox 360 recently, for example. A lot of American and European outfits are making shooters for XBLA and PSN.

MM: The thing about shooters is that if you make one that can find an audience, then you will never find a player base more devoted to a single title with any other genre out there.

Geometry Wars is well-loved by a lot of people who never play shooters at all.

MM: That's definitely an off-beat game in the genre. It's a fun one; I was definitely impressed by it.

When the PS2 Gunstar Heroes was released, was it your idea or Sega's to put in the prototype version?

MM: It was definitely Sega's -- in particular, the producer at Sega who supervises the Sega Ages series. He is a monster hardcore gamer; we would show him stuff we had lying around, any old thing, and he'd shout out "Ahhhh, I've got to have this, I've got to have this!"

Then we'd be like "Oh, great, what have we done?" (laughs) The prototype is really pretty close to the final version; there were some final tweaks seen in the retail game that weren't implemented yet in the earlier build.

Have you played the Brazilian Master System port?

MM: We supervised the production of that, actually. (laughs)

It was alongside the Game Gear version, and it was the first time any of us had ever touched a Master System, so it was pretty crazy.

How did you get so much out of the Game Gear for that port? It seemed like Treasure is really good at maximizing the hardware they're working on.

MM: We didn't make the Game Gear one, actually.

Oh, really? Who did, then?

MM: Well, they left the company, so I dunno if we can say... (laughs)

Radiant Silvergun's rarity is the stuff of legend these days...

MM: Legend? (laughs)

Well, lots of people in America know its name, and how hard it is to obtain a copy. Not too many people have actually played it. Now that downloadable games are more common...

MM: Oh, I think we'd definitely like to see it out there. But the situation around that game is a bit different from Ikaruga, so I don't know if we'd see it on Live. We did a lot with the Saturn version, too.

I think it'd sell pretty well. Microsoft would be up for it, I bet.

MM: Microsoft actually asked us if we could put it out. (laughs) We're thinking about it, certainly, but it's not as simple as just saying "OK, let's put it up." I mean, sure, with Ikaruga, we released it as is without having to do or add a great deal to the game and it was popular and well accepted for what it was.

But if you play Radiant Silvergun nowadays, it's certainly aged in assorted ways, and I'm not sure they're all good. (laughs)

One more obscure game is Silhouette Mirage. Do you have any plans to return to that kind of platform action experience? You've only had a few of those games, but they've all been good.

MM: That's sort of the same deal as before -- there's certainly a lot of requests out there for us to make a side-scrolling action game.

But, as before, there's a pretty big difference between saying "Yeah, that'd be nice" and actually doing it, because it's surprising how much work goes into making those sorts of games nowadays.

Do you ever consider growing the company more in order to do more of that kind of stuff?

MM: No. (laughs) Definitely not. It'd be too hard to keep the company in one coherent piece otherwise, because we're all here because we really love making games.

Having ten of those independent-minded sort of people in a group works great, but having a hundred of them would probably bring down the company. (laughs) I don't really see the merit in getting bigger.

Do you think that kind of mentality -- which is good, by the way -- can limit your ability to become really rich and stuff?

MM: I don't want to be rich. (laughs) If I get rich, then I won't be able to make the sort of games I want. You need to work at it, you know? If you keep thinking about making games that sell a lot, then you wind up unable to make the games you really want.

How many people are in the company now?

MM: About 20, I think. 20 or 30 is probably the best number, I think.

Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

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Joseph Amper
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RS would be killer on XBLA. I remember a friend trying to snipe an ebay auction for a RS guidebook - it went from 40 dollars to 200 in about 3 seconds.

Simon Parkin
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Awesome interview.

Roberto Alfonso
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Bangai-O for DS was incredible, it was in my personal list of best games of 2008. Curiously, I find it the best Robotech-like game ever made. Being able to attack with so many missiles at the same time (or being hunted by them!) makes the game fun to incredible levels. Even the slowing down matches the game spirit!

Excellent interview!

Tom Newman
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Great interview!

If the people at treasure are reading this - MORE XBLA AND PSN titles! These are not that much more difficult to program than DS games, and there are many hardcore adult gamers that would download any title based on Treasure's reputation alone, and many of these (including myself) don't really play DS. I do have a DS, but I'd rather sit on my couch in front of my TV.

Mac Senour
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I was the producer at SEGA that picked up GunStar Heroes when all of the other producers had turned it down. I played it for 5 minutes and knew it would be Game of the Year. It was bold, it was different and unlike all of the other SEGA titles released at that time it had small characters and a ton of action.

I am proud of my association with this title. Treasure is a great developer with a wonderful eye for game design.

As a testament as to how great GunStar Heroes is, look for it on eBay. Its selling usually above $25, 17 years after its release date. Around 1995-97 it was selling for double the original price.

Roberto Alfonso
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Thanks Mac for gifting us the opportunity of playing GunStar Heroes :-)

Maurício Gomes
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I would LOVE to see Radiant Silvergun re-released somewhere! Altough I wanted a PC version of it :(

We rock with those Brazillian games for sega consoles! We have DUKE NUKEM 3D for Mega Drive o/

Ed Alexander
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LOVED GunStar Heroes! Still gush about how awesome that game is any time it's brought up with friends.

Julian Spillane
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Treasure has been responsible for some of my most beloved games: GunStar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Ikaruga, Mischief Makers... it's great to see them continuing to succeed at what they're best at.

I would definitely love to see more Treasure presence on XBLA and PSN as well.

Samuel Chan
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GunStar Heroes definitely ranks up there as one of the greats from that era ;) Really takes me back. Awesome interview!

Dedan Anderson
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Interesting quote: "Design is at the center point of a lot of Treasure's games."... funny i thought that should be the center point of all games... but i guess i'm just old school...

Yannick Boucher
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Mac, I salute you !!