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Victor Ireland's Gaijinworks Helping Rebuild Sunsoft Brand In U.S.

Victor Ireland's Gaijinworks Helping Rebuild Sunsoft Brand In U.S.

December 7, 2009 | By Eric Caoili

December 7, 2009 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Japanese developer Sunsoft is fondly remembered for its 8- and 16-bit titles, but has been largely absent in North America for most of the past decade. Now that looks set to change, as the company announces its intentions to reinvigorate its gaming brand in the U.S. with the help of Victor Ireland's startup Gaijinworks.

As part of its planned resurgence, Sunsoft is re-launching its official U.S website, which will host information on current releases, upcoming games, and more. The company says it will also hold special promotions offering "exclusive, limited edition premiums" that both new and old Sunsoft fans will appreciate.

Sunsoft USA's first release -- or re-release, in this case -- for its comeback will be Blaster Master, the developer's cherished but infamously difficult platformer/metroidvania/run n' gun for the NES, originally shipped in the U.S. in 1988. The classic game is slated to hit Wii's Virtual Console shop later this month with a price of 500 Nintendo points.

The company says it has more titles coming to the States, including a particular title that Ireland believes will please old-school fans of his old video game publishing house Working Designs (Lunar series, Arc the Lad Collection). Outside of localizing Hudson's Miami Law for DS, Ireland's new company, Gaijinworks, has been fairly quiet since it opened in 2006.

Though Sunsoft has a catalog of nearly 100 titles to pull from, several of its best known games are tied to licenses, like Batman and Gremlins 2. It has several releases based on original IP, though, like Neo Geo fighter Waku Waku 7 and the excellently composed Journey to Silius.

"My relationship with Sunsoft and [Sunsoft CEO] Yoshida-san goes back more than 15 years, and when this opportunity presented itself to help Sunsoft return to the US console market, it was a natural fit for both our companies," says Ireland.

He continues, "This first Wii release is a great start, but there is one upcoming announcement in particular that will demonstrate just how serious Yoshida-san is about rebuilding the Sunsoft console gaming brand here. Game fans are going to be pretty happy when they hear about it - I know I was."

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