GS: What inspired you to remake Gunpey? Was it your idea, or Bandai’s?
TM: No, we asked them. So Gunpey is a really primitive, nice game. It’s not gorgeous, in terms of visual and sound, but Gunpey has a really good principle. It’s like the bone of a human body. A very strong bone. And we had the idea that if we remade Gunpey with good music and visual effects, it would be pretty fun. So we asked Bandai – ok, let’s remake Gunpey with new graphics.
GS: Does Bandai own the IP for Gunpey, or does Gunpei Yokoi’s estate own it? Maybe his son?
TM: Well originally it was done by Koto, in Kyoto.
GS: Oh, his old company, yes.
TM: Right, Gunpei san’s. Gunpei died in '97 or '98 in a car accident. But he started Koto. And Koto owns all his intellectual property. I think so, anyway, though Bandai may own the publisher rights.
GS: Does Koto still exist as a company?
TM: Yes! We met with the Koto people, and explained our concept, and they were really excited about it.
GS: Have you played all the versions of Gunpey?
TM: Almost, yes.
GS: I have all three! Yeah, Tarepanda Gunpey is really bad.
TM: (laughs) Tarepanda Gunpey…
GS: Did you own a Wonderswan, when it was released?
TM: I used to, yeah.
GS: How would you feel if someone made a game called Mizuguchi?
TM: I don’t care if it’s after my death! But I don’t want to play a game named Mizuguchi while I’m still alive though.
GS: It seems like kind of a strange concept to name a game after a person. It’s not a game based on some principle then, so what is it based on? Him as a creative person, or…? Have you thought about this, how to be true to the spirit of Gunpei himself in this game?
TM: Yeah, so Gunpei Yokoi left suddenly. He’s gone. So I think it’s kind of a dedication to Gunpei san, Gunpey itself. I think that’s a very nice concept. I also picked up Kandinsky’s concept in Rez. In the credits, I said “This is dedicated to the soul of Kandinsky.” So this concept, this nostalgia, has a big influence on us. Every sound, visual, and the synthesis with the music, that sensational concept. I don’t know about the future people, but hopefully they’ll pick something up from this.