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"The problem is the non-maniac, everyday gamer: if you don’t try to appeal to them somehow, your game will never get big. But that isn’t to say we want to dumb down our games for a general audience; on the contrary, I want us to find ways to uplift and attract them to us."
- Designer and project leader of Guardian Heroes Tetsuhiko Kikuchi on the image of Treasure, the studio where he worked.
Shmuplations (a website dedicated to posting retro game developer interviews) published a translated interview from 1996 today, where designer on the 2D fighting RPG Guardian Heroes Tetsuhiko Kikuchi discusses the influences behind his design philosophies during production.
Guardian Heroes is a fighting game where players would fight big groups of enemies, and Kikuchi saw the value in making sure the characters and enemies had a lot of reactions, moves and gestures.
"I sensed that the more reaction patterns there were, the more ways there would be for players to enjoy the game," Kikuchi notes. "Letting a player do whatever they want—I think that’s one of the best things a game can do."
When asked if there were any games that stood out during the development of Guardian Heroes, Kikuchi mentions Capcom's Alien vs. Predator as an influence for the inclusion of non-human enemies in the game.
"One of my design ideas was to be sure to include non-human enemies and characters," he explains. "My original vision for the enemies and the last boss was something that would make people go, 'wtf is that?!'…but I think ultimately I toned it down a bit."
The launch of Guardian Heroes was met with mixed reviews, and Kikuchi reflects on the reputation of the studio where he worked in response.
"The developers at Treasure all have their own various ideas about game design, and there is an element to some of those ideas that is somewhat hostile or indifferent to players," he admits. "As a result, I think Treasure’s games are very difficult."
With the release of Guardian Heroes changing the image of Treasure, Kikuchi goes on to explain his thoughts on the company becoming a "brand". Be sure to check out the full interview at Shmuplations, which goes into more detail.