In 2015, Hucast Games released a game on the Dreamcast – yes, you read that right. Ghost Blade was every bit the thrill ride of nostalgia its Dreamcast release would imply. Tomorrow, Ghost Blade graces modern consoles – including the Wii U – as Ghost Blade HD, and it is more than just a simple port.
We caught up with René Hellwig from Hucast games to ask a few questions about the upcoming release and thoughts on the Nintendo Switch.
We have to start with our obligatory game explanation question. If you were to explain Ghost Blade HD to someone not familiar with the game, what would you say?
Ghost Blade HD is an intense bullet-hell shoot ’em up game, with satisfying and addictive score-based gameplay. With inspiration going back to the shooting games of the 1990s era, with a modern graphic style and special effects. A sharp reflex for dodging bullets is mandatory to beat this game.
Shmups, once a dominant arcade platform, are now a rare breed. What do you see as the role of the genre going forward and their contribution to the legacy of video games?
Shmups originate from the Arcades and are dominant in Japan. The niche-genre certainly became too hardcore for a casual audience, so here we go with a great blasting shmup that’s easy to access and gives a hard challenge – we always say: “Ghost Blade HD is easy to learn, hard to master” – that’s true.
Are there any specific games that were inspiration for Ghost Blade HD?
Compile’s Soldier Blade draw an inspiration to the game, but in the end Ghost Blade HD has its own merits. The gameplay is fast-paced and the score system is elaborate. I think, what really makes the game so good is the overall package.
Ghost Blade was originally a Dreamcast release…in 2015. Why the unique decision for the initial release and the decision to now bring it to modern consoles?
The president of WaterMelon, Tulio Adriano, asked me if I’m interested to bring the game we’re working on to the next-gen consoles. I was immediately interested, we started to port the game in November 2015 when the Dreamcast version was sold. During the development, I transferred rights to 2Dream but we contuined with the same programmer and CEO.
What has changed the most between the 2015 release and this HD remaster?
Oh, we changed quite a lot actually. Besides the HD graphics, we implemented new enemy types, we programmed more tricky bullet patterns for boss enemies, to give the game a true Bullet-Hell treatment. We also have time released continuous now, to make sure that less-skilled players will have a chance. To ensure that, there’s auto-bombing in Novice mode.
What about stst Blade HD excites the team the most?
The score system! It feels very rewarding to us and is easy to understand.
How did the team take the Wii U Gamepad into consideration for development, if at all?
I guess you’re talking the GamePad with the touch-screen panel and not the Pro Controller, well we use it for this game but it didn’t play a big role during development.
How does the team feel about the Nintendo Switch?
I have a good feeling with the Switch and can’t wait to get my hands on the new handheld controller and dock it to the station. [By the way], the screen rotate ability is perfect for TATE shmups.
Are there any plans to bring Ghost Blade HD to the Nintendo Switch?
Currently we don’t have plans for it, but never say never.
If the team could be any type of tree, what type of tree would they be and why?
Any type of tree would be fine with me, but hopefully at a cool place.
A big thank you to René Hellwig for taking the time to answer our questions. Ghost Blade HD releases tomorrow, February 28th, on Wii U, Playstation 4, PC, and Xbox One.
Our review will be available later this week, but you can catch live gameplay during Just Pause Nightly, tomorrow night at 7:30pm PT on our Twitch channel: http://www.twitch.tv/justpausegaming