Under Defeat HD: How a cult Japanese shoot ‘em up made it to European PS3s
As a small Japanese developer specialising in a niche genre, it is a great pleasure to be able to release one of our games internationally. Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition (available for PS3 via PSN from tomorrow and in stores on 9th November), will be our first PlayStation 3 title distributed outside of Japan, and our first international release since WarTech: Senko no Ronde in 2007.
Old-school. Retro. While we do use those terms to describe the titles we develop, fundamentally we hope to make games that are of the same cloth as the classics we played and loved in our youth. Our studio was built on the concept of creating “game-like games” – drawing from the dynamics and style of past favourites.
We feel that the number of similar games on the market has dwindled, particularly in recent years. Though we are a small team – and plans do not always go as we hope – our intentions to continue producing what we believe are “game-like games” has not changed.
The concept for the original arcade version of Under Defeat could be simplified to ‘developing a realistic wartime shoot ‘em up’. At the time, the team that would become the core creators of Under Defeat were idle as they had just finished a previous project. The rest of the company was focused on Senko no Ronde, and though we considered having the team merge in with the others, I decided to give them time to think of designs for a new game instead.
They initially conjured up plans that were not even in the same genre. Despite taking on characteristics of what some might describe as an ‘overly enthusiastic’ appreciation of historical weaponry, I thought that giving them the freedom to create what they want would encourage the team to really take control of the project and, moreover, produce something new and innovative.
After releasing Under Defeat in the arcades, we naturally considered porting it to a console. As the Dreamcast was already in the twilight of its lifespan, we first looked at bringing the game to the PlayStation 2. Unfortunately, as we intended to outsource the project, the quotes we received from developers were well over three times the budget we used in making the arcade version. So plans for a PS2 build were scrapped, and we consulted Sega to see if we could squeeze in to the Dreamcast line-up as the last official new title for the hardware.
In retrospect, porting Under Defeat was likely made possible as there were other companies that also hoped to put out the last Dreamcast game as well. While we were not able to have the distinction of being the closer for the system as a few other titles were released after Under Defeat, we are thankful for the opportunity to bring the game to the system. And, of course, we harbour no ill will to the guys who put out games afterwards!
Earlier this year, in response to a large number of requests from domestic and overseas fans, we released the HD version of Under Defeat for current generation consoles in Japan. At the same time, we were in discussions with Rising Star Games to bring the title to the North American and European markets.
We had known Rising Star for carrying a good line-up of hardcore Japanese games and felt they would understand a 2D shooter like Under Defeat. More specifically, we believed they would appreciate and respect the core nature of the game. We certainly hope that the project will be successful and that we can build a continuing relationship with the publisher.
Since we set up shop in 2000, G.rev has maintained and championed the aforementioned policy in terms of approaching game development. And while we will continue to strive to create “game-like games,” times have changed, and we must take on new challenges.
In a lot of ways, we have basically done what we pleased these past 12 years. Hopefully in the future, we will be able to show fans and gamers growth as a company. It would be nice to look back a few years down the road to see that we have made progress since the release of Under Defeat HD.
More than likely, however, we will probably still have some kind of hand in producing and making shoot ‘em ups!