ASTRO PORT Interview
Translated by rancor.
—First of all, tell us about the beginning of your circle.
SAK: I met ORDAN on a Dezaemon 3D fan site. We made games by exchanging floppy disks through the mail. Ordan started to complain saying, "it's time to switch to a more efficient method of doing this".
ORDAN: I suggested to him that I could be in charge of programing while he would be in charge of everything else. From this basis we formed our group. This was in April of 2006.
—I see, so Mr. ORDAN managed all the programming matters, and Mr. SAK took care of the rest.
SAK: He also did overall game design, I did planning, direction, and other miscellaneous stuff.
—Games coming out of non-hentai circles are mainly shooting games, right? What are your favorite shooting games?
ORDAN: The Gradius series. Especially II, Gaiden and V. Among vertical shooting games, I like Battle Garegga, I own the PCB for that one. I also like Image Fight.
SAK: I like the Gradius series too. It was the title that made me realize how wonderful video games can be. It had such a great influence on me that you could say it led me to this industry. My other favorite game is ZANAC. Those two are the best to me.
—Back to Satazius, how did you guys come to create the game?
SAK: Because ASTRO PORTs games are usually so easy to clear, we wanted to make a game that is harder. As we said, we love Gradius as well as other terrain dependent shooting games that are rather hard even though they have been made easy to play.
—The game contains a lot of elements found in Gradius and Darius, doesn’t it?
SAK: That is true. The tagline "Prepare Yourself" is also an important element of the game because you’ll most likely have to repeatedly die before clearing it. The message is that only those who are prepared to die should buy the game.
ORDAN: I really wanted to include infinity scroll in Satazius. Like the fifth stage of Salamander 2 and Gradius V, it’s great to be able to scroll up and down freely as far as you like.
—In terms of difficulty, the stage one boss is pretty ridiculous in Satazius. I really got into it.
ORDAN: It's been criticized that the boss in stage 1 was far too difficult. In fact, the boss in stage 2 is not as tough as the first one. Initially the first stage boss was to be put in the second stag and vice versa, but the order was changed at the last minute to make more of an initial impact.
SAK: We anticipated that we’d get complaints regarding the order. However everything turned out OK because that decision gave the game a bit of publicity.
—I find it unique that weapon power up methods are different for each shot. It’s also remarkable that only the most powerful mode has the time limit.
ORDAN: First, we were gonna make the most powerful mode to gain special points, but changed it because the point of changing the weapons gets lost if the weapon that is in its most powerful mode can earn more points than others significantly. So we put the time limit on the most powerful mode, and the time would extend if you get more items.
SAK: Originally we were worried that the setup might cause unnecessary stresses to the rest of the program, but found out that it didn't at all. We are always making games by trial and error.
—Are there any particular points in the game that you want people to pay attention to?
SAK: All of the mechanical design. We wanted to make the machines in the game to be distinct. In that area, we put a lot of work on every vehicle.
ORDAN: The up and down scrolling I was talking about earlier was really difficult to realize. And the part where the missiles fly really close to the ground was harder than I thought initially.
SAK: That was already being done in the 80's, but it was much harder to actually program it myself. We were amazed to know that something that is still hard to do today was already being done in the 80's on hardware that was far inferior than ours. We'd also like people to notice how the armor of the stage one boss gradually comes off.
—The game has a lot of scenes that remind me of the famous scenes from some older vertical and horizontal shooting games!
ORDAN: Yes. In the stage one, if you make holes in the bridge, it collapses and blocks the way. That was inspired by the MSX version of Gradius. We thought of stage one of the Game Boy title Nemesis 2 for the rapid scrolling while fighting the bosses, and for the stage one, the fifth stage of Salamander. But what we ended up with was entirely different from those.
—Were there any other unexpected incidents took place in the production?
SAK: Yes, my hand suddenly stopped working while working on the title. I faced a slump while creating graphics. I think it was a mental thing. Right away I emailed ORDAN and told him "I am sorry, I’m really messed up now!" Because we were so close to the completion, I asked him to make the final adjustments.
ORDAN: I told him it was OK to take time off until he could recover.
SAK: I felt relieved. For a week, I concentrated on my daily job leaving the doujin life behind entirely. But after that week, I started wanting to draw again. I was happy to hear from ORDAN that I could count on him
—I can feel a strong tie bonds you two. I really want people to play the game all the way to HARD after clearing NORMAL! Thank you very much for today's interview!