Dodonpachi Saidaioujou – 2012 Developer Interviews

Dodonpachi Saidaioujou - Developer Interview Collection

These three Dodonpachi Saidaioujou interviews appeared in magazines Arcadia and Famitsu between June 2012 and March 2013, which corresponds with the release of the Arcade version and the development of the X360 port. These go into a nice level of detail about the design and inspiration behind what would become Cave's last bonafide arcade STG.

Ikeda (Producer)
The man responsible for bringing Cave STG to the world. After getting the SDOJ project off the ground, he mainly worked as a producer on it. His favorite ship, throughout the whole DDP series, is the Type A.
Koizumi Daisuke (Programmer)
Worked on Akai Katana and Dodonpachi Maximum. For SDOJ, he was in charge of the game system and balancing the difficulty. His favorite ship during test plays was the Type C.

Interview conducted June 2012 by Arcadia, at Cave Co. Headquarters

—Could you tell us first the details of how the SDOJ development got started?

Ikeda: Since DOJ we’ve been saying “this is the last one,” but certain circumstances intervened and here we are… (laughs) Releasing a new arcade game in the arcade market today is, to be frank, extremely difficult. So we felt that, given the market today, if we were going to take a shot at it then the Donpachi series was the only logical choice. We started the project quite awhile ago, around March of last year. With some of our previous games, like Akai Katana and Deathsmiles II, the development period was very short and we didn’t have a lot of extra time to balance or fine-tune them. We received complaints from some of the players too… “what happened here?” This time we had the Donpachi brand to consider, so we asked management for more time for development.

—Koizumi, when did you join the SDOJ development?

Koizumi: I joined in December. Before that I had been working on Dodonpachi Maximum, and when that ended I joined the SDOJ team. This was my first time working on an arcade Donpachi game.

—Did you feel a lot of pressure then?

Koizumi: Yeah. Daifukkatsu was built around a unique bullet cancelling system, but this time Ikeda told us he wanted to make a game where you could experience the simple joy of shooting and dodging. I remember really struggling with how to make it “simple but interesting.”

Daisuke Koizumi (L) and Tsuneki Ikeda (R)

—Was that idea to simplify the gameplay something you had in mind from the outset?

Ikeda: Regarding bullet cancelling, we decided to not do anything too extreme this time. We wanted the game to be as simple as possible, with all the strategy revolving around simple dodging and shooting. We started planning things along those lines, but for a long time we just couldn’t get anywhere, or tie things up into a solid system. Then Koizumi finished working on DDP Maximum and joined us. All I told him was our basic ideas and asked him to create a system around it… come to think of it, it was a pretty horrible way to pass the baton. (laughs)

—And that’s where the idea to continue in the footsteps of DOJ came from?

Koizumi: Our concept for the game was “Daioujou for 2012.” Of all Cave’s games, many people have played DOJ, and I think its a title we’re somewhat known for. I wanted to take the strengths of that game and update it for the playstyle of today’s world… I mean things like making the status of the rank and such, which you couldn’t see before, transparent to the player. In that sense I think its an evolution of the simple Donpachi gameplay.

Daioujou, the (obvious) inspiration for SDOJ.

—SDOJ also prominently features the human characters… was this something you planned from the outset?

Ikeda: Our idea for the presentation this time was “let’s make it as straightforward as possible!” At Cave, you see, we have a habit of making things a little weird… “straight is boring.” (laughs) But for SDOJ we decided to make it as straightforward and simple as possible. I think we all felt that if this was going to be our final game at Cave, we wanted to do something straightforward and badass like that.

On that note we invited the voice actors into the team and endeavored to make the characters accessible too. Still, our character designer Nagi Ryou grumbled that “Cave’s ideas are anything but simple!” (laughs)

—How did the players and arcade operators respond to the location tests?

Ikeda: Honestly, it was a really positive response and we were very relieved. For me personally, I can sum it up in one word: happiness. When I saw all the excited people at the location test, I felt once again that “ahh, arcades are great!” (laugh) I don’t mean to naysay the online experience, but I think when people gather in-person around an arcade screen like that its the best. Actually, we had a lot of resistance during the creation of SDOJ. There was criticism during the earlier in-company testing phase as well. I was very anxious about the location test, wondering what we would do if the public didn’t like it. So when the response turned out to be favorable, I was really happy.

—After SDOJ was released, we heard people complain that the later stages were too hard. Was this spike in difficulty something you planned?

Ikeda: I’ll let Koizumi speak to the details here, but for my part, I can say that for DOJ, I told our developers to make it challenging. With Daifukkatsu the player could alter the system, and it was more accessible in that regard. But for SDOJ I wanted it to be a real challenge, something that would give players a lot of replay value. So its true that I told Koizumi to err on the side of making it more difficult. (laughs)

Koizumi: The difficulty of our recent games has been set very high, but I think the hypers are easier to refill in SDOJ compared with DOJ, and you also have the auto-bomb option, so although its difficult, we tried to make it a game that you could progressively improve at, bit by bit. Hypers come about twice as fast, so the pace of the game should feel faster. And its quite common to die and come back with a hyper, so we aimed for a balance that would make the player feel “if I had done just a little better in that spot, I could have made it!”

—Regarding the customary hidden boss Hibachi, what was the idea behind adding her to SDOJ?

Ikeda: Well, at this point in the series its pretty much a given that we have to add Hibachi. (laughs)

Koizumi: But we did fret a lot over whether to add Hibachi for Shot, Laser, or Expert mode.

Ikeda: There were many heated discussions about that.

Koizumi: Some people said Hibachi should only appear in Expert mode, but in the end we felt that allowing players to face the TLB in any mode would prevent players from feeling like the Shot or Laser modes were in some way inferior, and would encourage people to play in each mode to the end.


—It seems like Hibachi’s patterns are all very familiar variations on the previous Dodonpachi series’ TLBs?

Koizumi: We based her attacks on previous patterns from the DDP series, so it will doubtlessly appear that way to certain players. Though I think players who see her for the first time and hang out at the bottom of the screen will be surprised when they get killed. (laughs) Then there’s the final hakkyou pattern. That’s an homage to Dodonpachi, but with the fugusashi bullets1 going in each direction and the ability to use your hyper laser, I think it will be a new experience for players.

—Well, that’s all the time we have today, but please give a final message to our readers and your fans.

Koizumi: Following in the footsteps of the Dodonpachi brand, I think Saidaioujou, as the name suggests, will prove to be game you can play for a long time to come: please enjoy the ultimate “peaceful death”!2

Ikeda: There have been trials and tribulations with this project from day one, but seeing as this was our chance to develop an arcade shooting game again, almost our entire development team worked together on it. And thanks to that collective goodwill we were able to bring SDOJ into the world. Koizumi really worked hard in fine-tuning the game, and because of his efforts I think we have a worthy game that will live up to the Dodonpachi series’ legacy. With SDOJ we tried to make a game that returns to the basics of the pure joys of STG, and my hope is that it will provide a truly lengthy and fulfilling experience for players.

Saidaioujou and Cave STG Collection Interview

with Asada Makoto of Cave

—How is the Saidaioujou port coming along?

Asada: Its about 50-60% done. I just checked on our progress, and it looks like the emulation slowdown is now accurate, so that part should soon be finished. That always takes a lot of time, so its a load off our shoulders.

—Glad to hear its going well. You’ve shared some pictures with us today of the new mode with Saya. It looks like there’s some conversation taking place between her and the operator on the sides of the screen there?

Asada: I think most shooting games have had to put their cutscenes and visually attractive parts on separate screens outside of the main action. In terms of their dramatic presentation, the story in Cave games has always been rather weak because we can only present a little at the beginning and at the end. This time we started with the idea of having the story develop within the game itself, so our scenario staff talked with Ryou Nagi, who designed the characters, and asked him to do artwork matching each stage and scene. Right now there’s only faces talking, but we intend to add more visually complex and elaborate scenes as well.

—Do they talk all throughout the stage? There must be a lot of dialogue then!

Asada: They’re talking almost the entire time. In the arcade version, there were only about 130 lines in total. This time there’s 450 for the Saya mode alone. In this mode you’ve got 3 characters: Saya, the operator, and the character called Hina… just between the three of them its a lot of dialogue. We’ve finished all the recording now, and the voice actresses did a great job. I was very impressed myself.

Makoto Asada, X360 Producer at Cave

—I noticed their conversations don’t stop the game’s progression or anything?

Asada: Right, we didn’t want to stress players out like that. We wanted above all to avoid having the story interrupt or distract the player. Excluding the stage results screen, it needs to be a seamless experience. So they talk on their own, although we are planning to add several variations to their lines, so each time you play it will be a slightly different experience (without compromising the main story, of course). So in a sense, the new Saya mode is a test run for a new kind of shooting game we’d like to try.

—Right, so this is like a test case for a new model of Cave game.

Asada: That’s right. The idea for making a game like this goes all the way back to Deathsmiles. When I joined Cave and we started our X360 development, the first game I participated in was Deathsmiles. It turned out to be a big success. Our initial target for sales was only 10000, but in the end we ended up selling 40000 domestically (50000 if you add the platinum collection version), and another 200,000 units worldwide.

—Wow, I’m surprised to hear it was so popular overseas!

Asada: The world and setting of the game was really well received. It was especially popular in Europe. However, with our second X360 release Mushihimesama Futari, and ever since then, I feel like we returned our sights to the hardcore STG audience. This has been problematic to me for a long time, and I’ve been thinking up ideas for how to increase the popularity and userbase of STG. Now, finally, with certain personnel and scheduling problems out of the way, we’ve had a chance to realize some of these ideas. Things like the team scoring mode, the shop, and missions.

—I’d like to ask a bit more in detail about each of those last three things you mentioned. Let’s start with the team scoring mode… last time we talked you mentioned this would be a kind of team event?

Asada: That’s right. We’ll be dividing players into groups, and within a set time they’ll compete with other teams for the best cumulative score. Microsoft has helped out on this a lot, and we actually had already begun working on it at our last interview. At first we thought about dividing the teams up based on prefectures, but the populations were too uneven, so instead people will be randomly assigned to a team among 5 to 6 blocks.

—How long will each scoring period last?

Asada: We haven’t fully decided yet, but probably around 1-2 weeks. We want to give special prizes to the teams that win, like limited edition gamer icons… things you can only get through these events.

—Will these events be held at regular intervals?

Asada: Yes, as much as possible. Since its team scoring, anyone can contribute, even in a casual way. STG is a genre where the difference in skill is very apparent, so we wanted to do something to ameloriate that. And we’d also like to make a Cave Team. (laughs) Since our team would be so small, we’d multiply our scores by 10, but those teams which beat our scores would get special presents.

—Sounds exciting. (laughs) Next is the shop feature… what can you buy there?

Asada: In the FPS genre, its a common feature that after you clear the game once, you unlock different modes, like invincibility mode, or infinite ammo mode. For the STG genre, I want to create unlockables options like making the hitbox smaller (or larger), or continuous hyper mode… things that would add more options to how you can play the game. I also want to add an illustration gallery mode, which we haven’t really had in any of our games so far. Of course, you won’t use real money in this shop, only coins which you’re rewarded with in-game.

—I see. And what about the missions?

Asada: The missions are both a way to earn coins, and also a way to train players. You’ll be given certain objectives when you start the game, so it will be a good way to learn the scoring tricks. Right now our superplayers are testing and finetuning the slowdown, but after that we’re going to talk with them about how to best teach scoring techniques during the missions.

—It looks like you’ve got a lot of exciting things planned.

Asada: Yeah. If you look at just the number of modes, there’s only the new Saya X360 mode, the high-res graphics mode, and the novice mode that are new. But if you look at all the new stuff we’re adding overall, its really a lot. It might have the most new content of any X360 port we’ve done, actually.

—Is there also going to be an opening anime sequence?

Asada: There is. We’ve been told by some of our core users that such a thing is unnecessary for a STG, and it would be better for us to spend our money and effort elsewhere. And maybe its true that its not necessary for a good STG, but we’re hoping that having it there will make it more likely to be displayed at storefronts etc, thereby increasing its exposure. So in that sense an anime intro is important, and I think its part of bringing STGs to that next level of production.

The Saidaioujou anime opening.

—Yeah, and it will probably be the thing that gets some people into the game itself.

Asada: Actually, our character designer Ryou Nagi had an unofficial booth at Comiket this year. We wrote about it in our blog, and though I say it was unofficial, of course he had permission from us. Many of his fans who didn’t know about Saidaioujou came and visited. The game has been known on its merits purely as a danmaku STG, but thinking of ways to increase its appeal to non-STG fans is something we’re continually exploring.

—In that case, is the Saya mode set at a difficulty appropriate for beginners?

Asada: Yeah, this mode is geared towards beginners and for casual play, and is comparatively easier. However, if you play Saya mode on the more difficult Expert setting, its another matter. That is for hardcore players. (laughs)

—Yeah, Expert was originally made in place of the usual second loop, right? (laughs)

Asada: If your mindset when creating a game is to make everything easy, it will result in the game no longer being a game. So yeah, Expert mode is an entirely different beast.

—I see you’re releasing three different editions of the retail package.

Asada: In addition to the normal edition and the limited edition, there’s also a “super limited” edition which contains the original soundtrack. We already released the SDOJ soundtrack with the “Dodonpachi Saidaioujou / Dodonpachi Maximum” cd, but you could only order it by reserving directly from us, so for people who didn’t know about it at the time or found out later, it turned out they had to buy it at gouged prices on the secondhand market. So we wanted to do something about that, and that’s how the idea for the super limited edition came about. The limited edition comes with the usual arranged cd, but the super limited edition will include that cd, the OST, and an A4 size booklet containing developer interviews and more.

—Let’s talk about the Cave Shooting Collection now. When does it come out?

Asada: At the end of March or the beginning of April, it looks like. It will contain superplay DVDs and OSTs for each game.

—Why did you decide to release all your games in a collection?

Asada: Releasing 10 games in a set is certainly a first for Cave. One month after we announced the SDOJ port, Microsoft approached us and asked if we would release all our games as a compilation. The contents of the compilation have changed 3 or 4 times over the last six months. At first we talked about just packaging all 10 of the previous retail release, as-is, but that seeemed a bit anti-climactic and boring for a commemorative package like this. Then we came up with the idea of re-releasing all the superplay DVDs which had been out-of-print. We also thought it would be convenient to put all the instruction booklets into one large book.

—Will all the DLC be included too?

Asada: Yes, everything will be included. At nearly 40 individual DLC items, It was a big surprise how much there was… “we put out this many?” (laughs)

Asada and the Cave STG boxset released in May 2014.

—I thought it would only be Mushihimesama’s Black Label and other separate game versions, but to get everything at one non-inflated price is quite nice.

Asada: Yes, it covers all content for all of our releases. When you think about it, we did a lot for the X360. There’s 4 years of Cave development compressed into one release here.

—By the way, Guwange was an XBOX Live Arcade title… will there be a disc version of that included here?

Asada: We wanted to do that, but due to various circumstances it will only be a download code. All the themes, icons, and all other DLC will be included on a separate DLC install disc.

—It must be nearly complete, then?

Asada: All that’s left is to press the discs and announce the release date. Please reserve a copy in advance if you’re interested. This set contains every game I worked on at Cave, from Deathsmiles to Mushihimesama, so I feel very grateful that we could do this.

—Its kind of like the History of Asada collection.

Asada: I’m very happy its happening. To be honest, with most of our games, I was so exhausted after debugging them that I didn’t really want a copy of the finished product. (laughs) But this, I want to take home.

—Will these two items be the last X360 releases you do?

Asada: Probably so. Even if these two sell well, its hard to say if we’ll continue to release X360 titles.

—Well, as is customary, please give a final message to Cave’s fans.

Asada: I think SDOJ will be the last game that I work together with Ikeda and Ichimura to create. So there’s a lot of pressure on us to finish this port, and its a ton of work… but there’s also something sad about it. Either way, we are working hard to ensure we have no regrets about this release, and I think it will show the joy of STG. Please look forward to it!

Dodonpachi Saidoujou X360 Interview

With Tsuneki Ikeda and Makoto Asada of Cave

—So, how far along is SDOJ now?

Asada: About 70% complete. Of the remaining 30% of the work, most of it involves the “New X360 Mode” with Saya. That timing is partly due to the fact that we’ve added another mode to the game. We previously announced the three Arcade, Novice, and New X360 modes, and now we’ve added a retuning of the original Arcade mode, “Version 1.5.”

—I’m surprised to hear of a new mode this late in the process!

Asada: We’ve been having test players and super players work with us, and around the beginning of March they asked us about things they were disastisfied with in the original SDOJ, and whether we couldn’t come up with some ideas to improve it and make the game more fun. So we started thinking and in fact came up with a ton of ideas (laughs). Once we got approval from staff, and our programmer Ichimura said the changes were possible to implement, we hurriedly went about adding the mode. Version 1.5 is already completely done now.

Makoto Asada and Tsuneki Ikeda.

<changes in the new 1.5 mode>

* Collecting stars no longer resets the HIT counter increase interval of the laser

* Using laser while hypering now raises the combo gauge

* In normal (non-hyper) mode, the rate at which the HIT counter increases from using laser is now quicker

* Adjusted the numerical values of various things when hypering (details below):

-the GP bonus multiplier for each hyper level
-the points for firing for each hyper level
-the duration of a hyper for each hyper level
-the number of score items that appear for each hyper level
-the ratio of increase of the HIT counter while lasering for each hyper level

* Adjusted various parameters for score items (details below):

-the amount added to the HIT counter when collecting a score item
-the amount added to the score when collecting a score item
-the amount added to the GPS when collecting a score item

* All score items that appear when performing a level 6 and above hyper are now large type

* Adjusted the score for individual enemies, and the number of score items that appear when they’re killed

* Adjusted the amount of hyper gauge you get from picking up a bee item

* Adjusted the amount the combo gauge increases for each ship when an enemy is destroyed

* Adjusted the conditions in which score items appear during boss fights

* Increased the interstage Clear Results “No Miss” score bonus

* Adjusted the max bomb bonus

* The score items that appear from bullet cancelling when the hyper gauge is filled during a hyper have been increased from small to large

* The hyper gauge increase multiplier from collecting score items is now revised as the rank changes

—By the way, in a previous interview in September Ikeda said he wouldn’t be participating in this project, but what led him to get involved?

Asada: Considering the higher priority projects Ikeda had to work on, it was looking pretty difficult for him to join the SDOJ X360 project. In the end though, we were able to have those obstacles removed. A company is a hierarchical structure after all, so if you just press on the higher-ups… (laughs) Well, actually there’s only one person at Cave higher than Ikeda, and that’s the President. So yeah, Ikeda’s participation was achieved through some political bargaining.

Ikeda: Yeah, that’s how it was. (laughs)

Asada: You know, the President of Cave gets angry a lot, and Ikeda is always the one he gets angry at, while I’m usually the one getting praised. So it all balances out. (laughs) If I say something it gets praised, but if Ikeda says the same thing he gets yelled at for it. (laughs)

Ikeda: If I say nothing I get yelled at, and if I speak I get yelled at too. What am I supposed to do?! (laughs)

Asada: I think this will be our last game for the current generation of hardware, so personally I really wanted Ikeda to participate. But the time at which he’s joined us is very out-of-sync with the rest of the project, so its caused some delays.

—Please tell us about the “New X360 Mode.”

Ikeda: The only thing Asada told us was to make the gameplay more casual, so I figured that if we were going to do this we should go for a feel distinct from an arcade game. After a lot of thinking about how to make a simplified structure for the game, we settled on a game that revolves around managing a gauge on the bottom of the screen.

The new X360 mode with Saya.

—I see. Did it go smoothly, deciding on this system?

Ikeda: No, it was quite complicated. The genesis of the idea actually came from the test players Asada mentioned a moment ago. We used their idea as a base and built on it.

—What were some of the previous ideas you had considered?

Ikeda: The New X360 Mode was originally going to be done by Ichimura, and I think he had plans for a time attack style mode. I also wanted to retain some part of his ideas when I took over, but there were too many problems, and I didn’t like the result very much. (laughs) So changing this and that, we’ve arrived at the gauge system we have today.

—Was Ichimura’s idea like a racing game, where you compete for the best clear time…?

Ikeda: I wouldn’t say a race; it was more like something resembling “caravan shooting,” where you extended and replenished your time as you played. However, since Saidaioujou was originally a game about how far you can get without dying, it just didn’t seem to match very well. I still tried all different ways to integrate the idea, but I just couldn’t figure it out. The game would reach “time over” and you’d suddenly just die… “huh, what just happened?” (laughs)

—It sounds like it would be jarring. (laughs)

Ikeda: There were too many problems with it that I couldn’t fix, so we completely redesigned everything. The place where it showed your time, we ended up switching out with the gauge.

—Regarding the dialogue in this mode, is it mostly exchanges between Saya and the Operator?

Ikeda: Yeah. The conversations unfold between the operator in the control room and Saya. The previous Dodonpachi games have all had stories and worlds too, but a lot was left to the player’s imagination. Since we’ve depicted all that more clearly this time, I’m both excited and worried at how it will be received. We won’t really know if it was a success or failure until it goes on sale, but I’m glad we were able to challenge ourselves like this. Depending on how its received, it may have a big influence the development of our STG games in the next hardware generation.

—It seems like there’s always dialogue throughout the game?

Asada: Yeah, I don’t think there are many moments of silence. The arcade version of Saidaioujou was also said to be a game with a lot of dialogue, but the two aren’t really comparable; there’s way more dialogue here. Instead it might even feel a little weird when there’s suddenly a moment of silence here.

Testing out SDOJ.

<New X360 Mode System Impressions>

During the interview Ikeda mentioned that the New X360 Mode was a “gauge management game.” After the interview he let us play it for a bit and see what he meant by that. Here I will try and explain the New X360 Mode system in concrete terms while offering my impressions of the gameplay generally.

First, as mentioned, the only playable character is Saya. Like Arcade mode, there are Shot, Laser, and Expert options, which equate to the difficulty of a novice, normal, and second loop, respectively. Different from the arcade mode is the big gauge displayed at the bottom of the screen. This gauge can be considered your life, and when it reaches zero the game is over. In other words, it isn’t a system based on lives and extends, but on a life bar.

When you get hit, the gauge decreases by a set amount and an auto-bomb is released. If you don’t have enough gauge left to release an autobomb when you get hit, you instead die and its game over. Also, if you press shot and laser at the same time, you fire both simultaneously in a special weapon called “ShotLaser.” As you might expect, its very strong, and the gauge decreases as you use it. Its a double edged sword, since using it too much will mean you won’t have enough gauge for an autobomb. There is only one way to refill the gauge, and that’s through collecting star items during a hyper. Hypers are much easier to fill than in the arcade version.

Outside the main game window, Saya and the Operator talk incessantly. The animation is lip-synced, they wink, and their expressions change throughout the game. They continue talking after the boss is defeated, and even during the results screen, but this can be skipped with a button press. There isn’t much of a chance to watch them while you’re playing, so I think it would be fun to watch your replays and focus on what they’re doing. The remainder of the screen is adorned with futuristic monitors, showing things like 3D modeling and the name of the midboss. Its incorporated very effectively into the game’s presentation.

For this test play I chose the novice shot option and made it to the 4th stage on my first try. I’m told there’s still details to adjust and work out, and it sounds like what I played today will be significantly harder in the final version.

—As for the shop mode, it seems it allows you to purchase a special option menu?

Asada: It allows you to buy equipment for your ship. The ships have equipment slots, and you can put special things there, like equipment that makes your hitbox smaller, or one that makes your ship collect score items onscreen automatically. You can also unlock things like wallpapers and a sound and voice test mode.

—Can you acquire currency for the shop by playing any of the modes?

Asada: Yes. Regardless of which mode you play, each time you play you’ll get currency. Of the different modes, you’ll receive the most currency if you play in the online “team battle” mode. You don’t have to be a great player to participate, so please try it out. Connected to the arcade mode, we’ve also added “missions” that teach you STG techniques to help you enjoy playing Saidaioujou; there’s 50 videos we’ve prepared to illustrate the different techniques, too.

—With guidance like that, it should change how accessible STGs have been.

Asada: Once you learn to score in a Cave STG, your enjoyment of our games really changes. But reaching that point really takes a long time, I think. So in that sense, we wanted people who haven’t played our arcade versions much before to have a chance to experience that feeling and the appeal of Saidaioujou.

—I believe you have some new information about the Super Limited Edition package as well?

Asada: We previously announced that the Super Limited Edition would have the arrange CD, the OST cd, and an art book along with it. We’ve now added three sheets of special stickers. You can put them wherever you’d like, on your X360 or notebook, for instance. We’ve also added a plastic sheet, in the traditional arcade marquee design, showing the basic instructions for the game. Finally, we’ve added the theme song single CD by Hirano Aya.

Dodonpachi Saidaioujou promo movie

—You’ve gone from 3 items to 6… magnificent!

Asada: We wanted to add whatever we could for this edition, and these 6 items is what we’ve got so far.

—You’re also hosting a pre-sale event on May 5th. Could you tell us what that’s about?

Asada: The big thing is that it will be combined with the STG event Wasshoi. We’ll have an X360 hooked up inside a cabinet. Showcasing a game like this that we haven’t finished yet is a very unusual thing for us, but when we announced the X360 version of Saidaioujou, something seemed lacking and we wanted to do more. We’ll be doing some stage events too… one of them will feature me and Ikeda, so the two of us have got to start planning something interesting for that.

—It sounds exciting.

Asada: There will also be a booth where guests can get their pictures taken with the Saidaioujou characters using the Kinect for Windows and their cell phones. Those who reserve their tickets will also receive an A1 size poster. We had two kinds at Osaka, but there will be three kinds at Tokyo and you can choose which you want among the three.

—You’ve prepared a lot, it should be a fun event.

Asada: Its been a really long time since our last event, and I hope to see all the people who had come to our previous events again. Our staff here at Cave is mostly the same too. Also, I personally have an announcement I’ll be making. I imagine it will be surprising to everyone, but I think it will open the door to new possibilities…

—What could it be? I’m curious. I’m looking forward to that day then. Finally, please give a message to your fans.

Asada: Looking back at our X360 games from Deathsmiles on, I think we’ve really been lucky to be allowed to follow our dreams on this console. I think this will be our last game for the current hardware generation, but in various ways Saidaioujou has been prepared as the gateway to our next move. We want people’s honest and frank opinions, so after you’ve played it, please share them us. Thank you!

Ikeda: Regarding the New X360 Mode… if I’m to speak my mind, I wish we had had a little more time to work on it. We’re still working on it, but for most of our X360 arrange modes we’ve been given about one month to finish them, and we usually end up going a couple weeks overschedule. With that pattern almost always being the case, we’ve never had enough time. In that sense this is nothing new, and within the limited time we’ve been given we’ll do everything we can to deliver a quality game. The fact that we’ve been able to put out a super limited edition, which, moreover, many people have reserved, is all thanks to the existence of our fans who played the arcade version of Saidaioujou. We will give it our all to make sure that we release a satisfying game for those people. Please look forward to it!

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  1. fugusashi bullets look like this, and are called such because they resemble a prepared plate of fugu (blowfish). A “hakkyou” pattern is a term for a bullet pattern that a boss puts out when its “going crazy”, usually triggered by destroying certain parts of the boss (like in DOJ and SDOJ stage 1 bosses) or timing out the easier patterns.

  2. This is a silly play on words of the Saidaioujou title

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