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Interview with G.rev CEO Hiroyuki Maruyama
(July 10, 2013)

First of all, for our readers who are not familiar with you, could you give a brief overview of G.rev? What is the size of your company, how many games are you currently developing and on what platforms?

HM: G.rev is a video game studio and publisher that was established in 2000. We are a small company of only about 10 people, but we are very pro-active in developing, publishing, and distributing our own original games. We do accept contract work, so including games that never made it to the market, we have developed quite a number of titles during our 13 years of business.

We are currently working on the new GameCenter CX (Retro Game Challenge) for the Nintendo 3DS which will be published by Namco Bandai Games Inc.




The name G.rev is now inextricably linked with shoot them up. Why the passion for the genre? Which titles influenced you most as gamers and developers?

HM: To answer simply – because we like STGs. I think you can find in shooters the fundamental elements that make games fun.

Personally, the games that influenced me the most are, as a gamer, Xevious and Fantasy Zone. Metal Black was the game that inspired me to become a developer.


Your shooters are always a cut above the rest it's clear that you want to explore untrodden paths and offer new experiences, e.g. the way you can orient your chopper in Under Defeat, the weapon system in Strania, the level structure in Border Down, the versus-fighter aspect of Senko no Ronde... What differentiates you from other shoot them up developers and how would you define the "G.rev Touch"?

HM: Thank you for all the kind words!

I think that in any instance in which a developer tries to add new and innovative elements to a game, the development process becomes more difficult and will inevitably result in requiring longer development times to complete. So it is a very difficult goal to accomplish. Even within G.rev, someone will jokingly say, “Why don’t we just take it easy and make a regular shooter?”

As for the “G.rev Touch,” perhaps it is inclusive of the fact that we are willing to make the effort to add new things, and as you wrote “explore untrodden paths”.



Under Defeat HD


Border Down


Senko no Ronde Duo



Your latest title, Kokuga, seems to stray even further from traditional shmups, with multiplayer-oriented arena gameplay and a card-based power-up system... Could you tell us more about the concept and what made you decide to undertake this project?

HM: As you mentioned, one of the key concepts of this game was to focus on multiplayer, as we wanted to invite people to play that mode.

It was also a technical experiment for the studio. As we had experience with networked versus mode in Senko no Ronde and co-op with Strania, it was not really a new challenge for the team. However, Kokuga was really the first title we developed that we decided from the start would focus on multiplayer, so in terms of planning, that was quite new to us. From that perspective, it seemed like an interesting project, so we decided to move forward with it.


Is Kokuga designed specifically with shmups fans in mind, or does it cater to a larger crowd?

HM: We were actually trying to appeal to regular gamers that play casual games.

However, that does not mean that we ignored our core shooting fans – we made sure that they would enjoy the game as well. The core fan base was the very reason we asked Manabu Namiki to compose the music for Kokuga.


Why the 3DS? Was using the Touch Screen and 3D Screen features central to your project from day one?

HM: When we began the project, we actually had not yet determined the platform. We started building a prototype on the PC, and were considering the DS or, though the possibility was very low, the PSP. We decided on the 3DS shortly after the project started moving. It was surprising how well the option of 3D worked with the game, and, as the number of units among the public had slowly began to increase, we tabbed the 3DS as the platform.

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Kokuga




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