The classification process of what makes a game ?hardcore? is something the interactive entertainment industry - its focus rarely wavering from the next mega-licence franchise - is still to finalise. Hardcore games are generally perceived as being shoot ?em ups in 2D and fighting games, though debate regularly flares?isn?t a player investing 30 hours per week in Animal Crossing more hardcore than the player who spends a few hours on a Saturday in a stinking arcade on King of Fighters?
Treasure has always attracted the hardcore fringe of gaming, though the intelligentsia maintains an interest in the more cerebral offerings of this quirky Japanese development studio.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Treasure president Masato Maegawa to have a chat about all things Treasure, something we were quite pleased about?
First up was the issue of sequels. Everyone asks Treasure why it doesn?t make more sequels and the answers often vary, seemingly depending on what day of the week it is.
"This is a question now are asked a lot. We do not have such a policy of not creating sequels", explained Maegawa. "Our stance is to give top priority to the opinions of each developer, we therefore respected their opinions on creating sequels."
So what happened with GunStar Heroes? This is another game that has long been hoped for. Why release a new version?
"We did not have all the members from original team that worked on the title as each member works on different projects generally," we were told. "But this time 'NAMI', the programmer for 'multi-jointed enemies' was available and with him as the base, other members were able to work together again to create the sequel!"
Cool. There is clear demand for a new Radiant SilverGun game. Please put the matter to rest! Will this ever happen?
"Well," said Maegawa, "At this moment, we do not have a specific plan, but since the idea of the evolution of Ikaruga [RS2] to Radiant SilverGun 3 exists, there may be a possibility for it in the future. You?ll have to wait and see!"
Onto next-generation issues, right now it is unclear whether Treasure is developing a game for any next-generation console. Various conflicting news stories have emerged, with the last word on this coming from Maegawa himself when talking to 1-Up a couple of weeks ago.
The question was posited, "Looking towards the future, we know you like to make 2D games, but we know you're working on games for the Nintendo DS and the Xbox 360. Would you care to comment on these at all?"
All Maegawa would say is, "We're going to have a fighting game called Bleach for the DS, based on the Manga. Completely 2D!"
Since then, various other sites have confirmed a new shooter for Xbox 360, though never offering a source for the confirmation. We asked the same question and to our surprise got a candid, definitive answer:
"We are developing a game for Xbox360, but we cannot give any details at this time."
We were interested as to the scale of the Treasure operation right now ? how many employees it has and what arcade boards is it looking to use as the Ikaruga-hosting Naomi board fades from view?
"Right now, we have about 20 staff with four projects are currently under development", we were told. And Treasure?s next arcade platform? "We do talk with different arcade platform holders, but it is hard to decide which ones to choose right now."
Nintendo just showed the controller for the Revolution. It would seem that Nintendo will be open to simple game releases for its console. What do Treasure think of the Revolution and its controller?
"I agree with Nintendo?s direction, how they keep considering new directions or potential of games rather than engaging in competition with others for hardware technical strength. As for the controller, we do believe it can create new potential for videogames in the future?"