Under Defeat’s Maruyama on shmup stagnation

G.Rev’s Under Defeat was already part of a “new generation” of shooters when it was released in arcades in 2005 and on Dreamcast in 2006 – at least, compared with what most people would think of as the “golden age” for the genre in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

And now, six years later, Under Defeat returns in HD on PS3. I asked G.Rev CEO Hiroyuki Maruyama how shooters have evolved since its original release.

“Well … to be honest, I do not think there has been any evolution in the genre in the past few years,” Maruyama said. “Around the year 2000, if you discussed shoot ’em ups, you could talk about several different types of games within the genre. It’s sad to see that recently you do not come across the same variety of shooters in the market. As a company, we have tried to release shmups that we feel are ‘different’ than others … but it is a difficult environment right now.”

Launch Photo Gallery

Unlike most shooters from the last ten years, Under Defeat does not fall into the “bullet hell” genre, relying instead on groups of enemies firing directly at the player instead of filling the screen with patterns of fire. The reliance on a classic style automatically makes Under Defeat a bit different from its contemporaries.

It’s easy to see why G.Rev opted for a more traditional shooter, given Maruyama’s influences. “As a gamer, I personally like Sega’s Fantasy Zone,” he said. “Taito’s Metal Black, however, was the game that inspired me to enter the industry. The game I have put in the most hours playing is Xevious.”

For the udpated release of Under Defeat, G.Rev has implemented a few more changes to its game. “Graphically, the HD version features improved shadowing and finer textures. The biggest addition is likely the newly arranged ‘New Order Mode,'” Maruyama said. “We really tried to think about and create a vertical scrolling shooter fitting of this 16:9 compatible generation.” New Order Mode widens the view to fill a 16:9 display, and gives you the ability to turn your ship with the right analog stick, allowing you to shoot along that wider space without having to travel extreme horizontal distances.

Under Defeat HD launches on PS3 November 27, in both retail and downloadable formats.

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About contra

Film maker. Video game historian. Will put more in here this section soon!
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