As part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview, Capcom's Hironobu Takeshita explained the design philosophy behind NES-influenced Mega Man 9
, revealing Capcom's wish to bring "retro style" to today's generation - complete with optional sprite flicker for deliberate old-school flavor.
The Japanese-headquartered publisher has announced the all-new sequel to its popular franchise, originally created by Keiji Inafune in 1987, for PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and WiiWare.
The game experienced the height of its popularity on early console systems such as the NES, so the company has taken the interesting approach of styling the game to look and feel like a NES game. Takeshita explained to Gamasutra of the approach:
"Mega Man is a simple game, but it's one that you can get into quickly and really enjoy playing it. We wanted to bring that to a new generation of gamers.
Fortunately, now we have download services where we could bring it back. So we thought, "This is the opportunity to do this. Now that we have a method for delivering the game, we should try and see if we can do it - go all the way back to the retro style."
Especially now, retro games are being evaluated as good games. Not all of them are good, but some of them are being evaluated as good games.
Since the generation now may not be as familiar with those games, we thought it's time to introduce them to that style of gaming. Mega Man is just the perfect game for doing that."
More interestingly still, the Capcom producer revealed that sprite flicker - optional, fortunately - is even part of this new retro experience, explaining of the artificial constraints they instituted:
"Yeah, there were some things, like you couldn't have more than three enemies on the screen at once, so we had to make sure that that's how it stayed in our game. In the part with the dragon with the flame, [there should be] flickering, and whatnot.
In the options of this game, you can adjust that, unlike the old games. We purposely put some of those old-school bugs into this game, so it does recreate that feel."
The full Gamasutra interview with Takeshita
also explores the difficulties (and freedoms) that creating a true retro experience creates, and to his vision for a future in which creators can design games based on their artistic choices, not externally-applied pressures of matching up to the standards of contemporary console releases.