Capcom has been keen to trade on nostalgia lately, and next it’s Ghosts ‘N Goblins’ turn. This month saw the release of Ghosts ‘N Goblins: Resurrection, a new game made in the style of the classic, famously brutal franchise. In a period when unapologetically difficult games are more popular (and streamable) than ever, the retro revival could find an audience.
GameSpot spoke with producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and series director Tokuro Fujiwara about the upcoming project, via translator, about what sparked the idea and where Ghosts ‘N Goblins belongs in the modern gaming conversation. For more about how the game stacks up, be sure to read our Ghosts ‘N Goblins: Ressurection review.
What made this the right time to revive Ghosts ‘N Goblins?
Fujiwara-san: Recently, we’ve noticed there has been an increase in players who enjoy this kind of classic gameplay, and we’re seeing more titles that feature it. With the Ghosts ‘N Goblins series recently celebrating its 35th anniversary, we felt it was a great time to bring back the franchise with a new Ghosts ‘N Goblins experience for players to enjoy.
When reexamining the classic Ghosts ‘N Goblins, what elements did you decide were core to the series’ identity? Were there other elements you felt hadn’t aged as well and could be jettisoned?
Fujiwara-san: There are two elements that are core to the Ghosts ‘N Goblins series. One is the “horror theme park”-like concept which the stages are built off of. Another is the sense of accomplishment players feel when they overcome a difficult challenge on their own. These two elements are extremely important to the series.
I feel the satisfaction players get through this sense of achievement is immutable and I also believe players feel enjoyment through different experiences. Therefore, it’s hard for me to say whether something hasn’t aged well or is not appropriate for today’s standards.
Did you look to other recent Capcom revivals like Mega Man 11 for inspiration or fan feedback?
Hirabayashi-san: When I first learned about the game’s concept with Fujiwara-san, I felt strongly about wanting to respect the memories fans have of this series. Since it was so important to focus on the core aspects of the Ghosts ‘N Goblins series, it didn’t give me much opportunity to examine other IPs.
Obviously, there are plenty of people within and outside of Capcom who are fond of Ghosts ‘N Goblins, so we put in our best efforts to understand the reasons why these players enjoy the series and use that to see if what we’re doing would fall into their expectations. With that in mind, we feel Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection will vibrantly reboot players’ fond memories of the original games.
When adding new elements like the Hammer or Spiked Ball, what design goals or challenges were you aiming to accomplish?
Fujiwara-san: The weapons that appear in this title aren’t necessarily optimized for all situations, and each weapon is designed so they have their own distinct playstyle. Therefore, each weapon can become a strong force depending on how and where it is utilized. Arthur is also able to learn magic and skills in this game, which can help him overcome certain challenges.
The new weapons, magic and skills are designed to enhance players’ playstyles and provide more options to tackle the stages. We’ve put in a lot of effort to make these stages challenging but rewarding. We hope players rack their brains to overcome each stage in their own personal way to achieve an even greater feeling of accomplishment.
Ghosts ‘N Goblins is known for being notoriously difficult, but now many developers strive to make games accessible as well with variable difficulties. Are you offering those options to cast a wider net?
Fujiwara-san: I mentioned this in a previous answer but one of the core hallmarks of Ghosts ‘N Goblins is that sense of accomplishment players feel once they overcome a challenge through their own efforts.
While we did prepare multiple difficulty modes for this title, our intentions weren’t to simply make the game easier or to appeal to a wider audience.
In reality, a player’s level of proficiency varies from person to person, which obviously is out of our control. In order to allow players to feel this equal sense of accomplishment, we made the decision to prepare multiple difficulty levels.
We have designed the various difficulties so that regardless of what type of player they are, as long as they select the difficulty mode that is suitable for their proficiency level, they will likely feel that sense of accomplishment that we are trying to deliver.
In order to better convey what difficulty mode is best for each type of player, we’ve put a lot of effort into the brief explanations for each mode on the difficulty select screen as well.
If you get the sense that the difficulty mode you selected is too easy, we feel that increasing the difficulty is the best way to enjoy the game.
On the other hand, there’s been a renaissance of very difficult games lately with games modeled after the Souls series. Did you have that kind of unforgiving difficulty in mind when working on this remake?
Fujiwara-san: For Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection, providing a game experience that makes the player feel this sense of accomplishment is extremely important. This is a theme that has stayed true to the series since the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
Rather than trying to make the game difficult, we focused on whether the player can experience this sense of accomplishment. That being said, we can promise this title will present an extremely difficult challenge that we hope players will enjoy.
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