In an exclusive interview with The Fly, Yuke's chief operating officer and senior vice president Hiromi Furuta and creative director Naoto Ueno discussed their latest game "Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain," Google (GOOG) Stadia, the Epic Games store, and more. Yuke's is a Japanese video game developer which up until recently worked on the "WWE 2K" franchise, which is currently published by Take-Two (TTWO). 2K Games will be taking over development the "WWE 2K" series starting with the next release, "WWE 2K20."
'EARTH DEFENSE FORCE': Yuke's released "Earth Defence Force: Iron Rain" last month exclusively for the PlayStation 4 (SNE), marking the first time the alien shooter series was developed by Yuke's in the franchise's 16-year existence. When asked about how the developer felt about critical reception to the game, "Iron Rain" creative director Naoto Ueno said that the company has received "many opinions, some pleasant and some critical, but just the fact that the game has produced so many reactions makes us happy." Ueno noted that Nobuyuki Okajima, the game's producer, said in another interview that the title was a "test" and an "experimental" project, as it was "created as a separate entity to stand aside" the "Earth Defense Force" series. "While we have received a mixed range of feedback, we consider each and every opinion to be an extremely valuable resource to look to when considering the future of the 'EDF' franchise," Ueno said. "We see the positive opinions as encouraging, and take the critical ones to heart to serve as a basis for what we should strive to improve upon."
MORE 'EDF' GAMES?: In response to a question on whether Yuke's wants to continue making games in the "Earth Defense Force" series, Ueno said "of course!" "Whenever the first of a series is released, the Development Team is always filled with the desire to revisit the game and improve upon it in the next release," he said. "We would absolutely love for the opportunity to create a second release."
OTHER FRANCHISES: When asked whether there are any other game franchises the company would like to work on, Ueno confirmed that there are, but noted that the question is "challenging to answer." "We are particularly proud of the fact that the WWE game series was recognized by Guinness as being the “longest-running annual wrestling game” in existence," he said. "While we cannot divulge any details at this time, YUKE’S is currently working on a video game for a new franchise. Expect to hear some news from us about it in the future!"
NINTENDO SWITCH: The Nintendo Switch (NTDOY) port of "WWE 2K18" was poorly received relative to its peers, with a Metacritic score of 35 out of 100 compared to its PS4 score of 66/100. Take-Two opted to not release the following game in the series, "WWE 2K19," on the Switch at all. On the subject of releasing future games on the Switch, Yuke's COO Hiromo Furuta told The Fly that the developer had no involvement with the Switch version of the WWE game, but said that when the company developed games for Nintendo consoles in the past, it would create two versions, with one version specifically taking advantage of the "unique specifications of the Nintendo hardware." "We want to develop for Nintendo platforms again in the future, using the same approach of utilizing its unique strengths," Furuta said.
STADIA: When asked about her reaction to Google's announcement of Stadia, its upcoming video game streaming service, the Yuke's COO said that the company is "excited" about it and "of course would not back away from a chance to develop on a platform provided by Google." "This is definitely something we are interested in, and are currently working towards it," she added.
On the topic of Apple Arcade (AAPL), the U.S. tech giant's upcoming mobile gaming subscription service, Furuta told The Fly that Yuke's is "evaluating the possibility of whether we can release a title that would match the market for Apple Arcade."
EPIC GAMES: When asked whether the developer has any plans to release games on the Epic Games store, Furuta said that the company currently does not have any plans for a release on the PC storefront. She added, however, that if requested by a publisher, "we would love to!"
Investors in Epic include Tencent (TCEHY), KKR (KKR), and Disney (DIS).
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Keywords: earth defense force, yuke's, japan, video games, stadia, apple arcade, switch