Tuesday, May 25, 2021
First released back in 1985, Ghosts 'n Goblins has since become a Capcom icon, a stone-cold arcade classic, beloved for its stern and uncompromising challenge as much as its hapless but heroic protagonist, Arthur. More than 35 years on, the game is still a staple in Capcom's myriad arcade collections – the original is back once again in the Capcom Arcade Stadium, released today – and, to celebrate its anniversary, Arthur returned for Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection on the Nintendo Switch in February. And soon it'll be coming to Xbox and PlayStation.
Built using the RE Engine, Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection brings with it an illustrative, almost fairytale look, reimagining the original game's colourful pixels with a hand-painted art style that retains the 1985 version's macabre spirit. Vitally, the game remains every bit as difficult as it always was, Arthur still leaping as best he can, falling foul to the pull of gravity as marauding monsters strip him of his fragile knight's armour. There are lower difficulties to choose from, but make no mistake, Resurrection is still immensely challenging.
With Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection's Xbox and PlayStation launch on the horizon, we caught up with Producer, Yoshiaki Hirabayashi to talk about the game's infamous difficulty, how the remake came about, and, given Hirabayashi's history with the Resident Evil series, a couple of brief insights into his thoughts on Capcom's survival horror franchise. Just know that he's very “focused on the release of Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection”.
Where did the idea to resurrect Ghosts 'n Goblins come from?
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi: This year, the series celebrates its 35th anniversary. So many players are enjoying new retro-style games that it felt like the right time to bring a new experience in this classic series, for both fans of Ghosts ‘n Goblins and those who have never played it before.
Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection brings back the series with its classic 2D platforming formula. Was there ever a temptation to ‘resurrect’ Ghosts ‘n Goblins as a 3D action game, given that it's become the go-to genre for rock-hard difficulty with games like Dark Souls or Nioh?
Hirabayashi: No, the game was 2D right from the beginning of planning and development. Our goal was to create the atmosphere of what we called a “horror theme park” – spooky rather than outright scary, with a comical undertone. We felt that 2D was the best way to bring a touch of analogue warmth when expressing that. I hope that you can appreciate when playing the game that it shows how much depth can be brought to a 2D game!
Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection Producer, Yoshiaki Hirabayashi.
Is Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection just the beginning? Can we expect to see sequels?
Hirabayashi: We’re completely focused on bringing Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection to all platforms at the moment.
The game looks like a fairytale brought to life. What inspired the distinctive art style?
Hirabayashi: I’m glad you like it! We were inspired by picture-book art from around the world, and the director and designers worked together on creating their own take on that look.
Protagonist Arthur famously appears as a fighter in Marvel vs. Capcom. Are there any other games you'd like to see Arthur make a cameo in?
Hirabayashi: When you put characters from other games into a game you really need to make sure they fit the concept well. I wouldn’t want to just force Arthur into a game where he didn’t make sense as a character, but if there was ever a good offer I think the brave knight Arthur would be up to the challenge!
With Ghosts ‘n Goblins making a return, is there a chance we’ll see new entries in spin-off series Gargoyle’s Quest or Maximo in the future?
Hirabayashi: Gargoyle’s Quest was the first Game Boy game I ever played! It mixed roleplaying segments with action in a way that I found very exciting at the time. But right now, all we’re focusing on is on finishing the release of Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection.
Do you hope to work on more Resident Evil remakes in the future, following your work on RE2 Remake? Do you think Code Veronica would be a good fit for the remake treatment?
Hirabayashi: I enjoyed working on reimagining Resident Evil 2 very much, and I think Code Veronica is a great game. But currently, all I’m focusing on is bringing Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
If you were given the chance to do anything you like with Resident Evil, what would you do? Which characters and setting would you like to explore?
Hirabayashi: That’s an interesting question! The first Resident Evil game I played was RE2, and then I joined Capcom and worked on titles starting with RE Remake and RE4 amongst many others. I experienced the different styles of RE both as a player and developer so it’s actually quite tough to say what I would do if I had free reign, as I think all the different styles are fun in their own way. I think I would have to consider it a long time before I could know what my choices would be!
Hirabayashi also served as Producer on the Resident Evil 2 remake.
Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection will be arriving for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on 1st June.