Hudson Entertainment's John Lee gives us plenty of new details about how the company is bringing Turbo CD games to the Virtual Console.
With the recent announcement that Hudson's Turbo CD system will debut on the Wii's Virtual Console service, we had a lot of questions about the technical aspects as well as the games that might be released from the Turbo CD library. John Lee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Hudson Entertainment, had the answers.
Nintendo World Report: Are the CD games being compressed somehow for the Virtual Console? If not, how are you dealing with the large file sizes and very limited internal storage on Wii?
John Lee: We have worked hard to make sure that a CD based game will fit on Wii’s built-in memory. Yes, we are using some compression technology since CDs can hold several hundred megs of memory, far bigger than the traditional Hucards could hold. For instance, the sound has been compressed, however gamers should not really notice any audible difference.
NWR: Can we expect the CD load times to be eliminated?
JL: Yes, load times will be greatly reduced since the games will be played off of the Wii’s internal memory, and not the CD. In fact, it feels like a brand new experience playing these classic Turbo CD games again.
NWR: Is there any chance of a special Wii channel where we can play our original Turbo CD game media on the system?
JL: There are no plans for the Wii to be changed so that it will play any of the original Turbo CD games.
NWR: Which games are under current consideration for release?
JL: There’s an impressive catalog of Turbo CD games, so pretty much all of them are under consideration. We’re using the same method of evaluation on which games make it onto the Virtual Console, as we did for our TurboGrafx games. We take a look at consumer demand, licensing issues, as well as market fit. Thus far, we have only announced a few games, which include Super Air Zonk, a sequel to the all out crazy Air Zonk game featuring enhanced CD quality music and all new levels. In addition we also announced Gate of Thunder, the award-winning shooter that has been on the top of our fans’ most requested list for some time. Hudson was known for making some truly intense shooters back in the day, and these games are the pinnacle of that era. We are definitely happy to finally be bringing these games to a whole new generation of gamers.
NWR: Are we going to get translated versions of Japan-only games, such as Dracula X: Rondo of Blood and Ys IV: Dawn of Ys?
JL: We are evaluating the viability of bringing these games to the US market. Since these games are all originally only in Japanese, we can’t make any promises, but they have definitely caught the attention of US based gamers, so we want to see what we can do.
NWR: Some games were developed and published by companies that no longer exist. Have any of those games had their rights secured by Hudson?
JL: That has always been one of the key challenges we have faced in bringing back various 3rd party games on the TurboGrafx system. It definitely keeps our legal team busy trying to track down who owns which rights. Add in the complexity that some properties were jointly developed by companies in the past, and you have all sorts of questions on who owns what. We’ve already been successful in launching a number of 3rd party titles on the VC for the TurboGrafx such as R-Type and Splatterhouse, so we hope to be able to carry that success to the TurboCD games as well.
NWR: Will we ever see the handful of games released for the SuperGrafx?
JL: The SuperGrafx system was in extremely limited release when it was launched almost 20 years ago. For us to bring a system like that back, it would have to be financially viable for us to create an emulation system, and launch plan for today’s market. That would quite honestly be difficult to do since only 7 games were released for the system. Few people know about this system and the games, so we would really need to see strong demand for these games first. Strong sales for the TurboCD games could also be an indicator for us on market interest.
NWR: How long before we start to see Hudson's SNES games on Virtual Console?
JL: Currently, our plans are to focus on our catalog of TurboGrafx and Turbo CD games for the Virtual Console. Just to get through this catalog will last us another good year, so I’m pretty sure there’s enough gaming to go around! We have launched a few NES based games recently, but there are currently no immediate plans for SNES based Hudson games.
Thanks to John Lee for participating in this interview.