[Interview] Bringing Back the 80’s with Blaster Master Zero


Last month the very awesome Inti Creates brought the delightful Blaster Master Zero to both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS and I loved it. So having my desire of interviewing Inti relit once more and eager to know more about Blaster Master Zero and learn if it’s going to get a sequel, I reached out to the company and not only did they hear me, they also answered the questions I had. So if you like me, want to know a little bit more on how Blaster Master Zero came to be, then sit down make yourselves comfortable, because this is our Inti Creates interview with Mata Papa:

 

 

In typical interview fashion. Would you mind introducing yourself to our readers and telling us about your own involvement with Blaster Master Zero?

 

Matt Papa: Hi! I’m Matt Papa, Localization Director for Blaster Master Zero. I also work at Inti Creates as a producer and head of international affairs, and have the pleasure of being Inti’s English speaking window to the world.

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Thank you, and now with the introduction out of the way, we can begin the interview.

 

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Blaster Master Zero is more than Just a Remaster:

Miketendo64: Other than being a remaster of a previous title in the Blaster Master series, for our readers who know nothing about Blaster Master, just what exactly is Blaster Master and what kind of a game is Blaster Master Zero?

Matt Papa: Blaster Master Zero is more than a remaster of the original, and in more ways acts as a remake and reboot to the series. As for the kind of game it is, Blaster Master is an action adventure game (sometimes referred to as Metroidvania style) that features 2D side-scrolling action sequences where you play as an all-terrain battle vehicle named SOPHIA III and top-down isometric action sequences where you explore dungeons as the protagonist Jason Frudnick.

 

Blaster Master Zero Fan Reaction:

Miketendo64: When it was revealed by Inti that a Blaster Master game was in the works, fan reaction was mixed. There was delight and there was skepticism that you could pull it off. Personally speaking, I think you did, but how have you found fan reaction since the release of Blaster Master Zero on both Nintendo Switch and 3DS?

Matt Papa: The fan reaction has been extremely positive! There are always gonna be haters no matter what you make, but the vast majority of the feedback we have received as been great.

Miketendo64: Glad to hear it!

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A Blaster Master Zero Sequel is Neither Here nor Now:

Miketendo64: Since this is a question I know some fans would like an answer to, are there any plans or desires by Inti to remaster another Blaster Master title, or even develop an all new one?

Matt Papa: The game just released a few weeks ago, so we’ll see how things go and assess the situation down the line. 

Miketendo64: Fair enough.

 

Bringing Blaster Master Zero to the Nintendo Switch:

Miketendo64: Being as though Blaster Master Zero is a Switch title, how did that come about in the first place? Were you already developing it for the 3DS before Nintendo put the Switch on the table, or was it the other way around?

Matt Papa: We were originally developing the game as a 3DS title, then we realized we would be able to release it on both platforms at the same time. The Switch is a very developer friendly system to work with, so on the grand scheme of game development, porting it over to the Switch from the 3DS was a very painless process.

 

Gunvolt is Coming to Blaster Master Zero!:

Miketendo64: And since you do have Switch access, are there any chances of doing an Azure Striker Gunvolt 1 and/or 2 port to Switch? Or even developing an Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 and bringing it to both platforms?

Matt Papa: I would never say never to this, but we have nothing in regards to Gunvolt 1 and/or 2 on Switch to announce at this time. However, if you want some Gunvolt action on Switch, he will be coming to Blaster Master Zero as a DLC playable character down the line!

There’s also other DLC goodies in the pipeline too, so stay tuned for announcements in the future.

Miketendo64: I like the sound of that!

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Jason Frudnik’s presence in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 would Depend on Certain Circumstances:

Miketendo64: Additionally, given the tone and feel of the Azure Striker Gunvolt series, what’s the likelihood of Blaster Master Zero’s Jason getting a cameo role as an additional boss to fight or even a playable character?

Matt Papa: Hmm, good question! I guess it would depend on if he has SOPHIA III or not. Jason on his own may not be all the threatening, especially if he doesn’t have Gun Energy, hehe.

 

Development took Almost no Time at All:

Miketendo64: And now back to Blaster Master Zero. How did development differ between the Switch and the 3DS version of Blaster Master Zero and how long did development take?

Matt Papa: We used our own in-house engine to develop the game, and the development itself took about 6-9 months. Since we used our in-house engine to create it for 3DS then ported it to Switch, so I guess you can say they didn’t really differ all that much.

Miketendo64: And purely for the sake of asking, was there a particular reason why Blaster Master Zero released in Japan first and then everywhere else 6 days later?

Matt Papa: Nothing that I can share unfortunately, but sometimes due to varying circumstances these things can happen.

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Switch & 3DS Differences and No Retail Release:

Miketendo64: Moving on, other than a lack of multiplayer for the 3DS version, in what other ways do the two versions of Blaster Master vary and is there any chance of a physical release?

Matt Papa: The other main differences between the Switch and 3DS versions of Blaster Master Zero are the fact that you can obviously play the Switch on a big TV screen, and the HD Rumble compatibility. A physical release would be super awesome, but we’re not at that point right now. Again, this falls into that “never say never” category, so while I personally would love for this to happen, there’s a lot of factors that go into making a physical version that we will continue to look at in the coming months. 


Sunsoft Did Retain some Involvement with Blaster Master Zero:

Miketendo64: Being as though Blaster Master was originally developed by Tokai Engineering and published by Sunsoft, just how did you go about getting the permission to make Zero and did either company have any involvement with the development of Blaster Master Zero?

Matt Papa: We acquired the license to the original NES game from Sunsoft, and while we had the license it’s still their IP, so there was plenty of communication between us and them. As for getting the OK to make it, I remember speaking with the Sunsoft guys back at E3 2015, and then the powers that be did the needful, and voila, we are able to start working on the game!


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No Spoilers, but Inti will Release 2 more Switch games in 2017:

Miketendo64: Now Inti has teased two more titles for Switch, with announcements to come later on this year, so while I won’t ask outright if you can tell us what these games are, could you at least be a little more specific about when these announcements will come? And is there any chance you could tell us and our readers if these games are something we’ve seen before? (i.e. a remaster of another game released back in the day,) or they something new entirely?)

Matt Papa: Sorry, can’t give any details like that just yet, but we’re looking to release one this summer, and another towards the end of the year, so the announcements will come at the appropriate timing for those games. 

 

Working with Yacht Club Games:

Miketendo64: And now onto something other than Blaster Master focused. So when it was revealed you were working alongside with Yacht Club Games for Gunvolt, it came as something of a big surprise. How did Inti find the partnership? Would you ever work with them again and is there anyone else you would like to team up with someday?

Matt Papa: I originally met the Yacht Club Games team through other industry friends when some of them came to visit Japan for the release of Shovel Knight here. There’s a lot of mutual respect between our companies for the others’ games and the people that make them. Plus, you know, we just LOVE their games and they love ours too, hehe. Being that they knew what it was like to publish a physical version of a fantastic side-scrolling action game as an indie developer, it was a great fit.

Miketendo64: Indeed it was!

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Confessions of a Switch Owner:

Miketendo64: With the Switch out and about, cementing its place in this world, what is Inti’s opinion of the new console and what do you personally think about it?

Matt Papa: We have the pleasure of being an official Nintendo Switch development partner, so needless to say, we love the Switch! As for personally, I own one as well, and I have been playing a lot of Breath of the Wild, Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, and of course, Blaster Master Zero! As for what I’m looking forward to, I am super hyped for Splatoon 2!

 

A Message for the Fans:

Miketendo64: And because there’s always time for a final question, is there anything you/Inti would like to say to your enormous fanbase?

Matt Papa: Thank you all so much for supporting our games! Part of my job is to be the English speaking face of the company, and seeing so much positivity out there for Blaster Master Zero not only warms my heart, but it gives me the boost that we all need to keep giving it 100% day in and day out. We are by no means done with Blaster Master Zero, so we hope you enjoy what we still have in store for the game!

 

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Matt, it was my distinct pleasure to have been able to talk to you like this, so soon after thoroughly enjoying Blaster Master Zero. It is a delightful title on Switch and I am really looking forwards to what Inti Creates comes out with next and with Summer not that far around the corner, the wait is not a long one!

 

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