東方大乱闘 Touhou Super Smash Battles
The “Touhou Project” or “Touhou Series” is the name given to a collection of over 20 installments of content spanning consoles, manga and audio entertainment since 1996. Made famous by Zun’s Team Shanghai Alice the award winning series has since spawned dozens of fan projects, literature and animation, aswell as a multitude of games around the world. The original creator ZUN is privy to this phenomenon and actively supports this Touhou expansion from contributing authors world wide giving substantial opportunity to those committed to Touhou. Developers of these connected products are free under very little restriction limiting what can be accomplished, and what they can in fact use to do it. Creators are free to illustrate new story additions, resurrect past characters, and even cross content with untapped genres and Touhou together creating new fun and experiences for the characters within Touhou’s impressive history.
Three brothers powering the core of awesome indie development studio From Soy Sauce have been hard at work throughout 2014 bringing new software in the name of Touhou, home to Nintendo’s console officially! Their ambitious title Touhou Super Smash Battles aims to give enthusiasts of Nintendo’s flagship brawler a taste of east Asian culture with a whole spectrum of Touhou influences from throughout the series past. Today, the staff at From Soy Sauce behind the new 2015 Wii U title have agreed to throw back the curtain as the Nintendo community prepares for Touhou Super Smash Battles’ eShop release this year!
NOTE The talent here today is still in discussion regarding the details of a Wii U installment with ZUN. All indications are he encourages console distribution and it is VERY likely Nintendo gamers will get “YES”, so don’t fret!
also PLEASE if anyone wants to help make this game faster you can help make history:
AN INDEPENDANT AND DOUJIN GAME DEV TEAM
Randy: Thank you very much for your valuable time with us! Before we jump in Touhou Super Smash Battles, can you introduce the talent at team FSS?
Saijee Higuchi: My name is Saijee Higuchi, I am the director, programmer, and character designer for this project. Kuni Higuchi is an animator and stage designer. Ken Higuchi is lead music composer and alpha tester. However, all three members do a little of everything to keep tabs on quality and recommend fixes.
Randy: Have you worked with each other before?
Saijee Higuchi: Ever since our first produced work, “Bullet Life” from 2010, we have always worked together to make games. We are just three brothers who fell in love with the Super Smash Bros series and have always wanted to make our own version of it.
Randy: Which past Touhou games did you guys source in content featured in the upcoming Wii U game?
Saijee Higuchi: So far: Touhou 1: Highly Responsive to Prayers Touhou, 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Touhou, 7: Perfect Cherry Blossom Touhou, 7.5: Immaterial and Missing Power Touhou, 12.3: Unthinkable Natural Law Touhou, 13.5: Hopeless Masquerade, Touhouvania: Scarlet Symphony, and Touhouvania II : Stranger’s Requiem!
Randy: When did development officially begin for the new game?
Saijee Higuchi: August 18, 2014
Randy: Is Touhu Super Smash Battles canon to ZUN Touhou Melee project?
Saijee Higuchi: There actually was never a “ZUN” Touhou Melee Project, though like with every other Touhou Game not made by ZUN (Super Marisa Land, Touhouvania, Megamari, Touhou Sky Arena, etc) this game isn’t canon.
Randy: Will competitive players skilled in the Smash arts feel comfortable with the Touhou Smash experience?
Saijee Higuchi: Yes, TSSB’s controls are highly inspired by Super Smash Bros Melee and the Brawl Mod: Project M. Accomplishing character balance is the single highest priority for this project, very closely followed authentic portrayal of the characters in the roster for a vast “dynamic range”(Masahiro Sakurai).
Randy: If possible will TSSB support the USB Multitap for GCN Controllers?
Saijee Higuchi: Yes
Randy: Nice. That makes you possibly the first indie to make use of the peripheral!
Randy: What outside inspirations have you integrated with Touhou? Any familiar mechanics from other fighters?
Saijee Higuchi: Touhou combines natures from the official Smash Bros series and the natures of popular smash bros fan projects such as: Brawl Minus, Balanced Brawl, and Project M, along with Touhou’s unique projectile dynamics, and other things found in general doujin games. To name some significant smash mechanics: From SSBM: Wave Dash, L-Cancle, Wave Land, Moon Walk From SSBB: Dash Attack Cancle Up Smash
Randy: What play modes will be available?
Saijee Higuchi: Vs player up to 8. Stock, Time, Stock-Time, Team, Asymmetrical Team: Battles, set up so that every team has a collective number of stock, but the number of players per team can be different. You could have a 1 v 7 match if you wanted, where the 1 guy would be given 7 times as many stock as the others. We would actually really like to see this used in competitive tournament play where players can enter with a team up of to 4. It would yield interesting results seeing 4v4, 4v3, 4v2, 4v1, 1v1, 2v2, or anything in between. Break the Targets Board the Platforms, each done with a stage designed specifically for the characters as was done in SSB64 and SSBM. Classic Mode: Done much like it was in Super Smash Bros 64. Adventure Mode: An original story that revolves around only 3 (maybe 5) playable characters with maps designed specifically for their abilities. This game would actually play a lot more similarly to a Power-up gaining Metroid experience than SSBB’s subspace game.
Randy: Will Online have any special features?
Saijee Higuchi: We hope to include that, but realistically we will not likely be able to get anything better than what appears on Super Smash Bros 3DS in terms of game flow and lag. If we can get online play to work, we will probably allow players to attempt an 8 player session, even if that won’t run smoothly on the hardware.
Randy: How many stages should we anticipate?
Saijee Higuchi: This is directly proportional to how much people want this and how many people want this project during the course of its’ development. The base number of stages is 15 and the max is 23.
Randy: Have you decided the amount of playable characters?
Saijee Higuchi: Much like the case with the stages, but the base number is 15, the max is 26.
Randy: The combo system is deeper than Nintendo’s, have you guys expanded in other areas also?
Saijee Higuchi: Yes, that is because this game very much literally marry’s the gameplay of SSBM/PM with Touhou Unthinkable Natural Law. Unthinkable Natural law had mechanics such as: Semi-Charged Smash Attacks are Guard, Breakers, Free Flight, Slow Falling (like fast falling, but the opposite) A Nair that connects can be canceled into any other aerial. Spell Cards: Attacks that shoot stuff all over the place, though in Touhou they were very much just like an ordinary fighting games “Super Moves” but more pretty looking. In this game They are attacks that are of a decent strength, but never capable of killing, they are to be used to briefly take over an area of the stage to make better opportunities for combos. Since Touhou is a game about flying characters, we wanted to make a more expanded way that players can express air combos. An Aerial that connects can be canceled with a double jump (this was something we decided from playing Project M, when landing Link’s D-air in turbo mode and immediately double jumping back to the stage as if bouncing. ) when combined with the previously mentioned free flight (which we decided to turn into more of a gentle floating levitation) you will actually gain additional flight time if you connect air attacks!
There are also mechanics that are going to go for each character that allow them to cancel specific attacks into other animations similar to SSBM wave-shine. Though in this game, such abilities are balanced by making it so that if you decided to do them, then you are left unable to use a special move for a couple of seconds. So you must carefully decide when to use them. Another mechanic not native to Smash Bros, is that characters also have innate magical abilities. In many video games, such abilities tend to be called “specials” or “skills” and may require a complicated input, but we decided that theoretically, it wouldn’t be hard to do such things if you were that character, because if you were that character, you’d be good at doing it.
Like with the rest of the game, we are after trying to make the players forget that they are even holding a controller, they shouldn’t need to think “XdownALdownBZLeft” they should just need to think “I want to do *that* combo” For one character, Sakuya, she is a master of space and time, so she has the ability to make the knives that she has thrown return to her whenever she wants. For another character, Reimu, ZUN has said she has the ability to “float out of existance” so we interpreted that as, if you perform a D-air or U-air while using flight, she will vanish until just right before the attack comes out. This game is designed to require much less precise input for executing attacks, and thus allowing players who are less skilled a better chance to pull of longer more interesting combos. Wave Dash has its’ own dedicated button. Holding the C Stick makes it so that you will perpetually smash as soon as you can, repeatedly until you let it go. Similarly, upon executing a tilt, as long as you hold the A button down you will continue to perform new tilts appropriate to the direction you are holding the stick.
Every character also has an air block(moves identical to SSBB) in addition to their air dodge (moves like SSBM). Every character also comes with 3 standard air grabs (side, up, down). As well as an absolutely new mechanic: Wake-Up Grab. Final Smashes are also something that are worked into the character’s balance. Though, they work very different than in Smash Bros. Once the match begins you can do your final smash whenever you want by pressing L+B. However you can only do it one time per match, and it has a charging animation. If you get interrupted during that animation, it is gone forever, so you must carefully pull it out. Attacks with longer charges will tend to be more devastating.
Randy: Sounds incredible! Was it difficult deciding which Touhou moves and spells you wanted to carry over?
Saijee Higuchi: Not really, at least not yet in development. So far we have only worked on characters who have a huge amount of stuff to work with, there were times when we actually run out of attacks to work with and needed to make up stuff as far as melee attacks goes. However, Touhou characters are all about shooting, and each have tons of ways to shoot, so we could not do with only 4 special moves. As such characters tend to have some extra special moves that are dependent on if you are in the air or on the ground.
Randy: You guys seemed to be very efficient and quick creating software for Wii U. How did you guys find working with the Nintendo hardware up to this point?
Saijee Higuchi: We have not run into any issues working with Nintendo Hardware yet. However we are not doing anything that is particularly challenging for Nintendo’s Hardware.
Randy: Is there any customization players can explore in changing the way Touhou Smash is played?
Saijee Higuchi: We are fans of the Armored Core franchise, so we know how much fun customization can be. But as far as such a thing goes for a game as complicated as Smash Bros, and with our priority being to balance the characters, it is highly unlikely that we will explore customization for this project.
Randy: The music is awesome! Is there any new tracks exclusive to this game?
Saijee Higuchi: Currently all tracks are rearranges of official Touhou music, however in the end there will be some original tracks.
Randy: How does Touhou Smash differentiate itself from traditional Smash?
Saijee Higuchi: Since it combines the gameplay with Touhou’s fighting games, we wanted to make it so that some of the combos that could be done in Touhou were just as viable for this game. As such there are quite a lot of attacks that are not affected by smash bros’s damage ratio system. This also goes to say that it borrows a bigger theme of air based combat and waves of projectiles. I think it is might be fair to say that our version of Sakuya would appear very broken when comparing her using melee standards. But even with that said, it is important to remember that this game is designed around those new mechanics; those new mechanics are not simply things added on top of melee’s established mechanics, they are both bent into ways that allows them to coexist such that this game doesn’t become all about Melee or all about Shooting.
Randy: How far from release are you guys?
Saijee Higuchi: We Estimate an initial release between October 2015 or Feburary 2016.
Randy: Will this launch in NA first?
Saijee Higuchi: Yes, for the first time ever, a Touhou game game, and a Smash Bros Game for that matter that gets an NA launch first.
Randy: How committed are you to fine tuning certain aspects after launch with updates?
Saijee Higuchi: Updates will be a very important part of this game.
Randy: Any DLC plans in the future?
Saijee Higuchi: Updates will likely include balances, stages, and characters. DLC will be for additional adventures and alt costumes.
Randy: What’s next for From Soy Sauce? Is Nintendo hardware in the cards of future development for your studio?
Saijee Higuchi: We have plans to make a project I can’t talk about, but also a reboot of our 2014 horror adventure title “Glass Wing”. The reboot will be designed to fully utilize the hardware unique to the Wii U. It will not be a simple recreation of Glass Wing, the original was done as a speedy 1 month project and thus is very rough around the edges and not nearly as fleshed out as far as story and depth of gameplay as we plan to bring to the Wii U. If Possible we would also like to reboot classic some of the classic Doujin Horror games onto the Wii U such as Ib and The Witch’s House.
Randy: FANTASTIC! Before you leave, what advice could you offer the young developers entering the industry striving to making a name for themselves today?
Saijee Haguchi: 1: Fail fast! Perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that if you have an idea for an epic game you want to make, it shouldn’t be the first game you make. If you have an awesome idea for a game and want it to be experienced by more people, it is not a bad idea to try to grow your audience first.
2. Learn how to make progress. One of my good friends Rosina “Yal” Wildros is an incredibly fast game developer, at some point she got me hooked on the practice of making games for game Jams. And that has taught me how to be efficient with my time as a developer. Short game jams is a great way to quickly learn your strengths and weaknesses as a game developer.
Randy: Thank you very much for sharing, the game looks great! Cant wait to play it
Saijee Higuchi: Thanks!