January 12th, 2007, 20:58 Posted By: wraggster
GameCube’s dead? Not to publisher O3 Entertainment, which is publishing a new GameCube shoot ‘em up. O3 tells Next-Gen backwards compatibility offers small publishers low-risk opportunities.
Outside of still strong sales of the PlayStation 2, the industry has its eyes fixed on the new generation of consoles. But with backwards compatibility, small publishers can take advantage of the install base of both old and new console generations, and in theory make more sales.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based O3 will be publishing the GameCube game Radio Allergy, a title developed by Japan’s Milestone studio, which is also responsible for another O3-published shoot ‘em up, 2005’s Chaos Field. The company describes its upcoming vertical-scrolling shooter as “a modern day revival to the classic arcade style shooters like Gradius and R-Type.”
O3 product marketing manager Mike Pepe told Next-Gen that backwards compatibility gives publishers additional venues to make more sales, thanks to a larger compatible hardware userbase.
He added, “With the prices that you can sell a GameCube title for, it’s a lot more reasonable currently than going with the Wii, which of course is a lot more expensive for us to garner [titles for] and also a lot more expensive for the customer to buy.”
It’s not a strategy that larger publishers may necessarily be interested in, but for small, more specialized companies like O3, it just might make sense. The earlier Chaos Field had respectable sales of 15-20,000 units, according to Pepe—not bad for an import-focused publisher with only seven employees.
While O3 is quick to point out that Radio Allergy is compatible with the wildly popular Wii, backwards compatibility isn’t the only reason O3 is bringing a game to Nintendo’s fading GameCube.
“There’s still a large following for shmups [shoot ‘em up games] on the GameCube,” said Pepe. “We’ve actually been prodded a lot by the fan base out there to put one out.”
A version of Radio Allergy also appeared in Japan on the Dreamcast, and is known as Radilgy (or Radirgy or Rajirugi). News of a GameCube version surfaced in late December, with O3 confirming the game today with an official announcement.
Perhaps the most notable GameCube shmup is Treasure’s Ikaruga, published by Atari in 2003. The cult classic is regarded as one of the most elegant, insanely challenging tributes to arcade-style shmups.
Radio Allergy is set to launch in February for $19.99.
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