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Exclusive Q&A interview with Hucast Games regarding Ghost Blade HD
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Exclusive Q&A interview with Hucast Games regarding Ghost Blade HD

by Neil Watton (neil363)March 1, 2017

Ghost Blade HD has recently released on Xbox One, promising to bring bullet hell to the lives of all Xbox One gamers. You’ll need fast eyes, fast hands and even faster reflexes in order to beat something which has quite obviously been inspired by the classic shoot em ups of yesteryear.

Our review tells you exactly how good Ghost Blade HD is and as we were so taken by it, thought it would be great to get an even deeper insight into the game – so we grabbed René Hellwig, one of the game designers for a little chat.

Please introduce yourself – what is your role on Ghost Blade HD and at Hucast Games?

I’m René Hellwig, I’m the graphic and game designer of Ghost Blade HD. I developed the game with Daniel and 2Dream.

So, sell it to us…why should Xbox One gamers buy Ghost Blade HD?

Ghost Blade HD is the perfect game to test your reflexes and skills, it’s a cool Bullet-Hell shooter with beautiful graphics.

It seems as though Ghost Blade HD has been heavily inspired by some classic shooters – which influenced you the most?

Yeah, the game is indeed inspired by the classic Soldier Blade series – it had a big influence on the game. However, Ghost Blade HD is a modern Bullet-Hell game that doesn’t fear the competition.

How does Ghost Blade HD differ from the various other top down SHMUPs currently available?

The game gameplay rewards the risk you take. The closer you get to big enemies the more points you will earn when you blow them up – it’s intense.

What is the story about how Ghost Blade arrived on Xbox One? Why has there been such a gap between the Dreamcast version and this one?

We finished the Dreamcast version in September 2015 and started the HD port afterwards. It took several months to polish the gameplay to make sure that Ghost Blade HD is the best version.

How long would you expect the average gamer to be spending with Ghost Blade HD?

That’s hard to say, but I’d say around 4 hours. The addictive score system will guarantee some replayability. You can spend many hours on it until you finally beat it on a single credit clear. And afterwards there is always HARD Mode!

Achievements are a huge part of an Xbox One gamers life, with cleverly created ones giving us a reason to go back to a game time and time again. Could you tell us about the cheevos found in Ghost Blade – are they unlocked solely via progression or will we be seeing some that involve a bit of work?

We have 37 achievements in this game. Some are easy, others are difficult to unlock. I hope gamers will enjoy unlocking these.

What will draw veterans of Ghost Blade towards the Xbox One version? Is there any extra, exclusive content included?

We have new enemies in this port. Also the difficulty increased, the game is a challenge now. Though, the game is identical to PS4 and STEAM version.

Bullet hell isn’t something that all gamers can relate to, have you put in any gameplay aspects which can make it easier for those concerned by its hellish nature?

Yeah, the game features an easy mode with auto-bombing for novice players. The first stage is quite a breeze that anyone can beat, and the more you play the more credits you earn!

Similarly, anything to test the very best reflexes?

Yes. Especially the Boss enemy patterns, they are quite tricky! You will die a lot! 😀

We understand that there is a local co-op option in place – were you ever considering a full online mode to allow friends across the globe to play together? If so, why didn’t it make the cut and is it something we could possibly see in the future?

To be honest, network-play is very complex, so we decided for local co-op.

A great soundtrack is something that many ignore, but when done right, can push gamers along delightfully. Could you tell us more about the work done by Rafael Dyll in getting the optimum audio score?

The Soundtrack is based on the heydays of Japanese shmups and arcade sounds: Composer Rafael Dyll has already scored several console games and returns to his signature sound with the music featured in Ghost Blade HD. Fusing J-Pop influences and typical 90s synths with modern production values, Rafael provides an action-packed soundtrack with catchy leads and electronic beats.

How much fun did you have in creating the huge boss enemies that are included? How did you settle on the final versions and were many cut from action?

I had tons of fun! You know, the weak point of the Dreamcast version was that Bosses were easy to trick. This doesn’t work anymore this time around!

So, what’s the next avenue for you as a development team? Will we ever be seeing a sequel to Ghost Blade HD, or is something totally different in the pipeline?

We have more plans for Ghost Blade HD and I’m working on a new secret game project that isn’t revealed yet. Stay tuned!

Many thanks go out to René for taking the time out to answer our questions. You can pick up Ghost Blade HD right now from the Xbox Games Store. It’s well worth a shot. 

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About The Author
Neil Watton (neil363)
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One. A massive racing fan, Forza 4 was the daddy of all Xbox titles but Forza Horizon 3 now trumps that. Online first person shooters are my hell....probably because my reactions are so poor, but give me a little Indie title and I'll be in heaven. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.