Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Interview with Maasaki Kukino

Chase H.Q. is one of my favourite arcade games. I remember playing the sit down cabinet down the seaside with my Grandparents back in the late eighties. There had been a number of semi sequels and spin offs, but it wasn’t until 2007 that a true sequel was released, almost two decades later.


Produced by Gamewax, Chase H.Q.2 is great fun and an awesome modern update of the original. The game was designed by Maasaki Kukino, a true veteran in the arcade industry.


Chase H.Q.2 at the ATEI 2007 show in London.



Mr Kukino worked for Konami between 1986 and 2003, and his portfolio includes Haunted Castle, Crime Fighters, Asterix, Run and Gun, and Silent Scope. In 2003 Mr Kukino joined Gamewax and directed/designed Valve Limit, Akuma, and Chase H.Q.2. In 2007 Mr Kukino joined SNK Playmore and produced King of Fighters XII and XIII, left in 2011 to work for a Chinese games developer Wahlep Tec, and in 2013 returned to SNK Playmore. In 2015 he left the company again to work for video game developer Sotsu.

I recently got in touch with Mr Kukino and he has kindly agreed to answer some questions regarding Chase H.Q.2 and his time in the industry.

Dear Japan, Arcades & Gaming 

My name is Masaaki Kukino. 
Sorry for my late reply. 
I am pleased to answer you! 
Please check to the following answer.

What are your memories of the original Chase H.Q. arcade release?
I was working for Konami when original Chase H.Q. arcade was released. It's game concept was so amazing! It was not only a racing game, it was "a car chase game". Chase H.Q. was a threat to our game.

What led to the decision to make a sequel to Chase H.Q.?
TAITO decided. TAITO asked it to GAMEWAX.

How long was Chase H.Q.2 in development and how large was the development team?
It took approximately six months. But we were under development, TAITO largely changed the game design. The development team was 3 artists and 2 programmers.

Was there any input or involvement with developers of the original Chase H.Q.?
No.

Do you have any sketches or concept art for Chase H.Q.2 that you would be willing to share?
Sorry,Because we were given development in trust, TAITO owns all copyrights.

Were there any ideas which didn’t make it into the final game?
I had lots of ideas. I would like to make it more exiting and I want more impacts. But we had no time..... And when it was under development, I left GAMEWAX. I still regret it.

What was the most challenging aspect of making Chase H.Q.2.?
Car action such as the film.

I have read that there were different versions of Chase H.Q.2 released. Please can you verify this and tell us about the differences?
Sorry,I don't know.

How did you find living and working in London during your time with Gamewax?
When I worked for Konami, we planned making a video game studio in London. And a Japanese guy founded the company. I'd like to live in London again. Because London is so exciting and beautiful city for me. I love everything of UK. Even bad weather!

What are your favourite arcade and console games?
Hahaha! my games. SILENT SCOPEs, Crime Fighters, Asterix, Run and Gun, Winding Heat, Racing Jam...everything!

Of all the games you have produced, which one are you most proud of?
SILENT SCOPE!


Finally please can you tell us a little bit about the projects you a currently involved with.
I am making a mobile game. It is the 80s arcade beat'em-up style game with my pixel art. We will release it in Christmas! (2016)

This is the article about my new game. http://mag.mo5.com/actu/96357/enter-the-kaiju-la-revanche-du-beat-em-up-16-bit-sur-mobiles/


Regards,

Masaaki Kukino

Many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. And many thanks for producing so many excellent titles which I’m sure will be enjoyed by gamers for many years to come.

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