Sunsoft, a classic game publisher, will try again

Sunsoft, a classic game publisher, will try again ...

Sunsoft, well-known in the West for 8-bit video games such as Blaster Master, Batman, and Festers Quest, announced its intention to rerelease and develop video games in the future, starting with the Vampire Survivors-inspired Ikki Unite and the release of beloved retro games Gimmick! and Ufouria (known in Japan) for modern platforms.

Sunsoft is even hints at reintroducing Aero the Acro-Bat, the anthropomorphic bat that appeared in a pair of Sega Genesis and Super NES games at the peak of the console's mascot platformer.

Ikki Unite, the publisher's first game under the new direction, is a reimagining of Ikki, an arcade game (that later was ported to Nintendos Famicom), that follows a medieval Japanese farming village's uprising against its feudal ruler. It's unmistakably inspired, if not completely identical, to the smash hit Vampire Survivors from 2021.

Ikki Unite, according to Yuichi Ochi, the general manager of Sunsoft, is being built upon the Vampire Survivors game design and viral success in order to help establish a global awareness for the Ikki brand, which he admitted isn't well-known in Japan. (The Famicom port of Ikki is notorious for its poor quality, and is often the source of the blatant phrase kusoge, or shitty game, in the United States.)

Sunsoft hopes to bring these underdog games to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, while remaining just slightly better known than Ikki are Gimmick! (which received a Scandinavian release) and Hebereke (which received the NES title Ufouria: The Saga).

Ochi hopes to revive a number of Sunsoft-developed and published games that were cult classics in Japan, but that never made it to the West. Other titles are being developed by Sunsoft internally, but others are being developed by outside studios.

So why do Sunsoft reintroduce itself now, years after its first attempt to make games? Quite simply, business is good for Sunsoft's parent company Sun Corporation, and the electronics company is looking to reinvest in making games, according to Ochi. Ochi himself is relatively new to the company, having joined Sunsoft in July 2021, after stints at Capcom and other gaming companies in Japan and Taiwan.

Sunsoft is claiming its back with a recognizable vintage name, a back catalog of underexploited goods, and now an official VTuber named Sunsoft Nosuke to relay the good news about games like Gimmick! to a worldwide audience.