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"Father" of Strider talks Moon Diver

Loves Portal, films, has regrets.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Game developers should resist the temptation to reproduce the techniques used by filmmakers when trying to replicate emotion and storytelling.

That's the advice from Koichi Yotsui, the creator of classic 2D side-scrolling action game Strider and, more recently, downloadable PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade game Moon Diver.

Yotsui, who was drafted in by Square Enix producer Takehiro Ando as director of Moon Diver, is famous for his love of films. As a student he studied them.

"Just like Shakespeare would try to improve the power of his language to build a believable world for his plays, filmmakers aim to use visual language and imagery to portray emotion and storytelling," Yotsui told Eurogamer.

"It's all linked to the technical side of the medium used.

"The same can be said about game creators. We use game technology to incessantly try and improve our ability to express ourselves and create. While films and games both strive to reach these goals, I don't think it would be the right kind of ambition if we were to target reproducing the same way of expression already used by films."

Yotsui pointed to Valve's 2007 first-person hit Portal as a shining example of engaging players in a very video game way.

"It's set in an amazing world which uses the specific rules and system of the game to create a completely believable setting. The objects and characters are simply designed and interesting," he offered.

"Sadly there was no Japanese version available to play, so I found it difficult to follow the whole storyline. However, the overall game was a real 'experience' and that's what I think is important."

The fondly remembered Strider was first released in Japanese arcades in 1989, and was one of Capcom's biggest hits before the launch of fighting game Street Fighter II.

The series didn't take off in the West, however, until SEGA ported the game to the Mega Drive.

Moon Diver is, according to Ando, a "21st century version" of Strider. It's downloadable, from the PlayStation Network today, supports online co-op for up to four players, and features role-playing elements, such as experience point gain and levelling up.

"Although Moon Diver has not been developed totally with inspiration taken from Strider or Osman [Yotsui's more recent 2D action game], it was definitely created by the same person and you will doubtlessly detect the fact from the way you feel as you play the game. "

Reflecting on the now 21-year-old Strider, Yotsui expressed regret at gameplay elements he might have made better.

"I'm always striving to make the best game I possibly can, and I'm my own worst critic," he said. "I often look and see things I'd like to have done better and this is what motivates me to always try harder next time. It's why I'm still working now rather than happily retired! Thank-you!"

Moon Diver is out now on PSN.

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