Prepare for challenge again! The noble knight Arthur embarks on a new adventure to save the princess from the demon realm in Ghosts’ n Goblins Resurrection, coming to PlayStation 4 (and backward compatible with PlayStation 5) on June 1.
About 35 years ago, the first Ghosts’ n Goblins made their arcade debut. Few of the players knew what to expect as they kicked off that first quarter into the machine, and fewer still could have guessed that beating the game would set them up for a macabre surprise; the game was not over until you completed it a second time after a brutal second loop of the game.
The difficult legacy of Ghosts’ n Goblins has earned the franchise a reputation for difficulty over the years, but for this entry, we’ve kept the challenge alive while making the game a lot more accessible. Not only are there several difficulty modes that cater to players of all skill levels, but we’ve also included a series first: two-player local co-op.
To shed some light on the decision to give this traditionally single-player experience a two-player twist, we sat down with the game’s chief producer, Yoshiaki Hirabayashi (aka “H”). Best known for his work on the Resident Evil franchise, H was kind enough to tell us about the birth of this mode.
“The local cooperative mode was an idea that existed from the early stages of the development phase and was brought up by Director Tokuro Fujiwara,” says Mr. Hirabayashi. Longtime Capcom fans might recognize this name – Mr. Fujiwara was also the director of the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and also returned to direct Ghosts’ n Goblins Resurrection.
“The first time the format and goals of this mode were presented by director Fujiwara, I felt it was spectacular and I wanted to make it happen,” says Mr. Hirabayashi.
When you consider how long the franchise has been a strictly solo affair, it begs the question: what made this moment a good time to add co-op?
“This PI has been enjoyed by many players for over 35 years, and those who played previous titles can now have children of their own,” says Hirabayashi. Mr. Hirabayashi recalls that the entire development team was excited about the idea of cooperative mode, hoping this addition would allow the game to transcend generations and provide a great way for longtime fans to share this arcade-style experience. with their children. or even family and friends who may be new to the platforms.
“Of course, it was a challenge for us to prepare this mode, because we knew that there was going to be certain expectations since this is the first title in the series that supports this kind of gameplay,” explains Mr. Hirabayashi. “Getting over the difficulty of the game while having fun playing and communicating with your friend or loved one is a whole new concept, and we weren’t sure how players were going to react to that.”
Despite these concerns, Mr Fujiwara seemed confident in his inclusion and the joy it would bring to players young and old.
“When director Fujiwara first explained the concept of this cooperative mode to me, I remember imagining how fun it would be to enjoy this game with my child,” says Hirabayashi. “I was very excited about it!”
Of course, Ghosts’ n Goblins is known more for its difficulty than most other games of its time (and even games today), and the team took that factor into account as well.
“From the start, the concept of cooperative mode was to provide a whole new unique experience of single player, so there was no need to balance it against the difficulty of the standard experience,” says Mr. Hirabayashi. “The point of this mode is to have two players having fun working together to overcome a challenge, and balancing the difficulty was not a high priority.”
In other words, the point of this mode wasn’t to create an experience that would be difficult for two players, but rather to make the game fun for two people to enjoy together. It brings a different feel to the game while not removing the single player challenge it offers.
“With that in mind, we designed the support characters to be flexible in terms of functionality and helpful when it comes to helping Arthur,” says Mr. Hirabayashi. “We hope that when players experience this mode, they can relax and have fun talking and working together.”
Speaking of those supporting characters, there are three in total: Barry, Kerry, and Archie. As their names might suggest, these dynamic helpers each serve a different purpose when it comes to helping Arthur. However, it’s not just aids – there’s a bit of history, too.
“The Three Wise Men are Arthur’s ancestors and, given their role as assistants who help him, we thought this was the most appropriate way to include them,” says Mr. Hirabayashi.
Considering that they are his ancestors, you might want to take a closer look at their ways. “Each sage has their own design, but if you look at them closely, don’t you think they look a bit like Arthur?” Mr. Hirabayashi asks.
Along with their designs, special attention has also been paid to the way each one plays. Each of Arthur’s ancestors has their own unique skills, adding a new layer to cooperative gameplay.
“One important thing to note is that the functionality of the Three Wise Guys is different from what Arthur is capable of,” says Mr. Hirabayashi. “Our intention was to provide a whole new experience that single player cannot offer, and to give players a way to develop fun ideas that are only available in co-op mode.”
Oddly enough, Mr. Fujiwara always seems to have a somewhat mischievous approach to game design – even for those elements of the game that should be friendly in the hands of two players playing side by side.
“From the start we’ve been talking about this as a co-op mode, but the director has always expected that there will be some players who will think of fun ways to play this mode that aren’t necessarily” cooperatives, ”says Mr. Hirabayashi. “For example, Kerry is a character who literally wears Arthur, but that doesn’t always mean he’s going to put Arthur on solid ground. A cooperative partner with a mischievous mind can ultimately become an obstacle, making the game feel more like a single player mode with another troublesome foe standing in your way! “
True to Ghosts’ n Goblins, even having someone else join you in co-op can still be part of the challenge. Turns out there are things worse than a Red Arremer, and they could be sitting right next to you on the couch. Perhaps more importantly, Mr. Hirabayashi envisions people finding their own ways to profit from cooperation in unexpected ways.
“We designed the supporting characters this way on purpose,” says Hirabayashi. “A fun way we thought players might enjoy the game is that players controlling Arthur try to complete a stage within a certain amount of time, and the ‘support’ character is preventing him from reaching his goal. For seasoned veterans playing with newly christened knights, finding unique ways to use cooperative mode is a great way to find fun new ways to enjoy the game together.
I would like to warmly thank Mr. Hirabayashi for taking the time to answer our questions about the co-op mod! And co-op isn’t the only way to enjoy the game. With multiple difficulty modes, you’ll be able to enjoy the game at a pace that suits you and explore all that Ghosts’ n Goblins Resurrection has to offer. After all, it wouldn’t be a GnG game if the game ended after the first part, right?
Be sure to grab your throwing spear and a co-op buddy to play with – or against – and get ready to challenge again when Ghosts’ n Goblins Resurrection hits PS4 on June 1!