Their latest release is Akai Katana, having come out first in 2010 in Japanese arcades and available this month on Xbox 360 in Europe. We chat to director Hiroyuki Kimura about new features, the game's difficulty and Cave's approach to new platforms going forward.
How does Akai Katana differ from Cave's other shooters?
"It is the first classic vertical shooter that we have released in a while. We do not have very many authentic vertical shooters on our catalog. Deathsmiles was a bit different from the standard vertical shooters in the sense that you can shoot in different directions, etc."
What new features does this Xbox 360 edition offer over the arcade original?
"You can play the arcade version too but the main feature of the Xbox 360 version is the 'Slash mode', which has adopted completely different mechanics. It is the first 2D shooter we have developed that supports HD widescreen so we would really love for you to experience the intense combat in stunning graphics!"
This console version includes a new stage and boss. How do they differ from those already included from the arcade release?
"That's something that we want you to see for yourself but I can tell you that the bosses in this version are pretty tough to say the least."
Shoot-em-ups are renowned for their challenge. How does Akai Katana compare to Cave's other releases in this regard?
"Due to a feature in the game called 'phantomization', the title is definitely one of the easier ones in our catalog. Understanding how it works and fully utilising it will be the key to really enjoying the game. It may come off as a bit complex at start, but it is really worth mastering."
Were there any specific challenges in bringing Akai Katana to a console?
"Creating the game mechanics for the main feature of the game, 'Slash mode', has to have been the biggest challenge. Shooters generally have very simple mechanics so the whole impression of the game changes greatly depending on what's added to the basic mechanics."
Why specifically choose Xbox 360 for the platform of choice? Were other platforms considered?
"We believe that development on a familiar platform will allow for better quality of the final product, and since we wanted to deliver the game to the customers as soon as possible we did not consider releasing it on a platform other than Xbox 360."
New consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony are set to be released in the next few years. Do they interest you as a developer?
"They do interest me very much personally, but as a video game developer we do not have any plans of developing anything new for or porting our products onto those forthcoming future consoles at the moment."
Cave has recently embraced mobile devices such as the iPhone for its games. Are the 3DS and Vita platforms that you would also consider releasing games on?
"We do not have any plans at the moment for those either."
More Cave games are seeing a release in the West. How important is this market to Cave going forward?
"We have always been wanting to expand our products overseas, but since we have never released our titles directly in the West it is all up to finding a good publisher to collaborate with. As you can imagine, marketing and promotion play a big part in achieving success."
Akai Katana is available now on Xbox 360 in Europe, published by Rising Star Games.