Embracer Group announced earlier today that it has acquired both the Swedish studio Bitwave Games and the Japanese company Tatsujin (led by Masahiro Yuge) with the intention to port classic Toaplan arcade games to Steam. And now, thanks to Bitwave Games, we know that the first two of these titles will be the sidescrolling shooter Zero Wing and the run-and-gunner Out Zone.
Zero Wing is perhaps best known to western players today as that "All Your Bases Belong To Us" game, due to its poorly translated European port for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, but is well regarded among Toaplan's back catalog for its classic soundtrack and Giger-esque visuals.
The game is already getting a rerelease from Evercade, as part of Toaplan 1, out later this year. You can also play the Sega Mega Drive version on Nintendo Switch if you're a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscriber.
Out Zone, meanwhile, is slightly lesser known, making it a perfect game for this kind of rerelease. It was previously made available for the iiRcade and as a pack-in title for Sega's Astro City Mini V, but a Steam release will likely help it reach a much larger new audience.
Both games will be ported in-house at Bitwave Games by senior developer Carl-Henrik Skårstedt, who helped create the Shark arcade emulator twenty-three years ago for Toaplan arcade titles.
He told Time Extension:
"It’s about making it easier to find the games. We also want to add some more modern features. Both us and Tatsujin feel there should be an easier mode so that you can train yourself on the games. And right now, for example, I’m also working on scanlines, which is really weird and interesting to get right. There are obviously achievements and leaderboards too.
"I’m having a lot of fun with the leaderboards and adding things like ‘How many enemies did you kill to get that score?’ and ‘How many bullets have you shot?' So we can kind of compare other things and not just the score."
You can find more details about the games, such as where to buy them, at the following links: Zero Wing and Out Zone. And you also can read more about Embracer's recent acquisition spree on its website. This includes the announcement of 'Embracer Freemode' - the eleventh operative group comprised of gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer.
What is your opinion on this latest bit of industry news? Are you excited to see more Toaplan titles get re-released?