Clock Tower
Image: Human Entertainment

By now you've probably seen news of the enhanced port of Clock Tower, in collaboration between Limited Run Games, WayForward, and Sunsoft. We rather enjoy the game here at Time Extension, and have covered it before. Given this news we also thought it the perfect time to write a Making Of feature, documenting the original game's creation for the Super Famicom in 1995. It helps that we know its original director, Hifumi Kouno.

For those who've not heard the name before, Kouno-san makes for one heck of a great interviewee. He speaks his mind, is open with answers, shows humility when discussing his works, and cracks a good joke too - all between regular smoke breaks. He exudes cool, from his collection of cult movie posters to the fact the kanji for his first name literally means 1-2-3. Plus he's responsible for cult classics such as Clock Tower, Infinite Space, and Steel Battalion, and in later years even created a spiritual successor to Clock Tower in the form of NightCry. He seemed both amused and pleased his games were enjoyed outside of Japan, and also once used his contacts in the TV industry to arrange for this author to appear in a documentary by Fuji Television.

Like we said, Hifumi Kouno is a cool guy.

Author & Hifumi Kouno
Kouno-san and this article's author — Image: John Szczepaniak

So naturally we sent him an email asking for his thoughts about this enhanced Clock Tower port. Finally, for the first time, his game would officially reach a wider audience outside of Japan. Any comments would be a nice way of finishing off the Making Of feature we're currently writing. Strangely, though, he eventually responded stating that he was completely unaware of the game...

"Thanks for your email. Glad to hear you are doing well. Regarding the Clock Tower remake, I have not heard anything about this project and am not involved in it. I also do not know what it will be like. So I cannot comment on this project. Because I think it would be strange for a completely unrelated person to comment on another company's game, without having been asked to do so by that company. I'm sorry I'm not able to meet your expectations."

Wait a minute? The director of the original game, the man who envisioned the entire thing, wasn't even contacted by anyone? You've all seen the nearly three-minute announcement video, the one where the team speaks passionately about the original. It's not like Kouno-san is difficult to track down - he's head of his own company, NudeMaker.

We don't know about you, but this feels kind of weird. More weird than someone commenting on another company's game. Imagine if the director of the original gave a detailed interview for the game, or a director's commentary which could be played over the game itself? Imagine if after seeing some of the game's endings, as a nice post-game bonus, you could activate this commentary track and then, in specific rooms or situations, there'd be a button icon you could press, and a short video would pause the action where Kouno-san talks about it.

Yet he didn't even know the game was being worked on.

Suddenly things get a little uncomfortable - our making contact was to celebrate his creative achievement, but instead it feels like we've just stepped on eggshells. So, we send him a message apologising and, as a testament to his jovial personality, Kouno-san replies: "Don't worry about it, it's perfectly fine. I am a creator, and I am now fully committed to creating new works of art!"

It's a strange turn of events, but we'll still keep you updated on news of the enhanced port. We'll also be bringing you a Making Of feature soon as well, where Kouno-san describes his career at Human Entertainment, creating the original Clock Tower, and also its spiritual successor NightCry.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the enhanced port? Post them in the comments below.

Kouno and Game
Image: John Szczepaniak