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Shenmue Dojo Air Twister Interview with Yu Suzuki

Posted on September 13, 2023 at 12:00 PM BST

We’re proud to present a world first, small written interview with the master himself, Yu Suzuki, discussing his upcoming multi-platform release of Air Twister. We’d like to thank Mr Suzuki for his time and Joel Tess for arranging and translating this for us!

Hello Suzuki-san! Firstly, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for agreeing to conduct this interview with us. We want to congratulate everyone involved with the upcoming multi-platform release of Air Twister, and we hope that the game achieves the highest level of success! Let’s get sweaty!

Before the development of Air Twister, what inspired you to dive back into the rail shooter genre?

It all started when I visited Apple headquarters and we were talking about the possibility of creating a title for Apple Arcade that could be played over and over again, just like a good old arcade game.

Air Twister has been compared to your classic title Space Harrier. Given the changes in technology since then, what modern technology did you want to implement within Air Twister when developing the game?

Since we developed the game using the Unreal 4 game engine, we put a lot of time and effort into getting the most out of new effects, physics and other features.

One standout feature of Air Twister is the game’s touch screen controls on Apple products. Did you look at how other games had implemented this idea during the development of Air Twister?

I was able to put to good use previous experience from production of a game called Psy-Phi. Of course, I researched different smartphone touchscreen interfaces as well.

Will the Nintendo Switch version utilise the touch screen or motion controls?

You will be able to use the controller and touchscreen controls.

Have you upgraded the control system at all to utilise the joypad controller-based systems?

We used a joypad controller quite a lot during development, so it almost like we changed over from the controller to touchscreen controls.

What inspired the overall artistic presentation of Air Twister?

The movie The NeverEnding Story and Michael Parkes’ artwork.

A game’s soundtrack is almost as important as the visuals. How did you come to work with Valensia and his music? – we think that the soundtrack works so well!

I have been a fan of Valensia for a long time and thought his music just went so well with fantasy. When we had the Air Twister prototype in hand, I matched it up with some of Valensia’s songs and was convinced it was the best fit. And while I didn’t know if he was still active as an artist, I looked him up on social media to get in touch. I introduced myself and straight out said I wanted to work with him.

Air Twister launched successfully on Apple Arcade in 2022 and was met with good reception from fans. Was it always the plan to bring Air Twister to other platforms?

Yes, it was always the plan to go multi-platform. Once the exclusivity period with Apple ended, I knew I wanted to go multiplatform so more people could enjoy the game.

Did you see a huge demand from people on social media asking if it would eventually come over to consoles?

I think the biggest demand was from classic arcade game fans!

The game is being published by ININ Games who have an excellent track record with a variety of well-known franchises. How did the relationship with ININ Games begin, ultimately leading to their collaboration with YSNET to publish Air Twister?

United Games Entertainment approached us first. I could tell their attitude towards Air Twister was very enthusiastic and they were ready to go, so we asked them to be our worldwide publisher and signed with their label, ININ.

Will the console version of Air Twister ship with all of the modes and updates previously released on the Apple Arcade version – and has anything been updated / added since?

Nothing new has been added, but all the modes and updates from the Apple Arcade version are included.

Is there any planned extra content or DLC support once Air Twister releases on consoles?

There are no plans to add content.

Do you have any plans to leverage the successes and experiences gained from projects such as Air Twister, to potentially self-publish another Shenmue title in the future?

Currently we do not have concrete plans.

Are there any updates you can share with the Shenmue Community at all around Shenmue and the future of the series?

I don’t have anything to share with you now. When we are in a position to do so, we’ll be in touch.

If you can say, besides Air Twister, are YSNET working on any other projects currently – or perhaps have any plans in the pipeline that we can look forward to?

I am not at liberty to discuss development related information 😁.

We can imagine that you are excited to launch Air Twister across all platforms, giving great accessibility for fans of your work to experience this fantastic game. What are your hopes and dreams for Air Twister’s upcoming release?

I would be happy if a lot of different kinds of people play the game and I hope to hear what they have to say on social media.

Finally Suzuki-san, do you have a message which you would like to share with all of the fans of your works?

I think that many of the fans of my games are from the generation that grew up playing arcade games in the 80s and 90s. I hope that when these veteran gamers play this game, they will be able to feel the essence of those good old days!

Thank you so much for your time today Suzuki-san! It has been an absolute honour, and we are forever grateful! We wish you well for this exciting upcoming release!

-Shenmue Dojo.

Air Twister will be released November 10th from YsNET & ININ Games for Xbox, PS4/PS5, Switch and PC.

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