First Samurai is one of our favourite 16-bit games so when we heard the third instalment of the game was finally in production we had to find out more.
Make sure to check out the kickstarter now right here
What better way to get the details than from its creator and retro gaming legend Mev Dinc! Adrian caught up with Mev over a cup of green tea to chew the fat…
Mev, thanks for stopping by at Arcade Attack! You’ve had such a long and successful career in gaming, how did you get the opportunity to enter the industry?
My involvement with games was a complete chance as was my coming to and living in England!
To be honest I can’t remember if I ever tried to plan or think about anything for a career throughout my education including university! I was born in a remote village in Ordu (the Black Sea region in Turkey) and was lucky enough to go to university in the first place.
I ended up marrying an English girl in Turkey and a couple of years later found myself in England!
My first proper job was at Standard Telephones and Cables (STC) in Southampton where I started in 1980 and worked for five years. It was a while working there that I ended up buying a ZX Spectrum in 1983 from a work colleague’s insistent, which truly changed my life! I self-taught programming in two years to make games and I didn’t have any interest in or desire to play games at all! Incidentally, I studied economics at university with no background or knowledge about computers or programming whatsoever.
I used to love playing First Samurai on the Amiga. What was it like working on this particular title?
The Amiga was the lead version and I think it remains to be one of the best and most respected games on the Amiga. Raffaele Cecco did a fantastic job on it. The Amiga version won the Game of the Year award in 1991.
It was one of our best games and it was great fun working on it and pushing the Amiga to the limit in every aspect including programming, graphics and sound.
We even wrote a small copper editor to play around with the colours to get that amazing skyline in the game. While I was playing around with colour combinations I accidentally discovered a combination where the transition between different colours couldn’t be seen. I still remember my excitement!
Why do you think First Samurai was never ported to the SEGA Mega Drive?
To be honest I can’t remember the exact reason but the unfortunate demise of Mirrorsoft soon after the release of the game meant that we couldn’t sell any copies on the Amiga. I actually coded the PC version from the Amiga for three months to generate extra income. The PC version was published by Ubisoft. We licensed the Nintendo SNES version to Kemco which they developed themselves.
Second Samurai continued where the first game left off but included some crazier settings such as prehistoric and futuristic levels. How do you think the sequel compared to the original?
In the true tradition of Vivid Image Developments we completely reinvented the game in Second Samurai, we even had two Samurai characters! It was still very ambitious and we were very pleased with the results but it resembled very little of the original. I think they were both very good games, the second one was more like an arcade game, especially the Mega Drive version was excellent I think.
You are looking to develop the long-anticipated third instalment of the series with Super Samurai. Can you tell our readers what to expect from this exciting project?
Well, it’s difficult to answer this one at this very early stage as we only just announced the Kickstarter date which is incidentally 5th November but I can say that both Raff Cecco and myself are very determined to create something very special again!
We did such an amazing job twenty-five years ago and we really want to repeat it again with a complete remake. We will maintain some of the special features that made the original such a big hit including music and sound FX.
What platforms do you hope to release Super Samurai on?
We’ve started working on the PC version but we intend to cover all platforms. We hope to get enough backing to raise enough funds which would allow us to support super consoles and mobile too.
How will the new game differ from the originals?
After twenty-five years with a lot more technology and resources available to us, we are aware that the expectation for something really impressive will be there. But we are well known to create impressive work and this time around with new found enthusiasm and energy we will try our best to meet the expectations with some surprises too.
You are back working with Rafaelle Cecco (below) on Super Samurai. How does it feel to be back working with him?
We always had such a natural chemistry so we’re really excited to be back together again after twenty-two years! We almost think the same, and we are shocked when we suggest things to discover as if we read each other’s minds! We are a very good team and hope to create a few more classics together again. We’re really having a blast at the moment and want to put some FUN back into development.
Street Racer is another classic game you were heavily involved in. How proud are you of the game’s achievements?
Street Racer is one of our best and most successful games and it was a great collaboration with Ubisoft. I think what we achieved on the SNES is still talked about. Doing such a great game without the aid of a DSP chip, unlike other Nintendo games including Mario Kart, and still managing to create the world’s first ever four player split screen game was quite an achievement. Even Nintendo were shocked with what we had done!
Mario Kart was an obvious inspiration for Street Racer. But how did you aim to make it stand out from the crowd?
To be honest I don’t play games but I must say Mario Kart is one of the best games ever. And as such I take it as a compliment for our game to be compared with it. However, I can say that apart from being a kart racer Street Racer had nothing to do with Mario Kart at all. Both technically and graphically our game was very different with very different game modes.
I really can’t remember what made me come up with the crazy idea of playing soccer with cars in Street Racer in 1994 but I recently discovered that someone made a complete game based on the idea called Rocket League or something!
You have had numerous roles in the video game industry but what one gives you the most satisfaction?
Well, I’m very lucky to be involved from very early on and really proud to be part of the people who made a big impact on UK gaming. I guess the games that really stand out from the crowd, that I’d say I’m very proud to be involved with either as a programmer or producer, has to be Enduro Racer, Last Ninja 2, First Samurai and Street Racer.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone looking to work in the video game industry what would it be?
There are too many similarly qualified young people coming through and it’s very competitive out there. So, I’d say make sure you establish what you’re really good at and develop your skill set in that area so that you can really stand out from the crowd and make a difference in a team.
If you could go for a drink with any video game character, who would you choose and why?
Unfortunately, I hardly play games and don’t really have any gaming heroes as such but it would be cool to have a drink with Ryu of Street Fighter!
Thanks for your time Mev and all the best for the Kickstarter and your future projects!
Readers – please check out the Kickstarter here!