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Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki explains Air Twister's giant flying swan

Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki explains Air Twister’s giant flying swan

Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki explains Air Twister’s giant flying swan

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On June 24th, Yu Suzuki, creator of Shenmue, Space Harrier, and many other games, will release his latest title, Air Twister, via Apple Arcade. We spent some time playing the game before launch, and even had the chance to speak with Suzuki through a translator about the fantastic experience where you can ride a giant swan through an alien landscape. Suzuki confirmed some of the game’s details — like the size of the main character, Princess Arch, and the classic children’s novel is the game’s main inspiration — and talked about how much he loves one of GameSpot’s top 10 games of 2021, it takes two.

I’ve been playing Air Twister and it’s weird. Do you think people would react that way?

Yu Suzuki: I really don’t know what people can expect. I just made the game. This is normal for me.

Air Twister feels a bit like you’re playing an interactive dream. Is this intentional?

thank you very much. I appreciate your comments. Yes, not special. I don’t really think it’s an effort dedicated to this. I just wanted to put everything I was really interested in or invested in as a kid into a game.

For me, one of the influences in creating this fantastic landscape was The Neverending Story. Some large creature riding in the sky, making things float in the air, exists in this fantastic work base – almost like anti-gravity. Like, kinda… control the world. So, let these floating things fly around. This is really fun for me. I also really like the fusion of mechanical and biological creatures. It’s always been part of this fantasy idea. Yes. When you put them together, I thought, it must have looked like it came out of a dream.

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I think it’s a smaller project for you, after Shenmue 3, but there’s a ton of story and lore in it. Is that something you can’t help but create? Do you have to write a lot of lore and stories even if the game feels like it belongs in an arcade cabinet?

Well, I really didn’t think about writing a story in it. But, in order to launch this game on Apple Arcade, I really put a lot of thought into reproducibility, to get people to come back and keep playing this game, asnd, how are we going to do that? Well, maybe putting stories in is a great way to keep users coming back over and over.

Additionally, you can go through the adventure map and get power-ups, which help improve replayability. It also means that you don’t necessarily have to rely on your own skills to beat the game. You can browse the map, pick up items and power up. So, it’s all just to get the user back into the experience.

You said, “Replayability is important.” Have you considered setting up modern checkpoints? Or is it always intended to start from scratch every time?

So, some game modes have checkpoints. So, you can start from the beginning, or in the middle, or end. Just go to the adventure map and pick up those items along the way.

In Air Twister, you battle a giant clock on a winged elephant.

I’ve never played a game that sounded like this. Is it intended to sound completely unique?

The person who composed the soundtrack was Valencia. Also, I’ve always been a big fan of him. I’ve always thought his voice was perfect for this fantasy-style world. Of course, for shooters, some voices might fit that genre, but for me, I really want his voice to be added to the game. But, of course, I had no personal contact with him. Kind of like, “Okay, how can I reach him?” So, I just started using social media, Twitter and Facebook.Finally, I found his Facebook page and DMed him, introduced myself, and said, “Hey, do you want to do a game together?” After that, we were introduced [to] With each other, we did the video, we were able to meet, that’s how it started.

Are you surprised by the music he turns on?

I knew his musical style from the beginning. I know what kind of music he can make and what he makes. I know what he does is genius, in that regard. I had a lot of respect for him from the beginning. So, when we started working together, he quickly got the hang of it and we were bouncing around and I said, “Well, we kind of want something like this.” He’d get it, like right away. He works so fast, it’s there. It was really easy to work with him. He wrote new songs for the soundtrack, and he adapted his old songs to fit the soundtrack, especially the lyrics. We had to change some lyrics to fit the Air Twister world. He’s very affable and has come up with some really great lyrics to put together these new arrangements.

I hope you can clarify some things for me. Is the protagonist the size of a person, or is she small?

[Laughs] Yes. She is human size.

So, swans are big, and gardens on this alien planet are full of giant plants?

Yes, that’s right. Animals are huge.

Speaking of those large animals – do the animals you ride in boss fights have a bigger meaning?

Conceptually, they are cool to me. I just thought they were really beautiful, you know, those different kinds of animals. I became very obsessed with that fish. My first thought was to use fish, trout, as the main mount. However, I think this might be a bit off the edge. So, I opted for something more mainstream, with the swan as the main animal. Might be a little too risky to eat the main with the fish.

In the game’s various legend directories, it is mentioned that the protagonist is good at a sport called “flying cucumber”. How to play with flying cucumber?

I don’t know how to answer that [laughs]. I can tell you it’s only a part…it exists to help fill the world. We have no rules for this. It’s just a one-time thing.

Air Twister is coming to Apple Arcade on June 24th.

It’s the sequel, it’s what I’ve heard. Is Air Twister a small project for you? And, whatever you’re going to do next, do you think you’ll be going back to doing something on a larger scale?

Yes two accounts. Small projects here, and then possibly moving on to bigger projects.

Have you recently played video games from other creators?

You know a game that needs two? I really enjoy playing this way, especially with another person. It takes two, I think, and it’s really fun to play with. Also, another game I’ve played recently is Little Nightmares II. I’m not very good at horror stuff. So, I really don’t want to play alone. But yeah, I also thought that was a good game.

Air Twister will be released tomorrow, June 24th, exclusively for iOS devices on Apple Arcade. You can read here why Yu Suzuki doesn’t consider the game a spiritual successor to his 1985 arcade game Space Harrier – another game about flying over alien landscapes.

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Wilbert Wood
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