Shenmue Creator Yu Suzuki Explains Air Twister’s Giant Flying Swans


Yu Suzuki, the creator of Shenmue, Space Harrier, and many other games, is releasing his latest, Air Twister, through Apple Arcade on June 24. Before its release, we spent some time with the game and even had the chance to speak with Suzuki through a translator about the dreamlike experience in which you ride giant swans through alien landscapes. Suzuki confirmed some of the game’s details – like the size of the protagonist Princess Arch and the classic children’s novel that served as the main inspiration for the game – and explained how much he enjoyed one of the top 10 games in GameSpot in 2021, It Takes Two.

I played Air Twister and it’s weird. Is this how you thought people would react?

Yu Suzuki: I didn’t really know what people were expecting. I just created the game. It’s normal for me.

Air Twister feels a bit like playing an interactive dream. Was that the intention?

Thanks a lot. I appreciate your comment. Yeah, not particularly. I didn’t really think it was a specific effort to do that. I just wanted to put everything that really interested me as a kid and put it all into one game.

One of the influences for me in creating this fantasy landscape was The Never Ending Story. Riding a big creature in the sky, and having things floating in the air and existing in this fantastic working base – almost like anti-gravity. Like, sort of…controlling the world. So having those floating things that fly. It was really interesting for me. I also really liked the fusion of mechanical and biological creatures together. It’s always been part of this fantastic idea. So here is. When you put it all together, it definitely seems, I guess, like it’s straight out of a dream.

J’ai supposé que ce serait un projet plus petit pour vous, après Shenmue 3, mais il y a une quantité surprenante d’histoires et de traditions. Est-ce quelque chose que vous ne pouvez pas vous empêcher de créer ? Devez-vous écrire beaucoup d’histoires et d’histoires, même si le gameplay donne l’impression d’appartenir à une borne d’arcade ?

Eh bien, je ne pensais pas vraiment devoir y mettre une histoire. Mais, pour avoir le jeu sur Apple Arcade, je réfléchissais beaucoup à la répétabilité, et faire revenir les gens, pour continuer à jouer au jeu, et comment allons-nous faire cela ? Eh bien, peut-être que mettre une histoire est un bon moyen de faire revenir les utilisateurs, encore et encore.

De plus, l’ajout de la carte d’aventure où vous pouvez parcourir et obtenir des éléments de mise sous tension, contribue à la rejouabilité. Cela signifie également que vous n’avez pas nécessairement besoin de compter sur vos compétences pour pouvoir battre le match. Vous pouvez parcourir la carte, ramasser des objets et des power-ups. Donc, tout cela a simplement joué pour ramener les utilisateurs à l’expérience.

Vous avez dit, “La rejouabilité est importante.” Avez-vous déjà envisagé de mettre en place des points de contrôle modernes ? Ou, était-ce toujours l’intention de recommencer depuis le début à chaque fois ?

Donc, il existe des modes de jeu où ils ont des points de contrôle. Ainsi, vous pouvez commencer par le début, ou le milieu, ou la fin. Tant que vous allez parcourir la carte d’aventure, puis ramassez ces objets en cours de route.

Dans Air Twister, vous combattez une horloge géante tout en chevauchant un éléphant ailé.
Dans Air Twister, vous combattez une horloge géante tout en chevauchant un éléphant ailé.

Je n’ai jamais joué à un jeu qui sonne comme ça. L’intention était-elle de sonner complètement unique?

La personne qui a créé la bande originale est Valensia. Et je suis fan de lui depuis longtemps. J’ai toujours pensé que son son serait parfaitement adapté à ce monde de style fantastique. Bien sûr, pour un jeu de tir, il y a certains sons qui correspondent peut-être à ce genre, mais pour moi, je voulais vraiment que son son soit inclus dans le jeu. Mais, bien sûr, je n’avais aucun contact personnel avec lui. c’était un peu comme, “Eh bien, comment puis-je le contacter?” Alors, j’ai juste commencé à aller sur les réseaux sociaux, Twitter et Facebook. Finalement, j’ai trouvé sa page Facebook et je l’ai envoyé en DM, je me suis présenté et j’ai dit : “Hé, tu veux faire un jeu ensemble ?” Après cela, nous avons été présentés [to] each other and we went on video, and we got to meet, and that’s how it started.

Were you surprised by the music he was playing?

I knew his style of music from the very beginning. I knew what kind of music he could create and what he was creating. I know what he’s doing is genius in that regard. I had a lot of respect for him from the start. So when we started working together, he figured it out so quickly, we brainstormed, and I said, “Well, we want something like that.” He would have it, like right away. It just worked so fast, and it was right there. It was really easy to work with him. He created new songs for the soundtrack and he has arrangements of his older songs which he incorporates into the soundtrack, especially with the lyrics. We had to change some lyrics to fit the world of Air Twister. He was very kind and found very good lyrics to put these new arrangements together.

I was hoping you could clear something up for me. Is the protagonist human-sized or is she tiny?

[Laughs] Yeah. She is on a human scale.

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So, the swans are huge and the garden of this alien planet is filled with massive plants?

That’s right. The animals are big.

Speaking of those big animals, is there a bigger meaning to the animals you ride during boss fights?

In design, they were just cool to me. I just thought they were really good to have, you know, these different types of animals. I became particularly fond of fish. My first thought was to put fish, that of trout, as my main mount. But, I thought that might go a little off the edge. So I went for something a little more mainstream, with the swan as the main animal. It might be a little too adventurous to go with the fish for the main.

In the game’s various lore directories, it is mentioned that the protagonist is good at a sport called Flying Cucumber. How do you play flying cucumber?

I don’t know what to answer to this one [laughs]. I can tell you, it’s just a part…it’s there to help fill the world. We don’t have any rules for that. It’s just kind of a one-time thing.

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

That’s for the sequel, that’s what I hear. Is Air Twister a small project for you? And, whatever you plan to do next, do you think you’ll come back to do something bigger?

Yes on both accounts. Small project here, then probably move on to a bigger one later.

Are there any video games from other creators that you’ve played recently and enjoyed?

Do you know a game called It Takes Two? I really enjoyed playing this, especially with another person. It Takes Two, I thought, was really fun to play. And, another game I played recently was Little Nightmares II. I’m not really good at the horror kind of stuff. So I don’t really want to play it alone. But yeah, I also thought it was a good game.

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

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