There are shooting games, and there are shooting games. Irem’s 1987 R-Type can’t exactly claim to be the first of its kind, and you could well argue there are more widely acclaimed shooting games, but you’d be hard pushed to find any as iconic as this stately sci-fi venture. Cold, composed and challenging, it’s the archetypal 80s shooter, and a prime example of the genre in its pomp.
The popularity of shooting games would wane throughout the 90s, however, and by the turn of the century those in charge of the series wondered whether it had a future at all. Which explains the brilliantly fatalistic air that hangs over R-Type Final, the 2004 entry that was imagined as a full-stop for the series.
R-Type Final lead designer Kazuma Kujo has since discovered there’s life yet in the series, though. The veteran of Nazca, Irem and now Granzella – the studio where many Irem alumni ended when the company moved away from video games – now finds himself heading up development of a sequel, somewhat bafflingly called R-Type Final 2, after a Kickstarter campaign more than doubled its targets. A month ahead of R-Type Final 2’s release on April 29th, we spoke to Kujo about R-Type’s return, and what it will entail.