After a long time out of the public eye in North America, Sunsoft returns to release three new games based on its catalog of classic games. They include Ikki Unite, a multiplayer cooperative roguelike; the return of Gimmick, a classic NES platformer; and Ufouria, a metroidvania slated for consoles in 2023.
The releases are part of a new strategy from Sunsoft, which will see it rely on its large catalog of classic games to capitalize on the popularity of retro gaming.
“Reviving the porting of original games to game consoles is a big part of our strategy,” Sunsoft CEO Yuichi Ochi told IGN. “We have a plan to bring our original title to current consoles, two or three titles a year.”
The most notable of these is Ikki Unite, a new game based on kusoge or “shit game” which has sold over 500,000 units in Japan. Sunsoft is also releasing a port of The Gimmick on Switch, PS4, and Steam later this year, with a Ufouria port to follow in 2023.
Sunsoft’s First Three Games – Gallery
Established in the 1970s, Sunsoft rose to prominence on the NES with classics like Blaster Master, Spy Hunter, and Batman. Sunsoft’s games were known for their excellent graphics and high-quality soundtracks, which took advantage of the NES sound chip in unique ways.
Sunsoft was successful until the mid-1990s, when its parent company, Sun Corporation, abruptly went bankrupt after apparently losing millions of dollars in an investment in a golf course. Sunsoft eventually closed all of its offices in North America and Europe, although it continues to develop and publish RPGs, pachinko games, and mobile titles in Japan.
By making another push out west, Sunsoft hopes to lean into its nostalgic appeal. However, Ochi says the company also plans to develop new intellectual property.
“I think for me, the original titles are not enough. We will have new IP, brand new titles, in the future,” Ochi said.
Sunsoft isn’t the only retro company digging into its history. Atari is also trying to make a comeback by moving towards retro-style updates like Gravitar: Recharged and Kombinera, the latter being its first new game in years.
Ochi, meanwhile, says the new push behind Sunsoft’s gaming division is a “big part” of Sun Corporation’s strategy going forward, which means it might just be the start. We’ll be able to see for ourselves when the Ikki Unite closed beta launches on Steam “soon”.
Kat Bailey is senior news writer at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have any advice? DM him at @the_katbot.