An Interview with the Legendary Yu Suzuki on Bringing ‘Air Twister’ to Consoles, Inspirations, and More

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One of the cool things about my job is that every once in a while, I get to talk to the people behind the games. It’s always a pleasure. Well, today we have a really special one for you, dear friends. Mr. Yu Suzuki of Ys Net, the force behind such games as Space Harrier, Out Run, After Burner, Virtua Racing, Shenmue, Virtua Fighter,  and countless other titles, agreed to answer some burning questions we had about his most recent game, Air Twister (). It released on Apple Arcade a while back and will be making its way to consoles on November 10th of this year via publisher ININ Games.

Before we go into the interview, I want to thank Mr. Suzuki for taking the time to answer these questions. I also want to thank ININ Games and Hound PR for facilitating this tremendous opportunity. Now, on with the show.

TouchArcade (TA): Hello Mr. Suzuki, thank you for your time. We usually start all our interviews with this question. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Yu Suzuki (YS): Tomatoes. Sauce or otherwise.

TA: Air Twister is seen by many as a spiritual successor to your earlier game, Space Harrier. What made you want to revisit that kind of game now?

YS: It all started when I visited Apple headquarters and talk heated up about the possibility of creating a title for Apple Arcade that could be played over and over again, just like a classic arcade game.

TA: What is your personal favorite aspect of Air Twister and why?

YS: It is a 3D world, but in that 3D world enemies move in 2D. It feels good in a “feels weird” kind of way.

TA: Air Twister originally debuted as a mobile game on Apple Arcade. Can you tell us about any development or design challenges you might have had in bringing the game over to consoles?

YS: We initially developed the game using a gamepad and then adapted it to touchscreen controls. Because we did it this way, we did not have to make any major changes to the UI or controls, so it was not much of an issue.

TA: Many of the past hits you worked on were arcade games. Can you tell us if and how the experience of making those kinds of games helped shape the creation of Air Twister?

YS: I of course drew from Space Harrier, but I was also able to utilize my experience with touchscreen controls from a game I worked on called Psy-Phi.

TA: The world and creature design of Air Twister is very striking. Can you tell us about how those designs came about and some of the inspirations behind them?

YS: There is a wide range of enemies, from biological creatures to machines, but they all fit within the framework of the Air Twister world. I wanted to keep creating new things by combining this and that, but at the same time had to rein it in so they did not stray from that framework standard I had in my head.

TA: The soundtrack to Air Twister is as awesome as it is unexpected. What went into your decision to ask Valensia to do the music for the game, and what kind of input did you have on it?

YS: I have been a fan of Valensia for a long time and thought his music just went so well with fantasy. When we had the Air Twister prototype in hand, I matched it up with some of Valensia’s songs and was convinced it was the best fit. And while I didn’t know if he was still active as an artist, I looked him up on social media to get in touch. I introduced myself and straight out said I wanted to work with him.

TA: As someone who has been part of the games industry almost from the start, what would you say is the most exciting thing about modern video games compared to past ones?

YS: The evolution of game engines, the expansion of the mobile game market, the popularity of VR, and the rapid evolution of computers are just a few of the things I am excited about.

TA: Any chance Princess Arch might buy a red sports car and go drive around enjoying the passing breeze in her next adventure?

YS: I would love to make that game 😄

TA: Thanks again for your time, Mr. Suzuki. Is there any message you would like to give our readers about Air Twister?

YS: Air Twister is an easy game to pick up and play, and I hope that more people will enjoy playing a game that brings back the feeling of the good old arcade game. I also hope that veteran gamers will enjoy the “on pins and needles" play of the Arcade Mode.

Once again, a big thanks to Mr. Suzuki, ININ Games, and Hound PR for making this interview possible. Air Twister is currently available on Apple Arcade, and will be available digitally and physically through ININ Games on November 10th of this year for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. It will also be available digitally for Windows on the same date.

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