by Joseph Leray
Here’s your games industry curio for the day: “Sturmwind” is an old-style shoot-’em-up that took seven years to develop and will be coming to the Sega Dreamcast at the end of April. The Dreamcast!
According to Indie Statik’s abridged history of the game, “Sturmwind” has been in development by a German indie studio named Duranik since at least 2006, when a one-level demo codenamed “Native” made its way online. “Native” was an Atari Jaguar CD game, but it was converted to the Dreamcast project now known as “Sturmwind.”
Duranik eventually struck a deal with Red Spot Games, a publisher and distributor that specializes in WiiWare, Xbox Live Indie, and Dreamcast games. After a few more mishaps -- like a disc production company going bankrupt mid-production -- “Sturmwind” will see the light of day on April 24.
As for “Sturmwind” itself, it’s a fairly straightforward sci-fi shmup, all things considered: you’ll fight hundreds of enemies and 20 bosses over the course of 16 levels offering a mix of horizontal (think “R-Type” or “Gradius”) and vertical (“Ikaruga”) scrolling. The game runs on a hybrid 2D/3D engine that, as you can see by the trailer, lends itself to gorgeous, highly detailed environments and backgrounds.
“Sturmwind” also, predictably, includes all the bells and whistles you’d expect from such a specific and niche game: it’s region free and supports a number of different controller and arcade stick configurations.
On the one hand, to think that this tiny studio in the tiny German village of Erlenmoos worked for seven years to make a game in a dying genre on a dead console is kind of inspirational and poetic. On the other, maybe Duranik would be better served by a port to a more au courant console with a bigger audience.
Considering RedSpot’s familiarity with the Xbox Live and WiiWare, though, there may be a more profitable future in store for “Sturmwind.” I hope so, in any case.