The search has ended: After a year-long process, Konami announced the grand prize winner of an open call for indie developers to revive older series from the company’s back catalog. At Tokyo Game Show, we learned first place will go to Takumi Naramura, director of La Mulana and La Mulana 2, as he plans to remake Konami’s The Maze of Galious.
Originally released as a sequel to Knightmare for the MSX computer platform in Japan in 1987, Konami brought The Maze of Galious to the Famicom later that same year. The side-scrolling platform RPG featured two heroes with their own unique skills, Popolon and Aphrodite, trying to fight their way out of a castle filled with monsters.
The Maze of Galious could be described in modern terms as a Metroidvania, since the player explores a series of interconnected rooms, gains experience points for defeating enemies, and searches for power-ups and keys. The MSX version made it to Europe, but the Famicom version was never localized for the NES.
In a press release announcing the winners, representatives from the panel of contest judges wrote that they “could feel tremendous passion for The Maze of Galious” in Naramura’s initial proposal, as he outlined the original game’s strengths and the challenges involved in bringing it to modern audiences. The release also had a comment from Naramura wherein he stated that if he hadn’t won the contest, “I’d probably just stay quiet and make the game anyway.” Years before this contest ever took place, Naramura was open about his fandom for The Maze of Galious, citing it as a primary influence for La Mulana.
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Naramura was on hand at Tokyo Game Show when the announcement was made, and he visited the IGN livestream to speak to us and show us a glimpse of what his version of The Maze of Galious might look like. “I was watching last year’s TGS when this contest was announced,” Naramura said, “and I thought ‘there’s no way The Maze of Galious will be on the list.’ But there it was! I hurriedly contacted my teammates to find out what we should do.” Naramura acknowledged that his interest in this particular title was a bit outside the norm. “I think most people saw that list and said ‘Gradius, that’s cool, Goemon, I like that,’ so they might be disappointed that Galious was selected.”
While Naramura’s entry won the top spot, four more developers were also awarded prizes for their ideas. The runners-up included new versions of Star Soldier, Parodius, Twinbee, and Pooyan. Elsewhere, we learned that Konami RPGs Suikoden 1 and 2 are returning with new HD remasters.