Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrected interview: Tokuro Fujiwara on his return to the series

Who better to help resurrect the Ghosts 'n Goblins series than original director Tokuro Fujiwara? Shacknews talks to the gaming legend about Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection and the legacy of the franchise.


Capcom has had its share of franchises that its relied on for many years. Its recent success can largely be attributed to Monster Hunter, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Street Fighter. However, Capcom also has quite a few franchises that have lay dormant for many years. That's why it came as such a big surprise during The Game Awards in December that Capcom brought the Ghosts 'n Goblins series back from the dead.

Appropriately titled Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection, players once again journey with Arthur to save his kingdom from the forces of darkness. This game appears to retain its side-scrolling platforming aesthetic, but features a modernized art style, new challenges, more powerful enemies, and all-new bosses. Given that we're talking about Ghosts 'n Goblins, none of this looks like it'll be easy. In fact, we're fully expecting this game to be very hard.

How hard will Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection be? There's nobody who can answer that question better than Series Director and Whoopee Camp CEO Tokuro Fujiwara, who is returning to the franchise for the first time in decades. Shacknews recently had the opportunity to ask him about what to expect in Resurrection, the series' rich history, and some of the original games' more notorious elements.

Shacknews: What made you want to return to the Ghosts 'n Goblins series after such a long time away?

Tokuro Fujiwara, Whoopee Camp CEO & Ghosts 'n Goblins Series Director: For one, the series recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of the original Ghosts 'n Goblins. We've also noticed an increase in players who enjoy this kind of classic gameplay, and a number of new titles incorporate this kind of experience. Because of this, we felt it was the perfect time to deliver a new Ghosts 'n Goblins experience for the series' 35th anniversary.

Shacknews: In your opinion, what makes Ghosts 'n Goblins such an iconic franchise and such a beloved piece of Capcom's history?

Fujiwara: There are two main hallmarks of Ghosts 'n Goblins. One is the unique stages that are based on a "horror theme park"-like concept. The other is that sense of accomplishment players feel when they finally conquer a challenge that is not easy to overcome. I'm overjoyed and also honored to know that players have cherished this series for such a long time, and we feel that fans have come to love these unique aspects of the Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise.

Shacknews: In what ways do you feel the Ghosts 'n Goblins series has evolved over the past 35 years?

Fujiwara: It's hard for me to say exactly how the series has evolved. There have been multiple Ghosts 'n Goblins titles throughout the 35 years of the series' existence, and we have always challenged ourselves to deliver a satisfying Ghosts 'n Goblins experience every time. I will say that over the last 35 years, technology has improved significantly. This has given us more options for expression and a way to deliver new gameplay elements that players will enjoy in Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection.

Shacknews: What do you feel the new visual style adds to the series?

Fujiwara: This title was developed with the concept of a "moving picture scroll" in mind. I felt this medieval storybook-like art style was most effective in expressing this ominous but fun “horror theme park” concept. We also wanted to show off the variety and possibilities that a 2D game can deliver.

Shacknews: Will combat remain centered around Arthur picking up different weapons? Or have there been any changes instituted? Looking at the trailer, it looked like Arthur was wielding more magic than before.

Fujiwara: In Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection, players can improve their combat through various methods, like acquiring new weapons through treasure chests and pots found in each stage.

Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection also features new magic and skills that players can unlock and upgrade. Unlike previous titles, magic is no longer tied to weapons, which allowed us to create even more new and exciting spells that we're excited for players to try out. Utilizing the various weapons, magic and skills in unique ways could be key in overcoming a difficult stage that you couldn't clear previously.

Shacknews: Do you have a favorite weapon yourself?

Fujiwara: I'm most attached to the Spear since it is so iconic to Arthur and fundamental to the series. Another one of my favorites is the Hammer, because it is unique among the weapons. It's a very powerful weapon, but depending on the situation you use it in, it can lose some of that strength, so you have to be careful.

Shacknews: The Ghosts 'n Goblins soundtrack is iconic. Ayako Mori composed that soundtrack for the first game back in the 80s. What do you think it added to the game and how involved was the process of integrating a soundtrack?

Fujiwara: When working on the original Ghosts 'n Goblins, we were looking for the right theme music for the series, but we also wanted it to be a tune that anyone could hum along to. To this day, people recognize the music from Ghosts 'n Goblins and I have high regard for it.

The music of an action game isn't just about setting a tone for the universe and environment. It can also influence the overall tempo and rhythm of the game, and can even affect the game's difficulty. That concept helped us to pay close attention to the tempo and rhythm of the game from start to finish.

Shacknews: Part of why the original Ghosts 'n Goblins has its place in gaming history is because players remember reaching the end, only to learn that they had to complete the game a second time. Will players need to do that in Resurrection as well?

Fujiwara: This time around, the second loop is a very different experience compared to past Ghosts 'n Goblins titles. In Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection, the Demon Realm will transform after players complete the final stage. In addition to this new look, enemies and obstacles will also change drastically so we hope you take on this new challenge.

Shacknews: The Ghosts 'n Goblins series has prided itself on its extreme difficulty. However, gaming is a different place in 2021 with more modern games using multiple difficulty levels. Do you feel there's still a place for a game as difficult as the original Ghosts 'n Goblins in today's video game climate and is that something you aimed for with Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection?

Fujiwara: You don't think an easy Ghosts 'n Goblins game would be fun, right?

Obviously, we believe game design that caters to players of all experience levels is important. But, we also realize that certain aspects of a game like its difficulty can be a key part of the fun. Like all previous Ghosts 'n Goblins titles, Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection values that feeling of accomplishment that players get when they overcome challenges in their own way. For long-time fans, the "Legendary" mode is the difficulty mode that will make you think, "This is Ghosts 'n Goblins."

However, this title has a wide range of elements that players can take advantage of to complete the game, from multiple difficulty modes to various skills and magic. Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection introduces new experiences that weren't available in past titles and we hope a wide range of players from kids to adults will enjoy building a new strategy to overcome each new challenge.

Shacknews: Lastly, we sort of touched on the reasons why people look back at Ghosts 'n Goblins so fondly, but in your own words, what makes this series such an integral piece of gaming history?

Fujiwara: The Ghosts 'n Goblins series is all about the unique environment and gameplay that fuels players' desire for a challenge. If we're able to carve out a place for Ghosts 'n Goblins in the history of gaming, that would make me very happy.

I'm sure many players who have played Ghosts 'n Goblins never made it to the ending, but we are grateful for the persistent few who kept trying and played so much that the game is now engrained in their memory. With homages to both Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection will present a new challenge for these fans. We hope you give it a shot and enjoy this resurrection of the Ghosts 'n Goblins universe!

Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection will release Thursday, February 25 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola