So how do you curate the ultimate retro collection? Apart from adding in a rousing musical number to celebrate your colourful, mascot-packed back catalogue and softening those many classic control schemes for modern palates, what are those magic ingredients that make the perfect time-travelling medley? In the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine, Rare art director Peter Hentze reveals the ten top tips he and his teams followed to craft the bumper bonanza that is Rare Replay. (Although we're assuming one of them isn't having a whopping 50GB installation isn't one of them.)
1 Put every game front and centre
"What all Rare games have in common is this element of fun. Theyre exciting. Easy to approach. Vibrant. But its also a very diverse selection. So what we wanted to do to draw everything together was give a feel that each game was being showcased, and thats how we came up with the theatre theme, where you go to a game and its on a pedestal, on a stage almost."
2 Add fun flourishes
"So when you scroll through the games on the menu screen, youll discover that every icon is animated and kind of has its own life. If you sit there watching them long enough, youll see things kick off. If you press the button, youll go to the games individual front-end, which is set out like a stage of the game, with loads of characters popping in and out."
3 Dig through the archives
"When I say archives, you probably think of this vault buried under the ground beneath Rare, but its not quite as glamorous. Its many, many cupboards and closets and stuff, where things are written to ROM material and get all the source code of the games."
4 Unearth hidden treasures
"It really was an education, you know? We found old magazines, so we scanned images. We found art collections in binders, you know, kind of like individual pages. We even found books that had been bound years ago, and hardback books with classic art in them. That was really exciting, really interesting."
5 Modernise the art style
"Whats interesting about, say, Battletoads, is that since it was originally released there hasnt actually been that much new art. So we essentially just used the material we had to work from and put our own spin on it, kinda modernising it and taking it forward in our own way. Its the first take on Battletoads that people will have seen in a very long time."
6 Soften the controls
"Our designers have looked at the control systems for certain games, such as Jet Force Gemini, and where possible theyre going to try and make things more accessible for modern gamers. Theyvetreated them all on an individual basis and done what they can to make sure the players dont get frustrated and get the best experience possible."
7 Add new twists
"A big feature we have in the game is the snapshots. We have 80 of them, and they are basically little bite-sized chunks of the games where weve made a challenge out of them. So for instance on R.C. Pro-Amyou can play a challenge where youve got to do an entire race without allowing your speed to drop below 75 kilometres per hour. One of my favourites is based around Battletoads its an infinite Turbo Tunnel."
8 Be comprehensive
"Getting a game like Knight Lore, which was originally designed for the ZX Spectrum [a home computer released in 1982] up and running was quite a challenge for our engineers. I liken them to wizards, working in mystical ways to bring these obscure things back. Those guys have done a great job of it. I couldnt nearly begin to tell you how they do it."
9 to a point
"There were a couple of titles that we were really keen on getting in, like Mickeys Speedway USA, but we ran into licensing issues, actually, getting them into the project. For other games, it was tricky to track down the source code. But we still feel really, really positive and really proud of the games we have got into it. They are 30 of our finest games."
10 Future proof it
"With all these new builds we have of the games, were certainly going to keep them nicely archived. Having gone through all the challenges we have gone through to make this compilation, were definitely going to be self-conscious about making sure that everything is properly stored and kept in an orderly fashion."