Bow Mobile Interview

We’re glad to hear Bow Mobile’s okay after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Has this disaster affected your business or the Double Dragon development team in any way?

Our main development studio happens to be located in Osaka, Japan, where the effects of the tsunami didn’t bring so much disaster. However, it reminded us of the Hanshin earthquake back in 1994 and we are now trying the best we can to support those people in Tōhoku.

How proud and grateful we feel for those who encourage us from all over the world! We can’t thank you enough for this.

What role did Bow Mobile play as Double Dragon’s iPhone publisher? Are you in charge of marketing only, or did your company translate the game and serve other functions as well?

We are the Apple applicants and responsible for developing, publishing and updating the application. Aksys Games, our partner, helps us market the game in areas outside of Japan.

Yes, we did the translation ourselves. However, we’ve had a lot of comments from users kindly suggesting it’s not that good. For the next updates it will be better.

Why did you choose Double Dragon as your first game to publish in the iPhone market? Did the game’s developers contact you first in regards to publishing their game, or did you initiate your current collaboration with the developer?

The reason why we chose Double Dragon as our first title to publish is that we really wanted to bring a game with old school flavor to iPhone users.  We believed in the potential of the market and we had not seen this kind of game on the iPhone market except for straight ports of famous titles from the older family consoles. For Double Dragon we wanted to publish something that felt brand new.  We are also familiar with the licensor of Double Dragon so it was not difficult to deal with licensing issues.

Personally, I am really close to the developer of Double Dragon, Brizo Interactive, which developed the Zeebo version. I knew they could develop a great game and we thought it was worth a try.

Double Dragon has been re-released on numerous platforms since its debut in Japanese arcades in 1987, and each time the gameplay and graphics have evolved to some extent. What features and characters are exclusive to the iPhone version?

The characters Lavis and Deena are exclusive to this version. The main concept of bringing this title to iPhone was that we tried to be as faithful to the original as possible while making it modernized for smartphone users. Basically, everything has been customized for the iPhone: including bluetooth simultaneous play, 30 playable characters, virtual keypads, mini games, sounds, and artwork!

Have you decided what will be included or changed in the next update to Double Dragon’s iPhone release?

Yes! We are carefully reading reviews from users every day.  At this point, the next update, a minor one though, includes support for iOS 3.1 and transparent keypad. These are what users need now. For major updates, we are thinking of adding new characters, stages, bosses, and game modes.

Does Bow Mobile have plans to bring this version of Double Dragon to other mobile platforms, or is it likely to remain iPhone exclusive?

We read an article saying that within three years from now, the global market share of handsets will be dominated by three giants: iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile. We believe this is true. Right now we are planning to port this game to Android, then follow up with Windows Phone. Not yet sure about iPhone 5 or 6.

Have you decided what project(s) Bow Mobile will be working on next? Or is your company’s focus still on Double Dragon for the foreseeable future?

We’d do both. We are now considering a brand new shooting game as well as updates for Double Dragon. We definitely want to develop something along the lines of a “genuine game” and not social games.

However, the needs of users have been changing drastically these days, and so has monetization.  While Double Dragon can be purchased at $3.99 now, we have heard that 45% of total sales from App Store contents come from App purchases. To continue developing good games to entertain users, we have not only to produce great games, but also focus on the marketing part. For the next titles, we’d like to build the business model first before launching the project.

We’d like to thank you very much for your attention!

Arigato from Japan!

Ryosuke Jinno,
Bow Mobile Corporation

iFanzine’s thanks goes to our friends at AppsJP for organizing and translating this interview with Ryosuke Jinno. Let’s leave you with some footage of Double Dragon’s Zeebo incarnation. Compare this to the iPhone trailer at the end of our in-depth review and we think you’ll agree that the iPhone update really took things to the next level!

Double Dragon – Zeebo edition (2009)
Recorded by RssV