Microids has made a habbit out of taking old school classics and bringing them back in modernized form, and the game they’ve given that treatment to most recently, in collaboration with developer Virtuallyz Gaming, is Operation Wolf. Originally releasing for arcades in 1987, the light gun shooter is now available in reimagined form for modern platforms as Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission, with overhauled visuals, gameplay expansions and additions, VR support, and more. To learn more about the new release, how it pays homeage to the original game, and how it reimagines it, we recently reached out to its developers with a few of our questions. Below, you can read our interview with Vituallyz Gaming’s CEO and co-founder Aurélien Lévêque.
NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the game’s launch.
"The idea is to offer younger players the chance to discover these cult games and older players the chance to replay a modernised experience of their favourite games."
For those of our readers who might not be familiar with the original Operation Wolf, what would you say makes the game special in today’s day and age?
Operation Wolf is a legendary arcade game, created in the 80s and which was the first to use firearms in a shooting game. It’s a monument to gaming, and today we’re delighted that new generations will be able to discover it.
What was behind the decision to go back to a 1987 arcade classic and revive it for modern audiences?
Publisher Microids is partly specialised in remakes of cult arcade games, as it did with Toki and New Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja. The idea is to offer younger players the chance to discover these cult games and older players the chance to replay a modernised experience of their favourite games.
Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission’s most instantly apparent change is the new art style and the visual upgrades. Can you talk us through those and how you settled on the game’s new look?
We wanted to modernise the title while remaining faithful to the license. The graphic style was originally ‘realistic’ for the time, but to keep the arcade feel, we thought the semi-cartoon style would be more appropriate. It also helps to take the drama out of the game and add a touch of humour.
Moving beyond the visuals, what are the biggest changes or additions you’ve made to the game where content is concerned?
We had to rethink the game in 3D because the original game was in 2D. We also had to redesign all the gameplay for VR, which was quite a challenge!
"We had to rethink the game in 3D because the original game was in 2D. We also had to redesign all the gameplay for VR, which was quite a challenge."
Considering the considerable time gap between the launch of the original Operation Wolf and its upcoming revival, can you talk us through the process of implementing quality-of-life upgrades and more polish to make it more accessible for modern audiences?
We wanted to lighten the seriousness of the 1st opus by adding a touch of humour. The difficulty has also been revised to suit a modern and younger audience.
Should Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission prove successful, would you consider bringing back other Operation Wolf titles as well?
This decision would be up to Microids and TAITO, but we’d be delighted to be able to continue working on this legendary license.
What frame rate and resolution does the game target on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S
We’re aiming for 3200×1800 at 60 FPS for Performance Mode and 4K at 30 FPS for Quality Mode.