Who is Brandon Cobb?
Brandon Cobb is the founder and President of the software company Super Fighter Team. He’s responsible for bringing games like Beggar Prince, Legend of WuKong and Star Odyssey to the Genesis (a.k.a. Mega Drive) and Nightmare Busters to the Super Nintendo (a.k.a. Super Famicom).
These are games that were originally under development when the Genesis and SNES were current systems but they were never completed and abandoned; until they were picked-up by Super Fighter Team.
Super Fighter Team has produced many other video games but the few I have mentioned are of particular interest because they cater to my weakness for retro video games for play on retro consoles.
I feel that this interview with Brandon will help give the Retro Gaming Community a deeper understanding of the motivation behind Brandon and Super Fighter Team.
SegaDude Q1: Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to start your own business to develop and produce video games for the Retro Gaming Community?
Brandon A1: I was eleven years old when first I dreamed of creating my own video games. As a youth I experienced amazing works of art in the form of stunning PC games from studios all over the world, and I wanted to be a part of that. My fascination with video games started, and stopped, in the 2D era. I don’t give two flips about 3D rendered graphics; the real beauty comes from painstakingly hand-drawn pixel art. So the retro gaming community is the only audience I care to contribute to, the only fans I care to please.
SegaDude Q2: Brandon, what you’ve accomplished so far is really amazing. On your own, do you have the entire skill set needed to produce a physical release of a game? When did you decide that Super Fighter Team really needed to be a team?
Brandon A2: Our team is integral to the process. I am good at what I do, but one man can only do so much. In the beginning I tended to take on far too many tasks at once, all by myself. Some, such as product design, were better suited to people with more experience. Thankfully I eventually realized this and brought in some people to take a little of the weight off my shoulders, trusting they would deliver top notch work – and thankfully, to the benefit of our customers and fans, they’ve been doing just that ever since.
SegaDude Q3: Of the various platforms that you’ve released games on does one in particular seem to generate more interest than the others?
Brandon A3: The Super Nintendo has proven a hot target, a fact which no one should find surprising. From the business end it’s all about how many units of product you can move. But I tend to put enjoyment first when it comes to development, and that’s why we keep coming back to the Sega Genesis: it’s my favorite console to work with.
SegaDude Q4: Would it be too difficult to port your titles from PC to the Genesis/SNES?
Similar (but reversed) to what you did with the RPG Trifecta Pack released on PC.
**RPG Trifecta Pack is a bundle of three Super Fighter Team RPG games for PC. These three games were originally only on the Genesis.**
I’d love to be able to play the PC game Super Fighter on my Genesis :)
Brandon A4: Most of ‘em are written in pure x86 assembly language, you know. You mention that to most programmers, they’re like, “Oh, hell no.” And there are multiple other factors to consider: the most common screen resolution for DOS games is 320×200 pixels. We’d lose a sizeable chunk of screen space adapting PC titles to the Super Nintendo. That would make some of them more or less unplayable. And unless we adapt 16-color EGA games to the Genesis, we’re suffering from a drastic color reduction problem, stepping down from 256 colors on the PC. Soooo… that’s not the kind of thing I’m hot to touch, at the moment.
SegaDude Q5: By following your own passion you managed to make the PC game Super Fighter (a game you’ve loved for a long time) your own by purchasing the rights to the game!
**(In fact we didn’t purchase the rights to Super Fighter, they were generously gifted to me by the generous Mr. Kuo, president of C&E, Inc. in Taiwan. – Brandon Cobb)**
Super Fighter even became the name sake for your company Super Fighter Team.
If obtaining licenses was as easy as just wanting it what retro game would be on the top of your hit list to bring back to the retro community?
Brandon A5: Alone in the Dark (1992) for the Sega 32X would be nice, if we could get the music right. That’s a great, atmospheric soundtrack and I’d hate to botch it.
SegaDude Q6: How do you go about finding a good retro video game that for whatever reason didn’t make it into gamers hands during its original development? And how do you demonstrate to the original developers your skill and genuine desire to finish/translate and release a game?
Brandon A6: I do my research, as I’m passionate about unfinished, unreleased and obscure games. Many developers appreciate my passion and genuine interest in putting together a high quality product, and get amped up about their games finally finding an audience.
SegaDude Q7: Have you heard of the game “Shui Hu Feng Yun Zhuan”? It was developed by Never Ending Soft and published by King Tec Information in 1996 for the Mega Drive. – Source GiantBomb
I would love to see an English translation and physical release for this game. Does it have any potential?
Brandon A7: We sold the rights to that game to another firm, so it’s up to them now…
SegaDude Q8: I missed out on the original release of Beggar Prince. And I’m so grateful that you’ve been able to bring it back again. When producing a physical game (vs. a digital download) how many copies do you need to be able to sell to bring it to market? Is this number the same when you decide it’s time to release one of your previous games?
What’s the best way for us fans to show you our interest in what you’ve got coming or for a game we want a second chance at?
Brandon A8: If I think a game can sell 300 copies, I’ll put it into production. Every game we’ve put out so far has surpassed that number, in some cases greatly, and that’s wonderful. They’d sell even more if I didn’t stop coming up with one new game after another to manufacture, but I don’t like resting on my laurels.
People who are interested in a specific title just need write me an e-mail. I am receptive to such requests, and besides it’s always good just to hear from fans and rap with them about retro video games. email@example.com
SegaDude Q9: Have you ever considered using crowd funding to get one of your projects started? Would it help generate more awareness or is the added cost of such methods an issue?
Brandon A9: Crowd funding, bleh. Of course we may be open to it in the future, but right now I have no interest in making such a beggar’s spectacle.
SegaDude Q10: Have you ever considered bringing your games to modern consoles like the PS4, Wii U, and Xbox One?
Personally my preference is to have my Super Fighter Team games on cartridge for my favorite retro system but I still want your games to be accessible to everyone on as many platforms as possible.
Brandon A10: No. What would be the fun in that? Faux retro isn’t our style. While we did adapt Commander Keen in Keen Dreams to Android, that was more to satisfy a burning request of the IP holder. But it turned out to be fun. That was before I actually owned an Android phone; I installed an unofficial version of Android OS on my Nokia N9 for testing.
SegaDude Q11: I’ve often wondered why games like Legend of WuKong and Star Odyssey came in a Genesis style clam shell cases that are not quite exactly the same as the typical Genesis/Mega Drive case. What is the reason behind this?
Brandon A11: Chinese manufacturing is a bitch.
SegaDude Q12: I’m really pleased that you enjoy working with the Sega Genesis and I hope we’ll see many more releases for it.
Can we expect more cartridge games for the Genesis and Super Nintendo?
How about the Sega Master System and NES?
Brandon A12: Well we’ve already announced two new Genesis games for next year: Cascade and Magic Girl. And I hope we keep doing more games for the system after that, because the Genesis is where it’s at, yo.
I haven’t given a thought to the Master System nor the NES, because they don’t interest me so much. Now the Game Gear, hell yeah I’ve considered it. But we’d have to get one of them fancy YM2413 chips wired onto the board, because sound is one area in which the Game Gear most definitely does not shine. Oh, and the Virtual Boy. I’d love to do up a game for that little beauty.
SegaDude A13: Are your future projects based on systems you enjoy developing for or based instead on discovering a good retro game that can be polished and delivered to gamers?
Brandon A13: Both.
SegaDude Q14: Are you able to give up any hints as to what game might be coming next from Super Fighter Team for a retro game console?
Brandon A14: Nope! You’ll just have to wait and see! (Ну, погоди!)
SegaDude Q15: What are some of your favorite retro video games that you still play today?
Brandon A15: Oh, lots of PC (DOS) games…
Alone in the Dark (1992)
Day of the Tentacle (1993)
Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon (1993)
The various “Quest” games by Sierra Online
I could make one exhaustive list if kept going. So I won’t.
I play on the Super A’can a lot, too. But that’s just because I’m crazy.
Brandon, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed this opportunity to dig into Super Fighter Team. I’m a big fan of your video games and I’m looking forward to more!
Super Fighter Team is currently selling the following games. Have a look and grab them while you can!
Genesis / Mega Drive:
RPG Trifecta Pack
Commander Keen in Keen Dreams