Welcome to another exciting installment of Developer Spotlight, the segment where we talk about game developers big and small. Today we shine the spotlight on Japanese game developer: M2 Co., Ltd.!
M2 was founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1993. Their first works were on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. From their inception, they were a b-team, their first completed game on the record being Gauntlet 4 on behalf of Tengen/Atari Games Corp. 2 years later, they developed the Game Gear version of Gunstar Heroes.
Between 1998 and 2006, they had an extremely under-the-radar presence, mostly working on the Sakura Wars series for Sega and developing the Visual Novel -- First Kiss * Monogatari 2 for the Sega Dreamcast (later ported to PlayStation 2). In late 2005, they had several classic Sega games ported to PlayStation 2.
However, the arrival of the Nintendo Wii significantly upped their work output. The Wii's Virtual Console service, overpriced as it was, helped move game preservation on home consoles in the right direction. Not only were classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros, A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and F-Zero (to name a few) getting an official home release for the first time in a while, but games made by former competitors were also making a comeback! Classics from the Genesis/Mega Drive, TurboGrafx-16 and even the MSX would be proudly standing side-by-side with Mario and friends.
M2 developed the software used to emulate the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega Master System and MSX hardware, as well as the general arcade board emulation used in the Virtual Console releases of arcade games like Capcom's Black Tiger or Solomon's Key by Tecmo or Gaplus by Namco.
In the mid-to-late 2000's, M2 ported several of Konami's classic arcade shooters to the unlikely handheld: Gradius Collection, TwinBee Collection and Salamander Collection. These were arcade perfect ports of classic masochistic shooters! The arcade experience in your hands!
For WiiWare, M2 developed NES-inspired titles Contra Rebirth, Gradius Rebirth and Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth for Konami. And all of them were excellent!
Later, they ported Otomedius to the Xbox 360: Otomedius G: which featured girly personifications of Vic Viper and other Konami starfighters.
In the early 2010's, work picked up significantly. M2 was porting Sega games left and right!
On the PlayStation 3: Super Hang-On, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Monster World IV (which is now one of my favorite Genesis games!) and others…
On the Xbox 360: Sega Vintage Collection
On the Nintendo 3DS: 3D conversions of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Streets of Rage, Out Run, Fantasy Zone, Shinobi and many, many others...
On the Nintendo Switch, they've ported Taito's classic Darius, the Castlevania and Contra Collections, and many many Sega games as part of the Sega Ages series.
M2 is developing the software for the upcoming SEGA Genesis Mini (which is due to arrive on September 19, 2019). Two of their games, a Genesis/Mega Drive version of Tetris and a Genesis/Mega Drive conversion of Taito's Darius will be featured on the dedicated console. And they are even fixing the slowdown in Mega Man: The Wily Wars!! Maybe now that game can be playable!!
Game preservation is important to us at GameTyrant, and no other modern gamemaker is dedicated to that task in the the way M2 is! Check out their games on your modern consoles and show them some love!