With the impending Steam release of La-Mulana fast approaching, we thought it might be fun to look back on the surprisingly long and storied history of the game, especially for those of you gamers that may not know much about La-Mulana, NIGORO, or Asterizm.
La-Mulana began in 2001 as the pet project of Takumi Naramura, Houryu Samejima, and Takayuki Ebihara, who at the time, called their group GR3 Project. The game was meant to be a throwback to games of their youth, evoking the gameplay and aesthetics of classic hardware.
Their influences were obvious. La-Mulana’s hero, Lemeza, could collect MSX ROMs that when combined, would offer unique effects. The gameplay was an homage to Konami’s MSX classic, Maze of Galious, and the team even felt it fit to include a region within the game known as ‘The Maze of Galious’ (though we’ll leave it to you to discover where it is). The graphical style was simple but hand-crafted, and each room was littered with traps, monsters, and hosts of secrets. The team released a demo version of the game in 2002.
Determined to make La-Mulana the best game it could be, but still tied down by their own individual real life commitments, the three developers toiled away at the game in their free time, eventually completing the game in 2005.
GR3 Project changed their name to NIGORO in 2007, and began work on smaller, flash-based titles. By this time, word of La-Mulana had spread, and a fan translation of the game had been completed by Aeon Genesis. There was a groundswell of excitement around the game, and many fans wanted a remake, on both sides of the pond.
In 2011, after an arduous development cycle, NIGORO released a remake of La-Mulana on Nintendo’s WiiWare eshop, but only in Japan. NIGORO assured western fans that the remake would make it to the West, and that work was being done.
Art was completely redone to line up more with the 16-bit era, puzzles and maps were modified, and some traps were even moved in an effort to keep even seasoned spelunkers on their toes. The game was given new life in the form of a fully formed remake.
Unfortunately, due to a myriad circumstances, La-Mulana’s western release was canceled both in North America and Europe, and the game’s localization was unceremoniously canceled. NIGORO had given up hope of releasing the game in the West.
It was around this time that we began working with NIGORO to bring La-Mulana to PC. Determined to get La-Mulana out to the West, NIGORO ported their remake to the PC, and localized it for the English-speaking audience with our help.
Finally, on July 13, 2012, La-Mulana was released on Playism, and fans finally got the chance to play this fantastic and brutally hard title.
And the journey isn’t over yet! La-Mulana is finally coming to Steam, and it’s set to release on April 15th. We hope to see all of you intrepid adventurers exploring the catacombs, and swearing at Naramura when you get squashed by the same stone block for the fifth time! And to play us out, here’s a condensed version of La-Mulana’s history, done by NIGORO themselves: