Yuzo Koshiro | upcoming Mega Drive game is called Earthion

yuzo koshiro earthion

Industry legend Yuzo Koshiro has been working on a new Mega Drive game for several months now. And it has a title: Earthion


Given that it’s almost 35 years old, it’s pleasing to see just how many indie developers are still supporting the Sega Mega Drive. But when legendary composer and developer Yuzo Koshiro announces that he’s making a shoot-’em-up for the 16-bit console, it’s definitely worth sitting up and paying attention.

First announced late last year, Koshiro’s shooter now has an official title: Earthion. Koshiro took to Twitter to make the announcement, showing the game’s title screen running on a CRT display (see below).

In a follow-up tweet, Koshiro explained that the name was dreamed up as an homage to Japanese shoot-’em-ups from the genre’s coin-op golden age in the 1980s. “While challenging for non-Japanese speakers to fully appreciate,” he wrote, “the title had to have five syllables, inspired by beloved shmups of the past like “グラディウス (Gradius)” and “ダライアス (Darius)” that followed the same pattern.”

(In Japanese, Gradius and Darius would be pronounced “Go-ra-di-us-su” and “Da-ra-ee-us-su” respectively, in case you were wondering where the extra syllables came in.)

In terms of action, Earthion certainly looks like it’s following in the footsteps of Gradius, albeit with a hint of the bio-mechanical monsters of R-Type and rapid pace of Thunder Force IV.

“While we can’t say we will dethrone that masterpiece,” Koshiro wrote when someone suggested that Earthion might beat the much-loved Thunderforce IV as the finest shooter on the Mega Drive, “We are dedicated to doing our best and aspire to create another remarkable shmup that stands alongside the iconic MD game lineups.”

Koshiro has said elsewhere that, while a decision hasn’t yet been made about a physical release of Earthion, he says he’s “hoping to release it in cartridge format.” Ports to other systems are planned, too, though logically, they’ll be tackled after the Mega Drive version’s complete.

“The release date is still being finalised,” Koshiro wrote on 18 June, “and we anticipate that the development of Earthion will be completed by the second quarter of next year. Additionally, we’re hoping to unveil my next new song this autumn, if circumstances allow.”

Frankly we can’t wait.

Read more: Yuzo Koshiro’s underrated 8-bit Sonic The Hedgehog entry

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