Thunder Force VI (サンダーフォース VI Sandaa Fōsu VI), also known as Thunder Force VI: The Legend of Wings is a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up video game released for the PlayStation 2 on October 30, 2008. The director is Sega employee Tetsu Okano, who has previously worked on Segagaga, Astro Boy: Omega Factor and Gunstar Super Heroes. The game was licensed by Twenty-One Company's Tecno Soft division and it is only available in Japan.
It is the year A.D. 2161, ten years after the artificial intelligence known as the Guardian went rogue and its subsequent destruction at the hands of Cenes Crawford, the pilot from the events of Thunder Force V. As Earth reenters an age of prosperity after the previous war with the AI, an extraterrestrial force known only as "Orn Faust" appears to start an invasion of the planet. Unfortunately, the Unified Earth Fleet is powerless under the might of the alien forces and is almost destroyed. Meanwhile, the Unified Earth Government receives strange readings from its analysis report of the underground chamber on the island Babel, where Guardian was once installed. Inside, the remaining Vasteel technology which was abandoned and sealed by the government shows a startling synchronization with Orn Faust's approach.
As researchers analyze the once forbidden technology they had abandoned ten years ago, they find an alarming message embedded within the fragments. It is said that Vasteel was once "Rynex", the ultimate weapon created by the extraterrestrial power called the Galaxy Federation, used to combat the evil Orn Empire. The message also contained a warning of their impending arrival and an interstellar call for help against the Orn forces, which is trying to spread its influence of death and destruction to other parts of the universe. In addition, the storage cells within Vasteel material contains four space coordinates leading to the homeworld of the Galaxy Federation. Left with no other choice, scientists recreate the Vasteel technology into the experimental starfighter known as the RVR-00 "Phoenix" the last hope of the human race agaisnt Orn Faust.
Sega has created a 3D scrolling system for the next-gen Thunder Force VI, where the gameplay proceeds in 2D as before in previous games but scenery moves in three dimensions. There are often where the player ships executes rolls, turns or dives in the background, though gameplay is not hampered by this new addition. Each ship is equipped with five types of weapon arms and an Over Weapon, a special weapon gauge which collects energy gained by destroying Orn forces to unleash a powerful attack.
The player has a total of three ships: The RVR-00 Phoenix, Fire LEO-04C "Rynex-R" and Syrinx (the last two must be unlocked) to select before starting the main game. Each ship has its own unique attributes that makes the best use in combat situations, though the controls are quite similar.
Each player ship has five different types of weapons to be equipped on its arms, however only 4 of the weapons (Twin Shot, Back Shot, Hunter, Free-Range) are employed by all 3 ships to be used against enemy forces.
In addition, the ship's CRAW support units can deflect some enemy projectiles, though not all. The reliability of this feature depends on the weapons being currently used. If the CRAW support units are being utilized as part of a weapon, e.g. Back Shot, the deflection is inactive during this period.
An update first appeared on the official Tecnosoft website on January 2008, stating the title of Thunder Force as a registered trademark, and to let visitors know that the site is being renovated. One of the original key staff behind the previous Thunder Force games, Kazue Matsuoka, held onto the IPs of the games after Tecnosoft was bought up by pachinko maker Twenty-one Company. With the announcement of Thunder Force VI in July, it has been revealed that Tecnosoft has licensed the new sequel to Sega to develop and publish the game. The company in turn has assigned Tetsu Okano, otherwise known as Zolge Ichizo in his pen name, whose earlier works include Segagaga and Astro Boy: Omega Factor, to direct Thunder Force VI. Development apparently began on April 2007, with Okano bringing in a fresh team with lots of shooter experience to handle the project. The team then brought in Tamayo Kawamoto (RayForce and RayStorm), Go Sato (Raiden series) and Motoaki Furukawa (Gradius II, Salamander, Gunstar Heroes) to compose the game’s soundtrack. As seen in the two trailers released thus far, the development team created a unique feel for the game, by using the tangut script, an ancient and now obsolete Chinese logographic system, for themes relating to the Galaxy Federation, with Mongolian terms used as language for the Orn Empire.
In an interview, Okano has stated that he would like to hopefully release a sequel to an as yet unknown game, if Thunder Force VI sales go well. In Okano’s blog, he has confirmed that Thunder Force VI is the first game that he placed under the “STG Project”, with two other projects under wraps, which depends on the game’s success. On the official Thunder Force VI website, the words “PROJECT S.T.G-001” can be found on the bottom right of the front page, indicating that Sega may be planning a revival of other shooting game franchises, with Thunder Force VI leading the charge.
- Gargoyle Perfect: Annihilation arms of the ORN Empire.
- Flame Maiden: Biological arms of the ORN Empire.
- Cherub Purple: Camouflage arms of the ORN Empire.
- B3 (Barbaric Berserk Beast): Death proof arms of the ORN Empire.
- Vasteel Nocht: Extra mimicry arms of the ORN Empire.
- ORN Emperor: Final bio arms of the ORN Empire.