Alex Kidd: The Rebirth of an 80’s Gaming Icon
To celebrate Alex Kidd’s 35th birthday, Merge Games reveals how they revived Sega’s classic 1986 game using AAA indie publishing expertise
The platform game, Alex Kidd, first appeared in Alex Kidd in Miracle World on the Sega Master System 1st November 1986 and has been a fan-favourite ever since – but it wasn’t until over three decades later that Merge Games – in conjunction with the developer, Jankenteam were able to revitalise and rebirth the experience for release earlier in 2021.
Merge Games had come to Sega’s attention by successfully distributing the retail version of the mega-hit Streets of Rage 4, in collaboration with DotEmu. It was this release that also gave the six-person dev team – Jankenteam, who were long-standing Alex Kidd fans – the impetus to come to Merge with and share their dream of remaking the game. The idea was to recreate, rebuild and modernise a deluxe version of the game whilst sticking faithfully to what fans had treasured about Alex Kidd for 30 years.
Following a visit to Sega’s HQ in Japan to license the long-dormant IP, Merge Games developed a complete strategy for full production, marketing and commercial success using the company’s deep expertise in creating bespoke routes to market, which put quality front and centre and exploited all available digital, retail and collectable opportunities.
The team were determined to faithfully include all the original content and levels and combined this with striking new art, improved boss fight systems and different modes. Extra levels were created to expand the lore of the original title to bring a fresh dimension to Alex Kidd in Miracle World. The game included a Retro Mode specifically to bring back the nostalgia from the Master System classic, allowing players to switch back to a recreated version of the original graphical style, to the new Boss Rush Mode which provides nonstop Rock Paper Scissors action, the DX version of Alex Kidd in Miracle World includes a wealth of extra content to expand on the original Master System version. Comprising an array of other updates such as improvements to combat, movement mechanics and new menu systems, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX adds a new level of fluidity to the original classic!
Through Merge’s statistical analysis of the Alex Kidd franchise over the previous 30 years, plus profound knowledge of current market trends the team were able to provide tailored international PR and marketing to support the game’s commercial release.
Since the game was released on June 24th Merge Game’s is on track to break 200,000 units sold by Christmas and continues to tap into a niche market of passionate retro fans.
“It was a pleasure to work with Sega and Jankenteam reviving this retro classic” said Luke Keighran, Managing Director, Merge Games “The success of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX has given Merge a blueprint in this niche, and we intend to continue to drive that objective and look at other potential franchises we can resurrect.”