Radiant Silvergun is a shoot 'em up developed by Treasure. It was originally released in Japanese arcades in 1998 and subsequently ported to the Sega Saturn later that year. The story follows a team of fighter pilots in the far future who are battling waves of enemies summoned by a mysterious crystal dug up from the Earth. The player hosts an arsenal of six different types of shots to choose from, and a sword to destroy nearby targets. The stages are tightly designed to present players with scenarios that can be approached differently with the various weapon types.
Treasure was primarily known for developing action and platform games for home consoles before Radiant Silvergun. Despite the company's concerns about the financial viability of arcade games and the shooter genre, they felt they had a good premise for a game and decided to pursue it. Radiant Silvergun was developed by ten people, with Gonzo outsourced for animated cutscenes. The game was developed for the ST-V arcade board first and later ported to the architecturally similar Sega Saturn. Towards the end of development, the team recruited professional gamers that held high scores in shooters to play test the game.
Radiant Silvergun was first released in Japanese arcades in May 1998. Treasure president Masato Maegawa went in person to arcades to gauge the reaction of players. The Saturn port was released two months later in Japan. Despite its region exclusivity, Radiant Silvergun was imported by Western critics and received critical acclaim. Journalists agreed that the game revived the shoot 'em up genre which had fallen by the wayside after the rise in popularity of arcade fighting games in the 1990s. In retrospect, it is considered one of the greatest shooters and Sega Saturn games of all time. It received a spiritual sequel in the form of Ikaruga (2001), and was ported to the Xbox 360 in 2011.