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Streets of Rage 4 executive producer shares insight into how the game's soundtrack was created

Give me a beat!

Any Streets of Rage fan can tell you how important music is to the gameplay experience. That meant the pressure was on for the team behind Streets of Rage 4. How did they manage to cook up a soundtrack worthy of the franchise's legacy? Streets of Rage 4 executive producer Cyrille Imbert shared some insight in a feature with Nintendo.

The first idea was to have a main composer who would bring harmony and coherence throughout the game. Olivier Deriviere is not only a great composer and a fan of electronic music, but he also completely understands the relationship between music and gameplay—which is vital for a Streets of Rage game. Deriviere approached the progression of the game as a DJ set. He tried to start with something that was a little more downbeat and slower, and then, as you progress, the music reflects the sense of adrenaline and urgency.

Check out the full feature here

Streets of Rage 4 gets another new Japanese trailer

Streets of Rage 4 still hasn't come to Japan, but will be releasing physically and digitally on July 30th, 2020. A new trailer has been uploaded by Japanese publisher 3goo to promote the upcoming launch. Check it out in the YouTube link above!

Streets of Rage 4 gets a new Japanese trailer

A real rager

Streets of Rage 4 still isn't out in Japan, but it's seeing release soon. The game is set to launch on July 30th, 2020, and a new trailer to promote that release has been shared. Over in Japan, customers will have the option of going with a digital version, along with a retail edition.

Streets of Rage 4 devs share the surprisingly straightforward story of how SEGA approved the idea

For SEGA, it took AGES!

Streets of Rage 1, 2, and 3 all came out on the Genesis...and then the series hit a major roadblock. It took a very, VERY long time for the series to see a new installment. Just how on earth did the team behind Streets of Rage 4 manage to get SEGA to approve the idea? Cyrille Imbert and Jordi Asensio of DotEmu explained in an Nintendo Life interview.

Cyrille Imbert (DotEmu CEO and executive producer): In the '90s, I was definitely a Sega kid, so my first handheld console was a Game Gear. And when I got that console for Christmas, the first game I managed to get was Streets of Rage. I have very vivid memories of how rebellious I thought this game was and how crazy I was about it.

I told him “For the next project, I would love to try something crazy and do a sequel of Streets of Rage”. At that point he smiled

In 2017, after the success of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, I was thinking about working on another SEGA franchise. One night in Paris I was talking with Ben Fiquet, the founder and art director of Lizardcube, the amazing studio behind Dragon's Trap. I told him “For the next project, I would love to try something crazy and do a sequel of Streets of Rage”. At that point he smiled and said, “that sounds like an interesting idea”, then pulled out his phone from his pocket and showed me those beautiful artworks of Axel, Blaze and other iconic characters of the series. This was definitely a sign!

We started to work together on a pitch and I flew directly to Tokyo to meet with SEGA’s team and give it a shot. A couple of months later, we had the final approval and the dream became reality. With that reality came pressure, but so much joy and excitement as well.

Jordi Asensio (Game designer, DotEmu): (The initial pitch) was not that elaborate, just a couple of pieces of artwork from Ben Fiquet along with the clear intent to make a true sequel, not just a remake. Also, we stated that we didn’t want to follow any modern gameplay trends; we wanted to stay true to Streets of Rage’s DNA and deliver a classic beat ‘em up experience.

Dotemu shares insight into Streets of Rage 4's development, says three "similar projects" are in the works

Possible DLC, lack of cameos, and what's next

Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games took to Reddit to answer some fan questions about the recently-released Streets of Rage 4, as well as a few other random queries. First up, here's what they had to say about Streets of Rage 4.

- Guard Crush had ideas for additional content
- Dotemu reiterated that although there are intentions to create more content, nothing is set in stone just yet
- the reason Skate/Sammy didn't appear in SOR4 ("we didn't want to commit to a visual design (like him appearing in a cutscene) without thinking of the his gameplay potential. Because if we show him, people will want him playable"
- Roo will be considered as a playable addition down the road

Outside of Streets of Rage 4, fans are very eager to see what the companies are working on next. When it comes to Dotemu, they are "currently working on three unannounced similar projects." As you might expect, the team wasn't willing to share more details outside of that tease.

Streets of Rage 4 devs talk development, considering DLC, say SEGA America didn't learn about the game until the reveal trailer

DLC could be coming!

Streets of Rage 4 launched just a couple of weeks ago, and its been lighting up the digital sales charts ever since. Following the game's successful launch, developers Olivier Deriviere, Cyrille Lagarigue and Jordi Asension sat down with French Twitch team Gwak to do a massive interview. You can find a complete summary of that interview, courtesy of DualShockers, below.

- Streets of Rage 4 was first pitched by Guard Crush to SEGA Japan
- Guard Crush, Lizardcube and Dotemu already had ties to SEGA through the Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap remake
- SEGA approved the project and pretty much gave the french developers free rein
- the Streets of Rage 4 devs were only in touch with a small division at SEGA Japan, which they regularly sent new builds to
- adding ramen as a recovery item was a suggestion of SEGA Japan
- SEGA of America learned of Streets of Rage 4‘s existence at the same time as everyone else with the reveal trailer
- the devs feared people wouldn't understand the game, and worried it would be labeled a nostalgia-fueled shallow game
- the team did a lot of choices that can be considered unconventional or anti-modern by some
- feedback shows that the vast majority of players do understand the game
- the devs are happy a lot of people dig the combo-based gameplay
- Dotemu is the sole entity deciding to share sales numbers or not, and those numbers are yet to be shared
- Guard Crush has some Streets of Rage 4 DLC ideas in mind, but no DLC is officially in development
- the team is unsure if they’ll actually make DLC or not
- Guard Crush tried to make Streets of Rage 4 as accessible as possible, that’s why the game has many difficulty levels
- the game was developed on hard, and the other difficulties were added later
- the team wanted the game to focus on scores, which is why the stages are short, and there are few waves of enemies
- Streets of Rage 4's main inspiration is Streets of Rage 2
- this is why the game doesn’t include a running system like Streets of Rage 3
- the developers wish for Streets of Rage 4 players to think ahead, not to react by reflex
- the team also felt the running function in Streets or Rage 3 can make your fingers tired pretty fast
- in Streets of Rage 2, using your special move uses some HP, which leaves the player frustrated
- using the special move feels as if you’re playing badly, which is why Guard Crush improved this system in Streets of Rage 4
- Streets of Rage 4 includes many references to other games, anime, etc, which all came about naturally
- a lot of the references and Easter eggs in the stages were added by Background Artist Julian Nquyen You
- Streets of Rage 4 players already managed to find things Guard Crush didn’t know themselves
- the developers managed to get many different composers, most notably from Japan, thanks to Brave Wave Productions
- it was decided from the start that Olivier Deriviere would handle the stage BGMs
- each one of the other composers would do a boss BGM
- each composer got some visuals of the boss they were composing for
- the title screen BGM, character select screen BGM and the first part of the first stage’s NGM are handled by Yuzo Koshizo
- Koshiro also composed the final boss BGM
- Olivier Deriviere explained this is to show the link between the past works and to show Yuzo Koshiro’s importance
- Jet Set Radio composer Hideki Naganuma did not participate in Streets or Rage 4′s OST as planned due to scheduling issues
- DotEmu only got the rights for the Streets of Rage 1’s Game Gear version OST, not the Genesis version
- most of the BGM names are references to anime, games, etc

SEGA turned down a request to include Shinobi's Joe Musashi in Streets of Rage 4

A no-go for Joe

Streets of Rage 4 packs in a number of unlockable characters, but they all come from the Streets of Rage franchise. If the devs behind Streets of Rage 4 had their chance, the game would have also snuck in a tribute to Shinobi.

According to and interview with Streets of Rage 4 Game Designer Jordi Asensio, his team put in a request with SEGA to include Joe Musashi of Shinobi fame in the game as an unlockable character. Unfortunately, SEGA didn't seem to care for that idea, as they turned the request down. Asensio didn't elaborate on why SEGA said no, so all we can do is be upset that they turned the idea down!

Dotemu releases a statement concerning the situation with Streets of Rage 4's physical release from Limited Run Games

Calming the rage

Those who purchased Streets of Rage 4 from Limited Run Games are still waiting for those copies to arrive, and many people are losing patience quickly. Dotemu has heard the complaints, which is why they've released a statement on the matter. There's still some waiting to do, but those who can hold out will get some bonus goodies with their purchase. Check out the full statement below.

RUMOR - Retail version of Streets of Rage 4 on the way to Europe

Worth raging over

While Limited Run Games has already revealed and opened preorders for a physical version of Streets of Rage 4, it seems that another retail option is specifically in the works for Europe.

According to French journalist Joueur énervé, Europe will have the chance to snag a physical copy of Streets of Rage 4 through a Merge Games, who will most likely be doing a Signature Edition. Why hasn't Merge Games announced this yet? We hear that the announcement has been blocked until Limited Run Games' preorders are filled.

GoNintendo Thought: The 26-year wait for a new Streets of Rage

A long and lonely road

Here's a topic I never thought I'd get to write about. It only took 26 years to make it happen! As always, thanks for reading.

______________________________________________

Just yesterday, something happened that hadn't come about in a very, very long time. Against all odds, a new Streets of Rage game was released. Streets of Rage 4, which started development back in 2018, finally made its way to multiple platforms, Switch included. It marked the end of an extremely long wait between installments, and the rebirth of a franchise that countless fans believed to be dead.

Back in the SNES and Genesis days, a lot of young fans were caught up in the console wars. While I've long moved on from those battles, I was definitely a participant when those platforms were the hottest thing. It's embarrassing to look back on, but I was young and dumb. Most of us were on the playground arguing which platform was better and for various reasons. Whenever the SEGA fans spoke up, you could bet they'd mention the Streets of Rage series.

While I was firmly on the side of the SNES in those days, I did own a Genesis. Even in my console wars stupidity, I could fully admit that the Streets of Rage series was fantastic. I played the second installment first, and absolutely fell in love with it. I quickly went back to play the original, which I loved as well. The third installment, while divisive in the soundtrack department, still brought the goods when it came to gameplay. This beat'em-up franchise was top of the heap when it came to SEGA exclusives, and showed the power of the system, as well as SEGA's prowess in creating exciting games.

Fans of Streets of Rage were extremely lucky back in the day, as three separate installments came to the Genesis in a short amount of time. With those releases, it seemed the series was cemented as a major player for SEGA going forward. SEGA fans were eager to see where the series would go next with new hardware on the way. How would SEGA use new platform features to enhance the franchise and take it forward? All we could do was sit back and wait...and wait...and wait.

Numerous SEGA platforms saw release as the years rolled on. The SEGA CD, 32X, Saturn, and Dreamcast all had their time in the spotlight, yet a new Streets of Rage was nowhere to be found. Somehow, one of the biggest franchises SEGA had on the Genesis would go completely neglected with every hardware follow-up. It almost seems impossible when you think about it. It would be like Nintendo skipping over a Legend of Zelda title in the move to new platforms. Streets of Rage was synonymous with SEGA during the Genesis era, yet it completely dropped off the face of the earth after.

How in the world did this happen? Unfortunately, we don't have a definitive answer. All we know is that SEGA shot down multiple attempts to bring the series back for over 20 years. Core Design pitched a new Streets of Rage that SEGA said no to, which Core would turn into Fighting Force. Composer Yuzo Koshiro was involved with early work on a Streets of Rage sequel on Dreamcast, but that never came to be. Ruffian Games and Backbone Entertainment worked on prototypes as well, but SEGA would shut those down too.

Perhaps SEGA simply didn't see a vision for Streets of Rage going forward. In the jump from 2D to 3D, multiple games found their path forward in a polygonal world. Other genres seemed to disappear without a clear path ahead. All of these years later, the beat'em-up genre is largely the same as it was back in the 90s, just with prettier graphics. There haven't been any major revolutions in how beat'em-ups play, as the jump to 3D didn't seem to offer much in the way of gameplay enhancements. Fans of the genre nowadays don't mind that one bit, and continue to embrace the gameplay for its classic roots. The same can't be said for gamers back when video games made the jump to 3D.

A lot of devs and pubs thought that consumers wouldn't want anything to do with 2D games once the gaming world went 3D, and for a large portion of the audience/amount of time, they were right. Almost the entire industry shied away from 2D gameplay for a very long time, as it seemed dated and restrictive. Players wanted experiences that were in 3D, where they could explore a new dimension and fresh gameplay mechanics. Outside of Nintendo, it was quite hard to find developers who would work in 2D and sprites, as well as developers who continued to embrace genres that had been popular in the past.

Obviously a lot of time has passed since the Genesis and SNES were kings of the game market. The game industry has come an incredibly long way, and now brings in more fans than ever before. That means there's an audience for your game no matter how it looks or plays. Millions flock to games that employ the latest visuals and push hardware to its limits, while classic pixel-style adventures in timeless genres can find just as many fans. There's no such thing as a game that looks too old or plays too close to the classics anymore. It's just about playing games in general, and being a fan of the variety the industry has to offer.

If SEGA did shy away from the Streets of Rage series after the Genesis due to not knowing how to bring it into 3D, seeing the series come back now makes perfect sense. SEGA has seen first-hand that there are millions of gamers out there who want to experience new installments in classic gameplay styles. While Sonic has certainly found major success with his 3D outings, there is still a huge amount of people who yearned for a series entry that both looked and played like the classics. That's what lead to the creation of Sonic Mania, a retro-styled revival that was pretty much built by fans who grew up in the classic era. That game saw a huge amount of success both with critics and sales alike, and clearly opened SEGA's eyes to the potential in their other IP.

Turning to Streets of Rage for a revival must have been a no-brainer for SEGA at this point. While there are still plenty of classic SEGA franchises that fans would like to see come back, hardly any are held in the same high regard as Streets of Rage. Fans of those three original titles, myself included, never stopped talking about those games. They weren't just beat'em-ups, they were the pinnacle of what the genre could offer. Their design, artwork, and music were shining examples of the era, and influenced countless developers going forward. The fan base, no matter how many years had passed, were still eager to talk about the series, and desperate for a new installment. It was a series that died at the height of its popularity, and it deserved a return.

Thus, here we are today. 26 loooooooooong years after Streets of Rage 3 came to the Genesis, we finally have a new installment. SEGA might be in a very different place nowadays, but its fans are more than ready to support the company's classic brands. Even though we're just two days into Streets of Rage 4's release, it seems like things are going incredibly well. Critics showered the game with all sorts of praise, and buzz around the launch is undeniable. Will that equal a sales success like the one Sonic Mania saw? We'll need a bit more time before that can be decided, but we're certainly off to a good start.

Should Streets of Rage 4 have taken 26 years to come out? I think we can all agree that it shouldn't have. For at least part of the series' dormancy, it seems market circumstances were to blame. SEGA may not have known how to take the series into the 3D world, and SEGA themselves were facing a lot of turmoil. As for what happened after SEGA went third party and why they kept shooting down pitches for the series' revival, your guess is as good as mine. I guess all that matters now is that Streets of Rage is once again alive. It reminds us of what SEGA was in its glory days, and how they can bring back the hype by smart partnerships and IP revival.

My only hope after Streets of Rage 4 is that we don't have to wait another 26 years for Streets of Rage 5. With SEGA greenlighting the fourth installment, you'd have to think they're keen on having the series around as a regular once again. As long as this latest game is a success, I think the path ahead for the series is brighter than ever. Retro games are in, nostalgia is big, and download distribution cuts down on costs in a major way. If this moment in time can't provide a solid path ahead for Streets of Rage, I don't know that anything can. Thankfully, I think plenty of fans are ready to hit the streets once again.

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