The announcement of DotEmu joining forces with both Lizardcube and Guard Crush to work on Streets of Rage 4 caught the world by surprise. Why? Well, Streets of Rage/Bare Knuckle was a knock-out sensational beat em up series that appealed to fans of the genre. Fans have been asking for a follow-up or a reboot, for as long as I can remember and suddenly we’re being told it’s being worked on. Except, SEGA wasn’t spearheading the effort. It made more than a few of us wonder if beloved brawler was going to be in good hands.
So we did what any fan of the series would do, we reached out to Dotemu and were put in touch with Arnaud de Sousa, the head of marketing. We had questions and Arnaud was gracious enough to answer them all.
Also, a big thanks to Stephanie Tinsley Fitzwilliam of Tinsley-pr for helping make this interview possible.
The Outerhaven: How did this project get off the ground? Was it Dotemu who contacted SEGA?
Arnaud de Sousa: When finishing the production of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, we were asking ourselves what we could do next, what we could ask SEGA. Of course, we had a ton of ideas, but what everybody had in their minds was, of course, Streets of Rage. And we said to ourselves: “If we’re going to ask something, let’s just ask for what we want”, and that’s what we did. We started working on the idea with Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games and prepared a presentation with design ideas, artworks, animations, and so on. We finally went to SEGA and showed them what we wanted to do. SEGA really liked the idea and long story short, they said yes!
The Outerhaven: How long did it take for SEGA to get onboard with the project?
Arnaud de Sousa: As always with this kind of projects, it took some time to figure out everything, but SEGA was excited from the beginning. Streets of Rage is a great license and it was important for everybody involved in the project to do things right.
The Outerhaven: We’ve seen that Axel and Blaze are returning, but will we see any other returning characters? Also, during the trailer, we noticed a mysterious character that appeared to have a snake wrapped around her. Any background info on her?
Arnaud de Sousa: There are definitely more characters to reveal as well as more details on the full game itself. We’re excited to reveal more information soon – and can’t wait to hear from the fans.
The Outerhaven: Do you have an idea as to which platforms that Streets of Rage 4 will be released On? Could we possibly see a Switch release as well?
Arnaud de Sousa: More will be revealed in terms of platforms soon!
The Outerhaven: I know a lot of people have been about wondering this, as have I.Will Yuzo Koshiro return to score the soundtrack?
Arnaud de Sousa: We aren’t commenting on specifics right now but there will be more details revealed on the soundtrack soon. We know the soundtrack to the original Streets of Rage games were important to the overall world’s feel, and we hope to deliver a soundtrack worthy of the fans! For us, the soundtrack is as much important as the graphics or the gameplay, and we take it really seriously. But stay tuned, the OST will have its own announcements in the future.
The Outerhaven: We’ve seen just two players in the trailer. Is there any chance we’ll see more than two players in a game? And will this be couch co-op or will it have online play as well?
Arnaud de Sousa: We’re currently concentrating our efforts on the core of the game, so it’s definitely too soon to talk about this.
The Outerhaven: We’ve seen several outstanding “Beat ’em Up” titles that have been released in past few years. Have you played any of them, and have any of them influenced this project?
Arnaud de Sousa: The guys at Guard Crush Games are super beat em fans, and it’s the favorite genre of our game designer: he basically played all the beat them ups out there, even the most obscure games you can think of, and I’m being really serious here. Guard Crush Games has also developed a beat them up themselves (Streets of Fury), and it’s really fun and new.
For Streets of Rage 4, we’re facing a great challenge: to find the balance between old and new. Because it is a Streets of Rage game, we must (and want to) be faithful to the series, but because it’s a brand new episode, we also must (and want to) bring something new to it. It’s not a remake, it’s a sequel, so finding that right balance is essential for us.
The Outerhaven: As anyone from the Streets of Rage Remake project been approached to work on Streets of Rage 4?
Arnaud de Sousa: Nobody from the Streets of Rage Remake is working on Streets of Rage 4, but the team (of SOR4) did, of course, play the game, and there are definitely interesting things in it.
The game is being developed by a dream team of three studios: Lizardcube for the art direction, Guard Crush Games for the programming, and Dotemu for the game design and publishing. The idea here was to assemble experts in each field to bring the best game possible. Guard Crush Games has been developing a beat them up and a dedicated engine for almost 10 years and they have a great knowledge of the genre. Lizardcube have that amazing touch when it comes to graphics and art direction, as they proved it with the beautiful Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap. Finally, we at Dotemu are specialized in retro gaming and we know really well how to work with old licenses. Combining these three companies made perfect sense for making a new Streets of Rage.
The Outerhaven: Is there anything that you haven’t told fans of the Streets of Rage series that you’d like to?
Arnaud de Sousa: Stay tuned, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. ;)
The Outerhaven: Did I tell you that I love for you this?
Arnaud de Sousa: No, but you just did! Thank you!
Thanks once again to Arnaud de Sousa for taking time out of his busy schedule and answering our questions on Streets of Rage 4. Currently, Streets of Rage 4’s release date or platforms haven’t been announced. For all your Streets of Rage 4 content and coverage, stay tuned to The Outerhaven.