When you talk about the best beat ’em up titles in video game history, Streets of Rage is always mention as either the best or near the top of the genre. We’ve had numerous attempts in the past to make a fourth installment in the franchise, but none never blossomed until now. When DotEmu and Lizardcube announced they were working on Streets of Rage 4 it quickly became one of the most talked about topics in the video game world.
While attending PAX East this past weekend, we sat down with Art Director Stéphane Perez to learn more about what this installment has for us.
Kara: There have been many attempts to create a Streets of Rage 4 over the years with many not getting back the concept phase or cancelled while in development. What do you think made yours break the curse?
Stéphane Perez: I think that over the past year Sega has been more open with this license. It also helps that we previously worked on the Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. They really loved what we did with the game, so when we went to them with the presentation about a Streets of Rage 4 they were more inclined to reach out to us. We also really respected the gameplay of the original. We stayed 2D and very faithful.
Kara: Since Streets of Rage is considered by many to be one of the best beat em’ up franchises in video game history, has that made the pressure more unbearable? How do you deal with it?
SP: You don’t start a game like that thinking to much about the pressure. You have to not only please the fans, but also yourself. It helps tremendously that everyone working on the game are fans themselves. You just start by doing what you believe is best for this game.
It’s a very fine line to work because some people are going to be disappointed by the new art style. Most of the feedback we have received from the art style has been very positive. A lot of people are going to be amazed by the overall feeling of the game which is very true to the series.
Kara: How do you plan on balancing new content for those who are new to the franchise while also not alienating existing fans of the series?
SP: Well there has been a lot of people playing the demo and have found some new moves that we have added. For example, you can slow weapons and throw them back in the air. You can regain your health after using specials.
Kara: What are some of the new things we will see?
SP:You’ll have to wait and see for yourself.
Kara: Does Sega have any involvement in the development process?
SP: We are sending them promos regularly and they have been very supportive, but they are not hands-on. They have faith in us.