Tuck away your rose-tinted glasses and get ready to hit the mean streets of Wood Oak City once more with Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, Eddie “Skate” Hunter and a bevy of other bad-ass brawlers from the iconic Streets of Rage series. Streets of Rage 4 plans to reinstitute plenty of original flavor from the heyday of the ’90s beat ’em up and the electronic dance-tinged soundtracks from the first two games aren’t the only vintage components the developers are swinging into the mix.
Streets of Rage 4 will also feature the return of Battle Mode, which wings some of the cooperative play fundamentals and allows up to four players to beat up on friends and foe alike. There will be no shortage of characters either, as the game brings back the near entirety of the full cast from previous installments (sans Roo), “complete with their own shiny pixel-art outfits and unique characteristics” for a grand total of 17 characters when all is said and done.
Check out the official release date video from the Dotemu YouTube channel (and check out that corner juggle 0:37 in):
And what about the much-lauded soundtracks from Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2? You’ll be able to switch between those tracks plus an all-new soundtrack “composed by an all-star line-up of musicians (including Olivier Deriviere, Yuzo Koshiro, Motohiro Kawashima, Yoko Shimomura, Das Mörtal, Scattle…),” according to Cyrille Imbert, Executive Producer of Streets of Rage 4 in the latest Streets of Rage 4 Playstation 4 developer post.
Imbert also goes more in-depth on the surprisingly extensive development process surrounding Streets of Rage 4, including bringing back the original sprites and animations from the classic SoR characters and infusing them into the brand-new game engine.
“Bringing these pixel characters back to life was no easy task, but as fans it was something we were committed to and wanted to surprise you guys with,” Imbert said. “… In order to start testing things and working on the gameplay, Jordi Asensio, our game designer, ripped some sprites from previous Streets of Rage games and integrated them into the Guard Crush engine. As the development went along, we realized that these sprites actually looked really good visually – with the lightning effects and all – and that having them playable was something we knew fans would love.”
More from the Playstation 4 developer post regarding integrating old and new elements from the series:
As mentioned above, bringing back all these characters wasn’t easy. First, our team had to rip each and every character, one by one, frame by frame. This was an exhausting process because we were dealing with around 1,500 different frames. But the next phase was even more complicated because we had to reconstruct all the animations with the right timings from the original games. Because of how intricate this process was, everything had to be done by hand.
Once the animations felt authentic, it was time for the real fun: the gameplay Because all the characters come from different games and because Streets of Rage 4 is a brand-new title, Jordi and the Guard Crush team had to adapt everything to the Streets of Rage 4 system. This meant going over all the characters and reproducing the properties of all their moves, one by one. This process required a lot of research and tuning, because our goal was to be very faithful. Thus, the team had to go over every timing and every hitbox, frame by frame.
Hitbox comparison for the same move: on the left, Streets of Rage 4; on the right, Streets of Rage 2
Occasionally, exactly reproducing the original properties didn’t work because Streets of Rage 4 works differently from the previous episodes and the old gameplay did not feel as fun as expected. So, for some characters or moves, we had to adapt and do even more fine tuning to make their move-sets work in a way that felt fun and on-point, which also meant adding some new subtleties. I don’t want to spoil those for you here though – I’ll let you discover them on April 30!
After months of seriously hard work, voilà: 12 freshly tuned classic combatants and five new fighters, for a total of 17 playable characters! We hope you enjoy playing Streets of Rage 4 as much as we enjoyed making it. Thank you all very much for your support since we first announced the game. It has been an exceptionally long, extremely rewarding journey for us, and you can’t imagine how excited we are for you to enjoy the finished product.
Streets of Rage 4 is being developed by Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games and produced by Dotemu; the game releases on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms on April 30, 2020.