Lizardcube creative director Ben Fiquet and lead background artist Julian Nguyen You spoke at length for about six minutes about the design inspiration, art-style, and some of the techniques that have gone into making Streets of Rage 4.
The behind-the-scenes development documentary covers how Fiquet and the crew wanted to work with Dotemu and Sega in reviving the Streets of Rage franchise with something both familiar and new.
Throughout the video Fiquet explains how they looked over the technical design documents of the original Streets of Rage and saw some of the things the team wanted to do but were unable to accomplish due to the technical limitations of the Genesis back in the day, and so they decided to add some of those elements to Streets of Rage 4, such as the car crashing into the wall coming around a bend.
You can check it out below.
They also discuss how they had to create the illusion of depth on the Z-plane and the feeling of volume with the backgrounds by reviving the classic 2D parallax scrolling technique. This is done by having layers of backgrounds and foregrounds at different scales to give the impression of depth.
One thing that Fiquet mentioned that absolutely rubbed me the wrong way was that he said that in order for the game to feel familiar to long-time fans they decided to age up the characters and have it take place a decade after the events of Streets of Rage 3. In Fiquet’s mind, he believed that a more mature take on the world would better resonate with longtime fans.
The reality is that you don’t need older or more “mature” characters in world-building to make an old franchise feel familiar.
This is one of the things that Nintendo does perfectly. They recognize that fans fell in love with a series because of what it was, and that recapturing that sense of novelty and nostalgia will not only help to retain old fans but also bring new fans to the table.
It’s one of the reasons why Nintendo is still one of the only respectable AAA publishers around. It’s because they recognize that it’s about respecting the player’s desire to have fun with a world they grew up in, without that world diminishing its integrity through vapid attempts to appeal to current-day sensibilities.
It’s like when people always say, “Nintendo needs to recognize their fans have grown up!” when in reality those people need to recognize that Nintendo is also catering to a brand new generation of fans who have yet to grow up. There’s always going to be new kids to cater to, and Fiquet should have recognized that instead of trying to take a Beauvoirian approach to the game, they should have just picked up where the original creators left off.
That’s not to mention that adding certain characters to appeal to mentally ill millennials is a huge turnoff for normal gamers.