GoNintendo Interview: We speak to WayForward about all issues River City Girls!


Longtime GoNintendo fans know that I am a Large fan of WayForward’s operate. No joke, they are one particular of my favourite developers out there! From their original titles to operate on other large-name franchises, I feel they nail it each single time. No matter what they are cooking up, I generally appear forward to it.

I also occur to be a genuinely large fan of the River City franchise! That really like affair began way back on the NES, and has continued to this incredibly day. I imply, how can you not really like a franchise exactly where the terrible guys say “BARF!” when you beat them down?!

Envision my excitement when I discovered out that Arc Technique Performs and WayForward had been teaming up to make a new spin-off title in the River City franchise named River City Girls! As quickly as the initially trademark popped up I was dying to know a lot more, and when I discovered out WayForward was involved, I could not have asked for something superior. Very best of all, River City Girls is launching for Switch on Sept. 5th, 2019, which is suitable about the corner!

Seeking for a way to preserve oneself occupied till River City Girls launches? Why not verify out our interview with WayForward’s Adam Tierney? We picked his brain to come across out all sorts of juicy particulars on the upcoming title, and even had a hunch or two confirmed!


Q1. What drew WayForward to the River City franchise?

A1. “River City Ransom” is one particular of these classic NES games that I feel WayForward has generally had an eye on as anything we’d really like to take a stab at adapting. We got close back in 2012 with “Double Dragon Neon” the Kunio-kun (aka River City) series and Double Dragon series have generally been loosely connected. But it wasn’t till a handful of years ago that we produced a formal inquiry about River City to Arc Technique Performs, who gained the rights to each brands back in 2015.

Arc has really been genuinely busy with the brand considering the fact that acquiring it, building remakes and original games on 3DS and consoles. And of course there was also renewed interest on the brand right here in the States from the Kickstarter game project “River City Ransom: Underground,” which was directed by Bannon Rudis (now a director right here at WayForward, and assistant director on “River City Girls”).

But to single out one particular moment in unique, it was when I was initially shown the Super Famicom game “Shin Nekketsu Kōha: Kunio-tachi no Banka.” This game had inexplicably missed my interest till a handful of years ago, when a different director right here showed it to me. Misako and Kyoko (the two heroes of “River City Girls”) had been secondary playable characters in that game, and I quickly fell in really like with their styles, their character, and the truth that these incredibly scrawny-searching female characters had been destroying enormous, bulky thugs with ease. The second I saw them curb-stomping a downed gangster, I knew we necessary to produce a new game primarily based on these girls.

Shortly afterward, we teamed up with comic artist Priscilla Hamby (@Tsulala) to reimagine Misako and Kyoko, as nicely as some extra boss characters (new and old), and pitched the notion to Arc Technique Performs whilst on a organization trip to Japan. Arc had a genuinely optimistic reaction to the pitch, and not lengthy afterward, we had been collaborating with them on “River City Girls” as a brand new, Western-created entry in the Kunio-kun franchise.

Q2. What do you feel the River City universe offers that other beat’em-ups never?

A2. A lot more than something, I feel it is the series’s humor. Beneath the hood, there’s a lot of the identical DNA among Double Dragon and River City games, but the Double Dragon games (Neon excepted) had been generally epic and significant, whilst the River City games had been generally slapstick and cartoony. Beaten enemies yelling “BARF!” or selecting up and throwing a downed enemy like a weapon provides the series a ridiculous, bigger-than-life really feel that was fairly nicely realized way back in “River City Ransom” (the third game in the Kunio-kun series) and that has remained to this day.

“River City Girls” keeps that absurdity in location, whilst possibly exploring it even additional than earlier titles. 1 of my favourite VO lines in the game is when Kyoko (one particular of our two protagonists) ponders, “You ever wonder why absolutely everyone in our town is so violent? I imply, everyone’s generally punching and kicking every other. Like, everywhere we go, all day lengthy.” That is the type of goofy conceit I would wonder about if I lived in the planet of a beat-’em-up game, so it is entertaining to have characters really ask that aloud. And hopefully, by way of the humor and gags, players will turn out to be attached to our characters on an emotional level as nicely.

Q3. What produced you want to place the ladies in the lead for this outing?

A3. It was a handful of issues. 1st, as talked about, just genuinely falling in really like with them in “Shin Nekketsu Kōha: Kunio-tachi no Banka.” Second, I feel WayForward just gravitates toward (and is fairly nicely identified for, at this point) building games with robust female protagonists. So of course the WayForward version of a River City game would star the girls, suitable? And third, it seemed like a good way to mix up the formula, which seemed fairly vital provided there are about 50 Kunio-kun games that’ve been released more than the previous 30 years. Taking the spotlight off the boyfriends, Riki and Kunio (who star in about 90% of the Kunio-kun games), felt like anything that could possibly interest lengthy-time Kunio-kun fans rather than if we just maintained the status quo and let the boys lead this game as usual.

1 funny point, even though, is that confusion about which girls to use ended up brewing up one particular of the game’s important plot points. Our initially pitch to Arc had Misako and Kyoko as the lead characters for the reason that they had been the playable characters in that Super Famicom game. But I didn’t recognize at the time that Hasebe and Mami (aka Roxy and Cyndi) had been really the boys’ girlfriends in MOST of the Kunio-kun games. We’d sort of stumbled into deciding on the “rare girlfriends” as our protagonists. And as we discussed how to manage that in the game, that sort of brewed up this rivalry among Misako/Kyoko and Hasebe/Mami that is woven into substantially of the game’s plot now. It’ll be entertaining, when the game is released, to see how series fans react to the dynamic of these 4 girls in our game.

Q4. River City Girls appears to be a excellent mix of WayForward’s signature style and Arc Technique Works’ mechanics. How difficult was it to come across this balance?

A4. Brawlers are one particular of the game genres fairly firmly in WayForward’s wheelhouse, the other folks getting platformers and metroidvanias (and “River City Ransom” has a lot of metroidlike DNA as nicely). So it was fairly organic for us to operate on a game of this variety. Exactly where I feel the game got a lot more intriguing in its combat systems, and to your point substantially closer to Arc’s personal fighting games, is when we decided to bring Bannon on as my assistant director. Bannon created and oversaw all the game’s combat, enemies, and boss battles. He’d proficiently been living in River City for 4 years ahead of joining WayForward, by way of his operate on “River City Ransom: Underground.” And that game was fairly ambitious in terms of its combat systems, combos, juggling, and so on.

On “River City Girls,” Bannon brought his brawler and fighting game knowledge, but at the identical time kept the play controls and inputs easier than in lots of fighters and brawlers, so that fairly substantially everyone can pull off any move they pick out to. I would liken the combat to Super Smash Bros. or Arc’s personal Dragon Ball FighterZ, each of which are incredibly deep, nuanced fighting games, but inputting every move is generally as uncomplicated as pressing a path plus one particular button. Bannon also loves contextual combat moves, so there are a lot of attacks in “River City Girls” that are pulled off by attacking enemies mid-air, or from behind, or when on the ground, or jumping on their head. And once again, the combat is also incredibly charming and silly, which genuinely aids reinforce the character of the girls, bosses, and enemies in the game.

Q5. Wayforward’s games, in my opinion, have some of the finest soundtracks about. How critical was it to come across the suitable sound for River City Girls?

A5. Massively critical! And thank you for saying that.

I decided incredibly early on that I wanted to create “River City Girls” with an practically totally new employees, in regard to art, animation, and music. The people we normally operate with (each internal and external) are excellent, but this game necessary to have its personal distinct character. I’d been wanting to operate with Chipzel for years, so this seemed like a excellent chance to bring her aboard (she’d previously contributed to one particular of our Adventure Time games). Chipzel composed the game’s boss battle songs, which I wanted to have a heavier, a lot more aggressive sound than the rest of the game’s music.

For the stages, cinematics, menus, and most anything else, we tapped Megan McDuffee, who’s a true increasing star of synthpop and indie film scores. With Chipzel currently planned, I wanted a different composer to balance out the soundtrack with a lot more mellow, symphonic tracks. Megan nailed that vibe and then took it so substantially additional than I could’ve imagined. She personally composed about 50 tracks on our 62-song soundtrack, and they are all ridiculously hummable. Not to mention Megan is also a incredibly gifted singer, so she produced a half-dozen complete vocal tracks as nicely, and these tie into one particular of the game’s bosses in an intriguing way.

Nathan Sharp (NateWantsToBattle), Cristina Vee (who also cast and directed our VO), and Dale North round out our collection of composers, and they all did an great job on their songs.

Q6. The manga-style snippets are such a fresh way to delivery story content material. How did that come to be?

A6. They started largely out of pure necessity. There are about 5 manga sequences in the game and we utilised them for storytelling beats that would’ve been hard to obtain by way of in-game dialog alone. I decided at the commence of production that I didn’t want to do any “scripting” sequences, which is when the game requires handle of your characters and walks them about. These are generally a ton of work to pull off, and (at least in pixel games) they commonly come off stiff and bland.

So as an alternative, we produced small motion comics that turned out genuinely entertaining and engaging, a lot more so than I feel we initially anticipated. We’re fairly substantially undertaking the Fooly Cooly manga point of panning the camera about more than a web page of comic book art with VO and minor animation. I wrote these scenes, Priscilla illustrated them, Cristina directed the VO, Jordan Vine (one particular of our VFX artists) animated them, Megan produced music, and Kevin Samuels in our SFX division added sound effects. These manga scenes ended up getting some of the team’s favourite moments in the game, and (relative to anything else) they weren’t that difficult to pull off.

We also have complete-animation, anime-style scenes, but these are reserved for the game’s intro title sequence and the reveal of every boss (just ahead of their battle). I’m also fond of how these sequences came out, but they took drastically a lot more work than the manga comic sequences. And of course we have the WayForward-typical slide-in-portrait scenes, as nicely as passive VO that plays for the duration of combat. And 100% of our story sequences that pause gameplay are skippable if players just want to get back to the action.

Q7. Misako and Kyoko look to have an expansive set of moves to pick out from. Exactly where did the inspiration for these come from? Did we catch a small bit of pro wrestling influence in there?

A7. Certainly. Bannon loves wrestling (in truth, I think he’s taking a wrestling class at present) and I recall he leaned heavily into these sorts of moves in “River City Ransom: Underground.” When it came to our game, the main objective was to make the combat of every character — be they playable, enemy, or boss — clearly tied to their person character. Bannon worked with our lead animator, Kay Yu, to make a decision what every of the girls’ attacks must appear like, and I was impressed with how inventive they got. The truth that Kyoko has a devastating dab attack produced me groan when I initially saw it, but I knew men and women would really like the absurdity of it (and considering the fact that that move was revealed on-line lately, confident sufficient, men and women have been obsessing more than it). But it is also a incredibly Kyoko point to do. You genuinely get a clear sense of the character of every girl by watching how they attack and move about in the game, which is a true testament to the skills of Kay, Bannon, and the rest of our animators — that they had been capable to craft combat this tight and responsive, whilst also generating it incredibly charming and silly.

Q8. Will the game make use of any Switch-particular characteristics?

A8. The game is playable in each docked and handheld mode, of course, and has a robust layer of HD Rumble more than all gameplay components. But almost certainly the finest Switch function is that the combat inputs are concise sufficient that the game can be played two-player with a pair of sideways Joy-Cons. Bannon was incredibly adamant about making sure the inputs in no way got various sufficient to demand two Joy-Cons for one particular player. Single players can similarly play it with a sideways Joy-Con, two upright or docked Joy-Cons, or a Switch Pro Controller — having said that they favor.

Q9. The game is couch co-op only. What produced you stick to this classic style of multiplayer?

A9. There are a metric TON of gameplay systems in the River City games. Men and women are generally fast to recall that the games are brawlers, but from time to time neglect there’s a complete metroidvania layer underneath that, and then a complete stats-and-leveling method beneath that. Couple this with the truth that we had been operating in a brand-new art style (couldn’t reuse any of the classic Kunio-kun sprites or environments, as most earlier games had), and then added some brand-new design and style components to this game, such as accessories (permanent, swappable stat-boosts) and recruits (converting defeated enemies into jump-in allies), and on-line co-op just couldn’t match into the schedule this time about.

I know this is disappointing news for lots of gamers, but such as on-line with our schedule genuinely would have meant taking a hatchet to various of the (IMO) a lot more memorable gameplay systems we did get in. If we’re fortunate sufficient to create a different River City game soon after this one particular, I feel on-line is anything we would make an work to attempt and get in, but for this initially game, with anything else we had to full in a quick quantity of time, it just wasn’t feasible.

That stated, I do want to mention that the game’s story does not endure from playing alone. No matter if you are in a one particular-player or two-player game, the story is generally unfolding for Misako and Kyoko collectively. So you nevertheless get all the identical jokes, story beats, and friendship moments among Misako and Kyoko regardless of whether or not each girls are actively getting played. The game also accommodates swapping back and forth among one particular- and two-player at any time, and beneath any save file. Even even though you might’ve began a game solo, if you have a pal going to, they can jump suitable into the game and aid you out on your quest.

Q10. Can we count on any animated shorts to go along with the game? A thing akin to what SEGA did for Sonic Mania Plus?

A10. Man, I want! However that is not at present planned, largely for the reason that the men and women who would be operating on these are also busy finishing the actual game. Also, provided how lengthy it requires to create high quality 2D animation, I feel a preferred route could possibly be the motion comics w/ VO we had been just discussing, or possibly even a standard, old-college, physical comic book. If “River City Girls” sells nicely, I feel any of these possibilities — and particularly a lot more games — is a possibility.

Q11. Prior to we go, can you inform us one particular a lot more tidbit about Something in the game that you have not shared anyplace else?

A11. Hmmmm… A thing we haven’t shared Anyplace else however? That is hard for the reason that so substantially of the game’s cast and places and gameplay systems have currently been revealed in the lots of web sites, trailers, and interviews that WayForward and Arc have released.

Okay, you’d feel that a game with six worlds would include six boss battles. But you’d be mistaken. There’s nevertheless one particular boss deserving of a beatdown soon after the credits roll. If you feel cleverly, possibly you can come across them…


A Large thank you to Adam Tierney and the whole WayForward gang for placing collectively this interview with us. It was our pleasure to operate on the function, and I hope all of you reading this enjoyed it!


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