The Curious Case Of Streets Of Rage 4
These two words are more than enough to take me back to my childhood. I must have been about eight when Streets Of Rage 2 entered the Hewitt household; my brother and I would complete the game on a daily basis. When the character selection screen loaded up we would argue for ages over who got to be Axel. I think it is fair to say, then, that that this particular game played a huge part in my early gaming years.
It’s been nineteen years since Streets Of Rage 3 was released on the Megdrive; I think it would be fair to say that we’re long overdue a sequel.
There have been many fan-games based on the Streets Of Rage franchise but the one that stands out head-and-shoulders over the rest is the Streets of Rage Remake by Bombergames. The remake took eight (yes you read that correctly: eight) long years to complete but proved that it was worth the wait as it has was welcomed with opened arms by the SoR community. A true fan service created by genuine VoxelArcade heroes of the first order.
The remake allows you to play the bike scene removed from SoR3
But the big question is: will Streets of Rage 4 ever hit our television screens? On more than one occasion SEGA started to work on a fourth instalment, only for it to then be dropped. Let’s look back at these aborted attempts, shall we?
Streets Of Rage 4: Take One
SEGA felt that the next game of the franchise needed to be developed on a fifth-generation consoles as they believed they were not able to push the power of their 16-bit console any further. In 1994, the Sega Saturn was released in Japan and the opportunity of developing the next Streets of Rage game arose.
Instead of building the game from scratch, Sega wanted to use Core Design’s half-completed game, Judgement Force/Fighting Force, and then rework it into Streets of Rage 3D. Due to Sega wanting the game to be exclusive to their new console and Core Design wanting the game to go muti-platform, Sega dropped the idea whilst the British Developers released the game, Fighting Force, on the PC, Playstation and Nintendo 64. For shame.
Streets Of Rage 4: Take Two
It is rumoured that the Die Hard arcade game, that was released in 1996, was another attempt at releasing Streets of Rage 4 that morphed into something else. Sega apparently pulled out due to not wanting to release the sequel on an arcade platform. Ironically, the game was then released on the Sega Saturn in 1997.
Streets Of Rage 4: Take Three
With the hopes of bringing the game to the Sega Saturn seemingly coming to an end, Sega looked to bring the fourth instalment out on its latest console: Dreamcast. Overworks (then known as Ancient) and Sega started working on Streets Of Rage 4 ahead of the 1998 launh of the console. A playable section was put together, although it was still an early build – but it was as fully 3D and introduced a new first-person fighting mode.
The game was later dropped due to the then executives of Sega of America being (get this) unaware of the series! I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it is true. These executives believed the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre had died in the mid-90’s and for this reason they believed the game would essentially prove to be unsuccessful.
Gaming was at this point, it seems, too young to embrace being retro.
Streets Of Rage 4: Take Four
With the demise of both the Dreamcast and the future of their entire console division, Sega had to look elsewhere for the long-awaited Streets of Rage sequel. There were talks about releasing the game on Microsoft’s Xbox but nothing materialised.
Yuzo Koshiro, who was made famous by Streets Of Rage’s innovative soundtrack, said at the time that “now Sega teams are independent, we’ll re-plan it and bring it to Hitmaker first. If they’re interested in making it for Xbox and make a contract with us, I want to restart the plan“.
He later said “I’m thinking about a first-person mode. And needless to say, in 3D. And the game will connect online for multi-play” and “My sister [Ayano Koshiro, Ancient Art Designer] designed five new characters for SoR4 already“
And yet nothing ever appeared. Street Of Rage 4 failed to see the light of day, despite a number of concerted efforts to make it happen. A title so loved by the community and so well-respected all these years later surely deserves an opportunity to shine.
5th time lucky?
VoxelArcade would like to wish Sam all the best for the future as he moves-on to pastures new. He plans to launch a site of his own, details of which we’ll update you with nearer the launch!
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Started gaming at the age of 4. I still hear the screams of our old Sinclair Spectrum's loading screen.