Of all of SEGA’s most well known franchises, one series in particular has always been in the minds of gamers the minute they talk about SEGA in general. Streets of Rage, the Sega Genesis’ answer to Capcom’s arcade beat ’em up smash hit Final Fight, delivered the most entertaining, button pressing experience to our living rooms in a way that convinced many to get themselves a Genesis when the Blue Hedgehog and Blast Processing wasn’t enough to change your mind to take a chance on a Sega Console in the 1990’s. The Streets of Rage series managed to create memorable moments to many of those that played these games through the course of its 3 releases on the 16-bit SEGA Genesis console so much that even to this day, we are waiting with bated breath as to when a new addition to the series (be it an HD-remake, or official sequel) will be announced.
While SEGA has originally planned to release various sequels in the past for their consoles, a true continuation to the series has never seen the light of day. I mean, we should have all been looking forward to a new Streets of Rage game for the next generation, I mean, it was one of SEGA’s biggest series after-all, obviously there was gonna be one, right?
No, I’m afraid not. In fact, there were several attempts, but not a single one worth the Streets of Rage moniker. The first Attempt was by SEGA themselves:
Not much is know about the actual game, but some say that whatever it was in the beginning was quickly cancelled, altered, and would eventually become Dynamite Deka (ダイナマイト刑事 Dainamaito Deka A.K.A “Dynamite Detective”) in Japan. One of the finer examples of a 3D beat ’em up that many remember. In the west people might know this game better as Die Hard Arcade for the Sega Saturn.
The Second attempt came in the form of Judgement Force, a half finished game from developer CORE Design that Sega was interested in purchasing and publishing for their Sega Saturn. The game was pretty similar to Streets of Rage and the cast of characters at that time did have some similarities to the original, but alas, the deal went through at the last minute, leaving Sega, yet again, without a true successor to the Streets of Rage license.
That Unfinished game that Sega was looking to buy from CORE Design would eventually be released under the name Fighting Force: a game that came out for virtually every console at the time, Except the Sega Saturn.
With that, there would be no Streets of Rage title for the 32bit generation.
The Third attempt which would have Sega contact Ancient Corp (a game developer founded on April 1, 1990, that was managed by the VGM composer Yuzo Koshiro: that had a hand in the development of the 2nd and 3rd Streets of Rage titles for the Genesis/MegaDrive) to begin early concept work on Streets of Rage 4 for the Sega DreamCast. They had produced concept art and even developed a rough playable section, which showed the game had evolved into true 3D and even incorporated a first-person fighting mode.
However, executives from Sega of America, unaware of the series’ history and strong fanbase ( because the majority of them were new to the company), shot the idea down on the basis of its genre alone. They believed that the side-scrolling beat ’em up had rapidly gone out of fashion, and that any attempts to bring the genre into 3D (Fighting Force as an example) would be unsuccessful. This meant that Sega was not looking to invest in a game that in their eyes had little chance of making any money (even-though their premier Sega Dreamcast title, SHENMUE, featured a good portion of 3D beat ’em up segments and is still highly praised by many to this day). Sega decided that this game was a bad idea. The development was cancelled, and Streets of Rage 4 became a mere afterthought, becoming nothing more than a dream for those who wanted to see the franchise continued.
The fourth attempt to bring back Streets of Rage came in late February 2012, when Grin Barcelona, the company behind the Bionic Commando: Re-Armed, were attempting to make an updated version of the original as an online only title for XBox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, but once again the game was cancelled due to the company going bankrupt. Grin Barcelona had set upon a true remake of Streets of Rage but with 3D models on a 2D plane (similar to Double Dragon NEON), and would be published by Sega. Work on this game didn’t last long, however. Only a handful of screenshots and art were found after the games’ cancellation, but apparently a build of the game still exists somewhere.
The last attempt came from the people behind Crackdown 2 (Ruffian Games) in December of 2012 which was confirmed by Sean Noonan, a member of the Crackdown 2 team, that would have given the game a complete the 3D remake treatment. Leaked prototype gameplay video of the game was made to show the people at Sega but apparently it was rejected before it even hit the pre-alpha stage.
Another chance at a Streets of Rage revival unfortunately cancelled (again!).
Times have certainly changed, and maybe, just maybe it might be time for SEGA to bring new life to is once prominent franchise, introducing a new generation of gamers to the exploits of Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, Eddie “Skate” Hunter (Sammy Hunter in the Japanese version), Adam Hunter and even Max Thunder.
It has now been almost 22 years since the release of Streets of Rage 3.
Wow, can you believe it?
You would think that with the success of games like Scott Pilgrim VS The World, Double Dragon NEON, Castle Crashers, GodHand, and Bayonetta (or pretty much anything by Platinum Games) that bringing back Streets of Rage would be a no-brainer, so why has’nt Sega done anything? I don’t really know, but till then, I’ll hang on to my old Ver. 1 Sega Genesis, reach out a familiar cart from my shelf, and take down Mr. X one goon at a time.