WayForward unveils the trailer for its upcoming game River City Girls. The title will be a collaborative work with the IP’s current owner Arc System Works.
River City Ransom, or Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (ダウンタウン熱血物語, “Downtown Hot-Blooded Story”) in Japan, was a beat em’ up game developed by Technos Japan for the Famicom System in 1989. Part of the Kunio-kun game series, this particular title was eventually released in the West for a number of different consoles. First internationally released for the Gameboy Advance in 2004, and eventually being ported to the 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and finally to the Nintendo Switch.
Kunio is the eponymous main character of the series, represented by his stereotypical Japanese delinquent design, and a white gakuran. His rival, Kiri, served as the main antagonist of the series for the first two games, and he is primarily shown wearing a standard dark blue gakuran. Starting River City Ransom, however, Kiri started to appear as a playable character, and has been part of the main player roster ever since.
It was during the time of the 1989 game’s English localization when the series was subsequently acquired by Arc System Works. The company then adopted the title on even more console releases, with the latest being Kunio-kun: The World Classics Collection, a compendium of every game in the franchise, including those never released outside Japan.
River City Girls will thus be technically part of the Kunio-kun game series. Its official Japanese title is designated as Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio-kun Gaiden – River City Girls (熱血硬派くにおくん外伝River City Girls). In fact, Arc System Works promotes the game as the start of a “new Kunio-kun series”, designed to cater to a more modern player base while keeping the title fresh for its long-time fans.
As the title suggests, our two main fighting rivals will be put aside in place of their sweethearts; Kunio’s Misako, and Kiri’s Kyoko. In the original games, both are students of the same in-game schools as the boys, Nekketsu High School, and Hanazono High School. The trailer though clearly shows a “River City High School”, possibly hinting that the game is a reimagined version, instead of being directly part of the Kunio-kun game series continuity.
Additionally, at least in the games, they also display the same feisty attitude for brawls and fights as their romantic partners.
While both Misako and Kyoko have been playable since 1994’s Super Famicom title Shin Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio-tachi no Banka, this will be the very first time the two characters will take center stage on a Kunio-kun series game. According to the trailer, it would seem that the authorities finally had enough of Kunio and Kiri’s violent antics, and it is up to their girls to save them and win the day.
The developer of the game, WayForward, has been widely known as one of the developers of modern retro-bit style platforming games, as well as remastered or remade versions of classic games. The company’s most popular title, the Shantae series, has enjoyed a vast number of sequels, as well as spin-offs and a few re-releases.
Which is probably why it wasn’t surprising at all that the company developed the game. In fact, River City Girls could have gained considerable hype with the combined legacy of the original series, plus the (so far) solid track record of WayForward for these types of game genres.
Presentation and game-wise, the retro-bit style would definitely be one of the best features of Retro City Girls, aside from its already solid-looking beat em’ up gameplay. Fluid movement with full motion frames gives life to Misako and Kyoko, not to mention also preserving the kickass attitude of both girls.
The game is basically set to take the entire Kunio-kun series forward to today’s modern realm of 60 fps bits n’ pixels gameplay.
River City Girls is slated to be released this coming September 5. It will be available for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You can also download the game on Steam when it becomes available.