On Wednesday I spoke to indie coder Gil Costas, creator of Eve Engine, an easy to use development tool for developers of scrolling beat-em-ups. The first project to run in conjunction with the engine is Streets of Rage Evolution, a new fan game that retells the story of the original Streets of Rage.
Sidd the Kidd is the man at the helm of the project, another strong player in the fan community. I caught up with him to discuss his project and the tech behind it.
Ladies and gentlemen, Sidd the Kidd *applause!*
Dave: Can you give me some background on the creation of the SoR: E and yourself? What are your roots as a coder and why did you decide to create this game?
Well honestly I can’t code worth a damn lol. I haven’t given up on learning how to code but I have put more focus onto other things pertaining to the project such as the graphics, music direction, story etc. I’ve been a fan of sor since I was 9, unfortunately that crappy dreamcast port of Streets of Rage 2 on sega smash pack was the first Streets of Rage I’ve played so I never experienced playing it on the genesis.
The Dreamcast Sega Smash Pack, home to a woeful port of Streets of Rage 2
At first evolution was a sequel, I actually wanted to do a 3rd sequel before I found out about SoR3 lol. Eventually I decided to trash idea and make evolution a series of remakes, I played a lot of the sega arcade games some were drastically different and even fun compared to their genesis counterparts. This made me wonder what the sor series would have been like had it started in arcades as many other beat ’em ups have.
Dave: Can you give us an overview of what to expect from SoR: E – What is the plot? Characters? New features?
Basically the Evolution series will be the arcade versions we never had as well as a total rehash of the series. The plot will be the same as the originals but will be expanded using cutscenes much like sor3. The cutscenes planned will be animated like scenes found in final fight cd.
If you follow this blog a lot, you will already have seen this hilarious intro. The delivery of the line at 1:02 is pure gold
New characters will be introduced as assist characters, enemy headswaps and new bosses. The game will introduce Murphy, the cop you call for back up, as a new character along with a prequel explaining his position on the squad and his previous fight with the syndicate. There will be plenty of new features including multiple paths, an arranged soundtrack, new weapons, stage interaction, in game dialogue and assist characters for 1-2 players much like the new bare knuckle mobile game. you will also have the option of up to 3 players as well new modes for multiplayer.
Dave: Do you feel that the homebrew scene is healthier than it ever has been thanks to tools like EvE, Source and Unity, alongside easier routes to market thanks to services like Steam, XNA and iTunes?
The homebrew scene has grown drastically over the years, within a few of those years I’ve seen things I wouldn’t have thought possible around that time. These tools certainly make a lot of projects easier for newbies like myself and I appreciate the ones behind it for giving us that opportunity.
Dave: Can you give me a general overview in your own words about how easy it is to use EvE? What sort of level of base knowledge is needed? Any tricky issues you had to wrestle with so far?
EvE is still in it’s early stages actually. I’ve had the privilege of being the first to test the very first alpha as well its later versions, It’s really shaping up to be a spectacular engine not only for beat ’em ups but possibly platformers as well. For what we have planned you’ll certainly need some scripting knowledge to create a full game but for the most part it’ll be one of the easiest tools for beginners to work with.
Dave: Why do you feel that Streets of Rage has stood the test of time and remained as popular as it is today?
I think Streets of Rage 2 is the biggest reason for it’s appeal to casuals as well as fans of the series. Very few fans will deny that SoR2 is what made the series, It’s fairly easy to play but it also challenges the player on higher difficulties, the gameplay is very smooth compared to its predecessor and even dare I say it, It’s sequel.
Best game soundtrack ever? It’s definitely a contender.
The music certainly does it for me I can clearly see why Yuzo considers it one of his favorite soundtracks. Overall the series has a good feeling to it when you play, rather it be the characters, the gameplay or just the awesome soundtrack, you’ll find yourself coming back to it often.
Dave: If Sega asked you to create Streets of Rage 4, what would the final product be like? Stages? Plot? Soundtrack? Controls?
This is actually a nerve racking question. The expectations of SoR4 are sky high when it comes down to the fans, much like the sonic series. If I were to create SoR4 there would be two ways I’d do it. One being a total arcade styled game, strictly 2d gameplay, straight forward 8 -10 stages possibly an arcade release or an open 3d styled game that plays pretty close to the Yakuza series, I think that series is a perfect example that beat ’em ups can be done in 3d. Either way the game would sport graphics as awesome as Virtua Fighter 5R if not better.
Yakuza on PS2 by SEGA. A hint of how a new Streets of Rage could play?
The stages would take place in a full 3d representation of wood oak city with the ability to revisit almost every stage from the sor series. The plot would revolve around 5 characters, 3 returning and 2 brand new each with their own point of view, unlockable characters is a must in my opinion, these would obviously include previous characters as well as new ones.
If it were possible there would be no way I’d miss the chance to have Yuzo Koshiro on the soundtrack if not being the only composer for it. The Controls would retain the simplicity of the previous games possibly adding 1 or 2 things that pertain to the new features, why complicate something already well done? I’d certainly put all my efforts into a sequel if I were asked to do one.
Dave: Why do you feel Sega are holding off from doing another Streets of Rage title?
Sega doesn’t seem to be in the best state of mind in my opinion. I feel it’s possible that they may respect the series enough to not use it as some sort of cash cow as they’ve done with other games i.e golden axe, altered beast and even NiGHTS.
Maybe it’s possible they want to find the right people to do it instead of outsourcing to the wrong company, this is just me being optimistic about the situation. On the other hand it’s also possible that Sega isn’t putting too much value on their beloved classics anymore, it seems like with any revival they’ve screwed up one way or another.
I say give it some time, to me Sonic Unleashed, the Yakuza Series, Virtua Fighter, Etc are examples that Sega can still do something of quality if they try. Eventually if they can look past just making money I’m sure they’ll revert back to the Sega we knew but it’s also up to the fans! If we keep turning our backs on them when they do make something of quality they’ll see no point in caring.
Dave: If they do go ahead and make SoR4, what is the biggest mistake Sega could make?
Outsourcing, If there’s anything that they should learn from it’s outsourcing to crappy companies like secret level. There’s also these stupid deadlines they do to make sales, sonic 06 is a perfect example here, It may have been hated for it’s story or just including another character but that would’ve been better than being hated because the glitches are just that horrendous.
Last but not least, changing the formula too much. I think the problem with a lot of titles now is that these companies change the formula too much.
Giving a series something new/refreshing/innovative shouldn’t require changing or removing the things that made the game great in the first place.