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3D Streets of Rage
3D Streets of Rage: Converting Faux 3D To Real 3D
. December 21, 2013 . 5:30pm 3D Streets of Rage marks the end of first series in Sega’s 3D Remaster Project. Find out how Sega brought the game over to Nintendo 3DS.
|Originally posted August 7th, 2013 on Impress Watch. Siliconera is coordinating with SEGA to share these in-depth interviews about classic games like Streets of Rage and the Sega MegaDrive. Translated by SEGA. Edited by Siliconera.
Pictured: Yousuke Okunari, Producer, SEGA CS3 (left), Naoki Horii, President, M2 (right)Streets of Rage PrimerOriginally released in Japan on August 2, 1991 with an overseas release shortly after, Streets of Rage is a side-scrolling beat’em up game where you choose from one of three ex-police force characters: Axel, Blaze, or Adam, and fight through eight stages against armies of syndicate thugs, using your bare fists or weapons you pick up along the way. Streets of Rage is known as Bare Knuckle in Japan.
The game quickly earned popularity for its co-op play, where players can perform team attacks, as well as instant special moves that call in the firepower of your former police comrades.
After being ported to the Game Gear, Streets of Rage was featured in the Mega-CD SEGA CLASSIC ARCADE COLLECTION, which also included the international version. It was subsequently ported to Wii Virtual Console, and most recently, to the Xbox 360 as part of SEGA Vintage Collection 3’s Streets of Rage Collection, which included all three titles from the series.
Streets of Rage was followed by two sequels, Streets of Rage 2 and 3, which benefited from a larger ROM size, bigger characters, and more animations.
Left: Choose from characters Adam, Axel, and Blaze. From II on, Adam is either kidnapped or otherwise occupied, and thus not available as a playable character. Right: The game supports 2P Co-op play. Other “rival” titles at the time were unable to do this, so it was a point of pride for MegaDrive fans.
“Then, as he was explaining that they still hadn’t tested everything out yet, I cut through the hemming and hawing, and green-lit the project.”
Hi guys. Can we hear a little bit about what led you to select Streets of Rage to follow 3D Shinobi III in the line-up? Why not release Streets of Rage 2 and 3, for instance?
Naoki Horii (below, NH): Because we’re going to release 2 next! (everyone laughs) That is, if Okunari-san here will let us…
Genre-wise though, this is the first remake of a beat’em up on the Gigadrive.
Yousuke Okunari (Below, YO): When we were selecting titles for the GigaDrive, all four titles prior to Shinobi III were what you could call “2D side scrolling platformers”, but of course there were other genres out there that we wanted to do. When I sat down with the development schedule though, I was pretty sure that any genres outside of platforming would take too long.
So I knew there would be risk associated with including anything other than a side scrolling action game in the 3D Remaster Series, but I really wanted to do a beat’em up. SEGA has a history of making beat’em ups with games like Golden Axe and Streets of Rage, and I really wanted to bring that heritage into 3D. We just had to somehow do that within the confines of the schedule… More important than that though, M2 actually told me at the beginning that “an action side-scroller won’t work in 3D!”
NH: There are a lot of strange perspectives baked into the backgrounds in those games. Take the diagonal scrolling parts for instance.
YO: If we tried to use the GigaDrive techniques we’d developed with earlier games, like those from 3D Sonic, all the characters would wind up floating on top of the backgrounds. While side-scrolling action games look like they have depth, the actual gameplay is completely 2D, and everything else is just a matter of placing graphics with a faux 3D perspective. That’s what you have to bring into stereoscopic 3D, and it wasn’t possible within the existing GigaDrive concept. So this wasn’t just going to be a matter of displaying existing MegaDrive backgrounds in 3D, like we’d done with other games. We came to the conclusion that our existing approach wasn’t going to work for a side-scroller.
That said, I still wanted to remake the Golden Axe or Streets of Rage series in 3D. I saw this as essentially intertwined with the future of the 3D Remaster Project, so I kept coming back to M2 with the idea. I’d say: “Hey, we can at least do one beat ‘em up, right?” and he’d tell me: “Side-scrolling beat’em ups have graphics with weird faux perspectives that you can’t just carry over into 3D. The normal approach doesn’t work.” After a bit, he came back and said, “Now the first Streets of Rage doesn’t have any paths that go up or down the screen, there’s just one path forward. We could probably make that one work.” That’s how I persuaded him to work on it… Then, as he was explaining that they still hadn’t tested everything out yet, I cut through the hemming and hawing and green-lit the project. (laughs)
Seems like there’s always some kind of reckless story around these ports, but this one sounds like you’ve stepped it up a level. (laughs)
NH: Yes indeed.
YO: M2 had already turned the project down once, so….
NH: Well, we were still testing out code at the point when we had to decide on the lineup titles… so it’s partly our fault for being slow.
You’re right though. The very first Streets of Rage was basically a single-route game. Most people don’t realize that unlike previous 2D side-scrollers, this game had a perspective that ostensibly looked down on your character and the floor, while letting you move in all directions. Objects and enemies were drawn in the same way… Those objects and enemies don’t have 3D handling; they’re just pretending to be 3D. Given how characters are standing on the floor, if the angle changes, all of that magic will disappear. That must be the hardest part of porting a beat’em up like this.
NH: That’s right, that’s right. If we were just talking about a 2D side-scroller, that’s fine, but when the game scrolls diagonally, that’s a new set of problems.
With so many visual tricks used to create the illusion of depth in the original, I guess the challenge becomes how to bring them into 3D. Off the top of your head, you might think you could just give the backgrounds depth, push them back into screen and problem solved, right? That’s just what I imagine, I don’t really know how you’d deal with it.
NH: The developers at the time had to take what were ostensibly 3D scenes and flatten them into 2D, and use perspective to somehow keep them visually believable.
Whereas you guys have to convert a faux 3D image into a real 3D image… I can see how that wouldn’t really work.
YO: I actually have an early test version of the game right here on hand, so you can what we’re talking about. (brings out a 3DS) Check out the 3D.
Oooh, OK. So this is what the default 3D approach looks like.
YO: At first, you’re like “Seems legit! This is pretty cool!” But as you keep playing, you’ll come across places in the game which were drawn at the time with a specific background perspective, and didn’t take into account vanishing points etc. That’s why M2 felt that remaking the game in 3D would be impossible.
Last edited by zenith16; 12-22-2013 at 08:58 AM.