Arc System Works Celebrates “River City Ransom’s” 35th Anniversary With the Start of a New “Kunio-Kun” Game Project
The anniversary of the original “River City Ransom” released the first time flashes through my mind when I think of the company Arc System Works. That game was released on July 25, 1986 in Japan. That was over 30 years ago. This year, however, Arc System Works launched a new project. The title is “Kunio-Kun”. This game is the first new one in the series in over 30 years. When I think of the “Kunio-Kun” series, I think of a game that brings back the nostalgic feeling from playing the original with the same basic game system.
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the game, Arc System Works announced a new game project in January, 2015. This new title will be a brand new “Kunio-kun” game. The game, titled “Kunio-kun Mini: Palazzo”, will be released simultaneously on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 3. The title will be developed by Arc System Works, with the same developer behind “River City Ransom” and “Gang-Hen”. The game aims to be a “Kunio-kun” title that will focus on the game’s protagonist.
It’s been 35 years since “Kunio-Kun” first hit Japanese arcades, and the game is still going strong. The newest version of the game is scheduled for release on July 18th, and to celebrate the occasion, Arc System Works recently held a “Kunio-Kun” game tournament at the company’s headquarters.
Fighting game god Arc System Works has confirmed that it is currently working on a new game in the Kunio-kun series. It is part of a larger project celebrating the 35th anniversary of the game series of the same name this year.
Accelerating an already turbulent celebration
Yes, before you ask, Arc System Works is now the official owner of the Kunio-kun franchise. For the 35th anniversary, a project was immediately announced that will hopefully continue the franchise with modern games and action. This, of course, also applies to the latest Kunio-kun games developed by third-party developers and published by Arc System Works in recent years.
1. Kunio-kun Symphony Series On Sale!
Technically, the first part of the promotion (the part that players can use immediately) is a super sale of the entire collection of classic Kunio-kun games. For just a hundred yen ($1 USD) each, you can download all the games on PS4 (PS5) or Nintendo Switch. The total discount of the sale is about 80%. The event itself is still being worked on (along with other Arc System Works promotions), but it should take place next week on the 2nd. June 2021.
2. to Smart Pass Premium Accessibility!
Those who currently subscribe to the Au Smart Pass Premium Classic Games service will also find a large number of Kunio-kun games available for free access in the near future. Not all titles will be included at the beginning of the promotion, but new titles will be added as the promotion progresses. Oh, and no microtransactions! (duh)
3. The modern Kunio-kun franchise continues to flame!
On the occasion of the 35th. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this timeless fighting game classic, Arc System Works, in collaboration with its development partners, plans to release a series of new games that will continue the legacy of the other Kunio-kun games of recent years. However, details are scarce at this time. Since the official start of production isn’t until May of this year, it will also be some time before we get any concrete information about the new games that are in production. Stay informed!
River City Redemption… What?
For the uninitiated: Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun, localized in the west as River City Ransom, is a fighting game originally developed and published by Technos Japan for arcade machines (1986), but eventually ported to the NES/Famicom (1987). If you’re familiar with classic brawler games like Double Dragon, the gameplay of the original Kunio-kun should look very familiar to you. Since then, the series has released new games every few months or years, often spicing up the standard platform genre with other types of games that still feature the eponymous protagonist and his enemies. Nekketsu Koukou Dodgeball-bu (Gameboy, PC Engine, 1991) for example, another popular game in the franchise, features an alternative dodgeball game, as the name suggests. Instead of just throwing balls and dodging until the last person is eliminated, players can punch and kick their opponents or disrupt their strategies in physically violent ways. After Technos Japan went bankrupt in 1996, no new Kunio-kun games were released until Million took over in the early 2000s. Before the end of the first decade, however, Arc System Works took over and continued the Kunio-kun game series revived by Million. One of the latest notable Kunio-kun spin-offs is River City Girls, due out in September 2019. This is an alternate history that revolves around the main characters’ friends, Kyoko and Misako, who must save the day after dubious authorities capture their friends. Unlike most Kunio-kun games, which somehow retain the original 8/16-bit graphics (or graphical look) of the series, River City Girls uses a completely new, more modern graphical style, while maintaining the classic 2D brawler look.
Is it too much to ask to have an unrealistic Kunio-kun?
Arc System Works has shown its use of the Unreal Engine in recent years. Guilty Gear Xrd, Guilty Gear Strive, Dragon Ball Fighterz and Granblue Fantasy Versus are among the most visually stunning fighting games to date. It’s brilliant use of a very high quality cel-shaded look that maintains the quality of the graphics of the images, but makes their movements convincingly fluid for a true fighting game. So we ask, is it too much to ask for this Kunio-kun franchise project to develop a game based on the Unreal Engine? Well, maybe I am. But at least it’s good wishful thinking. Sources:
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