River City Ransom announced

[Update 4/28/2013] We are delighted to see the positive response to the big news! We wanted to clarify, as there had been some interpretation in the media, that we are making an official follow-up to River City Ransom, but it will not be called “River City Ransom 2″. In addition, while we will work closely with Million Co. to ensure our game is in the spirit of the original, we are a licensee, not a partner, of Million Co. Stay tuned for more updates and art!

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I was eleven years old when River City Ransom was released in North America on NES. At the time, my brother and I didn’t own a console, but my uncle did, and when he brought the game home with him one fateful afternoon, what ensued were long grinding sessions collecting coins for Dragon Feet, and the “occasional” argument over the fallout from the game’s famously permanent friendly-fire mode. What endured, however, was a serious love of the game, its quirky art style and pop music, and our childlike imagination and desire to see a follow-up. River City Ransom is still considered by many to be one of the most charming and innovative games of its age, or any other.

Perhaps as interesting as the game itself is the legacy of its lack of a true follow-up in North America. While we did see other ports from the kunio-kun franchise, like Crash N’ The Boys and Super Dodgeball, we did not get to enjoy the brilliant tournament fighter NKD.

In 2002, a hardcore fan noticed that Technōs had let the trademark for the game’s title slip into abandonment, and attempted to revitalize the series with a fan-made sequel. The timing wasn’t great, as River City Ransom EX was developed by Million, a company founded by Technōs’ former president, and published in 2004, which gave fans a hi-res remake of the game along with new additions like boss recruitment and the introduction of other-worldly forces.

In March 2011, Miracle Kidz, a game development studio in Japan created by the original kunio-kun developers, announced Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 (ダウンタウン熱血物語2) for WiiWare. Finally, the series would see an official sequel! The fate of that release has yet to be determined, with MiracleKidz giving notice on their blog in October 2012, that they had suspended the project indefinitely.

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The legacy of waiting to revisit one of my all-time favorite games is finally coming to an end! I am beyond excited to reveal today that we have started development on an official, worldwide follow-up to River City Ransom. With strong followings in North America and Japan, we will work closely with Million to ensure it is the best game it can be for fans on both continents. We are certainly not the only ones with an abiding love for River City Ransom, and we’ve assembled an amazing team of some of the most ardent fans of the game, each bringing their unique talents and imagination to what we hope will be the follow-up game you’ve always wanted to play.

We are currently focused on an August 2014 release date for Windows, with additional platforms under consideration. Stay tuned for more details, artwork, team info, and the official website, all leading up to our crowd-funding launch this summer, where you’ll be able to join us as a backer to claim some truly unique rewards, and to help us bring you the next chapter that River City Ransom deserves!

Conatus Creative Inc. is an independent game developer located in Ottawa, Canada. We specialize in 2D casual gaming on desktop and mobile. For media inquiries, please email us at rcr@conatuscreative.com or call 1-800-606-1932 ext. 5.

Images © Million Co. Ltd and used under license.

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