Streets of Rage 4 is shaping up nicely for its Spring 2020 console and PC release. In fact, just last month, developer Lizardcube released a new trailer announcing two-player online co-op, four-player local co-op, and Floyd Iraia, the fifth playable character.
I find all this massively exciting, of course.The beautiful and action-packed Streets of Rage 4 looks to be everything I could possibly want. Well…everything except in arcades.
I’ll gladly admit that this qualm may initially sound strange, given that only the second Streets of Rage received an arcade release back in the day—on the Sega Mega Play, no less. But if you’ll give me just a few minutes of your time, I promise I’ll explain.
I personally believe that beat-em-ups are a genre more or less made for arcades, as most of the classics, barring a few exceptions, have roots in coin-op. While Streets of Rage isn’t one of those classics, it would still play beautifully in such an environment.
Luckily for Lizardcube, licensor Sega has strong ties to the arcade industry through subsidiary Sega Amusements. Sure, it still would take work to bring Streets of Rage 4 to arcades—but that key detail makes it much more attainable.
What makes this potential opportunity even greater is that, were Sega to bring Streets of Rages 4 to the coin-op market, they would finally have something to position against Raw Thrills’ 2018 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat-em-up.
As much as I absolutely adore TMNT, it’s almost criminal that its success has yet bring forth any competitors when many of us are rooting for the mass return of proper, joystick-based arcade games. Streets of Rage 4 is as fitting a contender as any to eat up some market share.
So, if Streets of Rage 4 is as perfect for arcades as I suggest, the question remains: Why are there no plans for an arcade release?
First and foremost, I understand that coin-op development is extremely expensive and that it may not make a ton of sense on Lizardcube’s end. But as far as Sega is concerned, my best guess is that it’s just not at the top of their priorities.
Even so, I can’t help but dream. Could you imagine Streets of Rage 4 in its very own arcade cabinet? Or, if not, how about an Exa-Arcadia cartridge?
In my eyes, a release on Exa-Arcadia—the modern-day, NEO-GEO-style hardware system released in late 2019—would be a`near-perfect compromise. We’d still get the game in arcades, but neither Sega nor Lizardcube would need to invest in the development of a dedicated cabinet.
This is something I want very badly—and, if the interest I saw on Twitter is any indication, other people want it, too. Now, the ball is in the Sega Amusements’ court. Will they take a “risk” on a joystick-based arcade game in today’s day and age?
Since they’ve yet to respond to the fan letter I sent in November (heh-heh), I guess we’ll just have to cross our fingers and wait. In the meantime, I’m pumped to play Streets of Rage 4 on Switch when it drops later this year.