2019 saw many games, but one of the very best was River City Girls. Developed by Way Forward Games, River City Girls was an incredibly sharp, vibrant, and action-packed sidescroller that kept to its Kunio Kun roots, while also delivering a fantastic soundtrack and excellent gameplay. During the Limited Run Games E3 Showcase, Way Forward announced the girls are back in two separate installments: River City Zero and River City Girls 2.
The news was announced during the Limited Run Games Showcase for E3 2021, and comes with a press release from WayForward. Following the smashing success of River City Girls, the team at Wayforward are hitting the streets again, beginning with River City Girls 2. Following up from the original, Kyoko and Misako are back, along with Kunio, Riki, and other characters, for a new adventure on the streets of Tokyo. An old foe returns and new enemies appear, and the team brings together their old tricks and brings new moves to conquer the newest threat. River City Girls 2 promises to have the same over-the-stop anime-inspired action and entertaining story set by its predecessor. River City Girls 2 will have local and online co-op.
The second title announced during the presentation is River City Girls Zero, a prequel that puts players in the very beginnings of the River City Girls story. River City Girls Zero is based on the 1994 original release for the Super Famicom and will be presented in its 16-bit glory. River City Girls Zero will also feature a few additions, such as new manga cutscenes, an animated introduction, and River City Girls composer Meghan McDuffee will make a new song for the game. Players can play in solo or local co-op. Finally, the release of River City Girls Zero marks the first time the game has been localized in the West.
Arcade brawlers, such as Streets of Rage 4 and Scott Pilgrim versus The World: The Game seem to garner all the attention in regards to action and arcade brawlers, but I cannot stress enough how incredible River City Girls is and how strong it holds amongst the competition. River City Girls felt like a Studio Trigger anime as if it were a game sharing some DNA with Kill La Kill in its action set-pieces and unapologetic attitude. News of these new releases are absolutely exciting, and it is the hope that such releases not only bring many more players aboard River City Girls but perhaps similar releases in other franchises can be a real possibility.
River City Girls Zero launches for Nintendo Switch in 2021, with other platforms to follow in the future. River City Girls 2 is slated for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Nintendo Switch in 2022. Both games will get a physical release through Limited Run Games, along with a digital release on respective platforms.