The classic game Parappa the Rapper hasn’t been heard of in ages, but series creator has said it’s always on his mind, and could come back if the business is right.
“Kick! Punch! It’s all in the mind.” Chop Chop Master Onion sure had some sage advice for us back in ’97, with his opening to one of the most classic rhythm games of all time. If you’ve missed the rhyming puppy and his cartoon stylings, you might be in luck, since series creator Masaya Matsuura sees the release of Vita as a possible opportunity to revive the game with a sequel. It’s not a promise he will, but it sounds tantalizing.
In a recent meeting just before TGS, Matsuura told how their always thinking about rebuilding the game or making a sequel, and handhelds are preferable for the gameplay, since touchscreen displays reduce lag between controls and display. That, in combination with a digital distribution model that would keep the retail costs low, make Vita a great place to try revisiting the series.
Dewi Tanner, NanaOn-Sha director of development, went on to explain the business issues for the game:
It’s not just content issues — there’s also business issues. How people pay for games has changed compared to 15 years ago. We’re not sure that people would be willing to pay $50 for something with 5, 6 stages. You have to build everything up for these character-based music games. Music, animations, settings, script, and so on.
This factor alone makes it impossible to compete with established music games that use licensed music within the same retail model, but selling a new Parappa the Rapper as a $15 game over the PS Store is much more viable. The studio is currently considering different models, which would keep them from having to artificially extend the game into an overly long experience, or into ridiculous development times. Tanner noted:
I’m not sure a 20-hour Parappa experience would be that fun. It would take us like 30 years to make. We feel now that there’s so many different ways of purchasing games and evaluating games that maybe there’ll be one that matches Parappa well.
Matsuura also mentioned how this isn’t the first time Parappa has faced problems, but that they were overcome, and it can be done again:
They [Sony] sold Parappa as not a game, just an interactive something. Their conservative knowledge about games was Mario, Sega something, Street Fighter — they couldn’t accept Parappa as a game. Finally, the audience and market decided Parappa was a game, not Sony.
I, for one, felt a nostalgic twitch upon hearing about this, and would love to see them make it work – and hopefully not just for Vita, but PSN in general. Either way, at this point it appears they’re merely speculating on possibilities, and this isn’t a confirmation that any Parappa game is in the works. However, should it actually happen, would you be interested in busting some rhymes again with Parappa and friends?