Just over 20 years ago, Masaya Matsuura and NanaOn-Sha released rhythm-action classic PaRappa The Rapper on PlayStation. Like many gamers, I was enthralled by this pioneering narrative music game; it inspired me to pursue a career as a rhythm-action game developer and, ultimately, to co-found iNiS and create Gitaroo Man on PlayStation 2.
Over the years, Matsuura-san and I have had many requests to bring back PaRappa The Rapper and Gitaroo Man respectively. We are both so grateful for the outpouring of love from the fans of these titles. At the same time, we’ve long-discussed a concept we’ve been referring to as ‘rhythm-action 2.0’: an evolution of music gaming that will pave the way for the future of the genre.
Now, we’re ready to share that vision with you.
It gives me great pleasure to unveil the Kickstarter campaign for Project Rap Rabbit. The first-ever collaboration between NanaOn-Sha and iNiS J, Project Rap Rabbit is a brand-new type of rhythm-action game that fuses elements from our past titles with mechanics fresh to music gaming. Our adventure is the story of rapping rabbit Toto-Maru and his sidekick Otama-Maru as they travel through a world recovering from a great catastrophe. By fighting the leaders of neighbouring factions via the medium of rap battles, our heroes can bring about peace to their troubled lands.
To truly convey the dynamic nature of rap battles, we realised we could no longer be constrained to the established linear song templates of older titles. Instead, we had to invent a system that enables players to pick and choose how their raps unfold: a spider web of lyrics, rhythms and emotions that players can steer through depending on their wishes and the opponent’s moves.
There are no wrong routes through our songs – the heart of Project Rap Rabbit’s gameplay mechanics still involves rhythmic beat-matching – but different paths through each battle will unlock bespoke bonuses and outcomes. It’s a system that draws inspiration from the dialogue wheels of Mass Effect and Fallout 4, as well as the classic call-and-response gameplay established two decades ago in PaRappa The Rapper.
We believe that Project Rap Rabbit represents the future of rhythm-action gaming, and we hope to make it the first instalment of our return to story-driven music adventures. With your assistance, we cannot wait to bring our mash-up of musical styles, cultures and gameplay systems to life. Our intent is to establish a new benchmark for the genre, and a music game without equal.
Thank you for your continued support of our titles, and with your help we can make rhythm-action great again.
Early concept art for Project Rap Rabbit