The creators of PaRappa The Rapper and Gitaroo Man combine forces to mastermind an all-new, story-led, rhythm-action adventure.
PaRappa The Rapper is one of my favourite all time games, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve purchased it 🙂
I so hope this kickstarter gets off the ground, please support: project rap rabbit working title
& check this link for my philosophy on how to live life by PaRappa The Rapper 🙂
About this project
*UPDATE – ALL WHITE-LABEL EDITION (DIGITAL) TIERS AND HIGHER WILL NOW ALSO RECEIVE A DIGITAL COPY OF THE PROJECT RAP RABBIT SOUNDTRACK*
For the first time ever, two of the genre’s biggest icons collaborate on an innovative new musical adventure coming to PlayStation 4 and PC.
An explosive mix of Japanese folklore and traditional artwork, hip hop and humorous battle rap face-offs inspired by the Epic Rap Battles Of History YouTube series, Project Rap Rabbit (working title) is the next major game from the creators of PaRappa The Rapper, Vib-Ribbon, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Elite Beat Agents and Gitaroo Man.
Our grand hip hop saga takes place in an alternate history, circa 16th Century Japan. All is not well. The world is becoming a hostile place as people object to the growing diversification of their homelands. Citizens and neighbours are becoming increasingly suspicious of, and isolated from, one another.
A toxic atmosphere of protectionism is taking hold.
At the height of this culture of fear, an Earth-shattering calamity befalls the world. As the universe trembles from the aftershocks and the survivors try to rebuild what’s left of their lives, one rabbit embarks on a journey for truth, justice and liberty – and steps forward to do battle with the land’s most powerful overlords.
The hero in question is Toto-Maru, a simple farm boy who’s able to harness the special power of force through rap. (Wait, where have we heard this before…?) Only by embracing the strength of music and by using the magic of rhythm and rhyme to counter corruption and small-mindedness can our reluctant hero and his trusty sidekick, Otama-Maru, finally heal the destructive rifts, bring about global unification and restore peace!
With a combined 54 years of development shared between studios NanaOn-Sha and iNiS J, we’ve had plenty of time to master the art of rhythm-action. And it’s all been building to this: Project Rap Rabbit’s unique rapping gameplay represents the culmination of our experience across the genre’s biggest and best hits, and a true evolution of rhythm-action mechanics.
The key to battle rap is the ability to defeat your opponent with lyrical jabs and rhyming uppercuts, which is why Project Rap Rabbit ensures YOU are in control of the raps. Songs aren’t just a series of linear lines to tap through, but full dialogue trees of variable verses filled with creative put-downs, bragging and clever rhymes.
Here at both NanaOn-Sha and iNiS J, we have a long-held belief that rhythm-action should be about so much more than simply attaining perfection and mastering button presses to reach an S Rank climax. We want to encourage experimentation, not punish deviations from a critical path. To that end, we have designed a flexible and dynamic bonus system to reward self-expression.
Rap battles pit Toto-Maru up against leaders of rival factions. Both Toto-Maru and his opponent possess Swag Gauges, and the victor of a rap battle is determined by these bars.
How does a rhythm-action game featuring branching songs work exactly? Well, each song in Project Rap Rabbit is made up of multiple Call and Response gameplay segments, which can all be broken down into three simple steps.
When your opponent is attacking you, you shouldn’t just stand there and take it! Important phrases in your foe’s lyrics will be highlighted in the Word Pick Up phase: Now’s your chance to pick out certain keywords you want to try and focus on when it’s time to strike back.
How do you want to respond to your opponent’s insults? It’s up to you! Project Rap Rabbit features an emotion wheel inspired by the likes of Mass Effect and Fallout 4. Do you want to hit back with a boast, with a joke, by dismissing the attack or by coercing your opponent?
Select the emotion you wish to unleash to preview the upcoming rhythm and your foe’s reaction: There’s no wrong choice, but different emotions will inflict different levels of damage to your adversary’s Swag Gauge.
Now it’s time to unleash those lines! Depending on your chosen emotion you’ll spit different lyrics and unique rhythms. Press the specified face buttons at the correct time to enunciate every word perfectly, boosting your own Swag Gauge in the process.
If your Swag Gauge hits zero it’s the end of the battle and your failure will go down in legend. Keeping your bar topped up is the key to successfully besting each level, while depleting your foe’s meter will increase your overall level score.
Running low on Swag?
Don’t panic! The status of your opponent, determined by the level of his or her Swag Gauge, can help you out. Every foe reacts to each emotion differently, and while it’s possible to beat each song using every single permutation of lyrics, picking the more powerful emotional response to any given state will result in better boosts to your own Swag Gauge during the Rap section.
Beyond the music itself, rhythm-action games are also about happiness, experience and love. These are the foundations on which we built our earliest titles. We want to bring strong narratives and a tangible sense of adventure back to rhythm-action gaming, and to deliver a title with unrivaled feeling and soul.
However, we also know that many fast-fingered gamers love to be challenged, which is why we’ve designed gameplay systems far deeper than those of any other rhythm-action title in our history.
Though the basic objective of every stage is to emerge from the rap battle victorious, competitive leaderboards challenge you to discover the most creative paths through each branching song and deliver the best rap you possibly can. Perfect beat-matching will net you good scores, of course, but that’s just the start if you want to mount a serious assault on your friends’ performances…
Simple bonuses involve zeroing in on the most powerful keywords during the Listen phase and successfully hitting those syllables (denoted with special symbols on the lyrics bar, as shown above for ‘To Rhyme’) with full force during the Rap segments. But bonuses come in all shapes, sizes and complexities.
Some involve rapid selections during the Respond phase to get a jump-start on your lines, while others demand high-level players successfully and seamlessly knit together lyrics from different responses by tweaking the emotion during the Rap phase itself – an expert feat that isn’t for the faint-hearted!
Mirroring his opponent’s behaviour, Toto-Maru’s own status is dictated by his Swag Gauge. When the Swag Gauge drops below 50% health Toto-Maru falls into the Back Against The Wall state, during which certain lyrics will deal even more damage to his opponent’s Swag.
With large damage multipliers at their fingertips, along with some additional Back Against The Wall bonuses up for grabs depending on the length of time spent in that state, truly brave rappers will be able to carefully shape their responses to spend entire battles on the cusp of failure in order to deal huge levels of damage and gain the most points.
For Project Rap Rabbit, we wanted to draw on the culture and traditional artwork of Japan while infusing it with some of the biggest influences which have touched our lives. The result? A mesmerizing collision of Japanese history, rap and hip hop culture.
These two things couldn’t be geographically further apart in origin, but together they demonstrate that bringing together diverse cultures from two different times can not only work, but create something remarkable. The result is a truly memorable and singularly stylish experience that everyone can enjoy.
The famous 16th century Japanese picture scroll ‘Scrolls of Frolicking Animals‘, Uesugi Bon’s Rakuchu Rakugai Zu, the works of Akira Yamaguchi and Ikeda Manabu, and films such as Spirited Away, Tekkonkinkreet and Kung Fu Panda were all major influences in our early concepts.
20 years after masterminding the music behind PlayStation classic PaRappa The Rapper, Masaya Matsuura will also be serving as the music director for Project Rap Rabbit in addition to creative lead duties. As one of the core composers for the rap battles, Matsuura-san is looking to create a synthesis of Japanese and Western styles that’s elevated above and beyond anything you’ve heard before.
While some of our past titles have focused on rap and hip hop, we haven’t yet tackled the back-and-forth dueling of rap battles. One of our major drawing points in our early days of development has been Epic Rap Battles Of History – the blend of beat, crazy encounters and comedy put-downs is a great example of the different musical encounters you’ll be playing in Project Rap Rabbit.
How did two of the biggest names in the business come to form the ultimate rhythm-action dream team? Masaya Matsuura and Keiichi Yano have known each other for almost 20 years, and formed a friendship based around their shared love of story-based music and rhythm game creation – an area many game developers have never experienced.
At various game events over the years, Matsuura-san and Yano-san have come together to discuss what shape the next generation of music games would form. More recently, they began exploring the concept of a ‘rhythm-action 2.0‘ project, capable of pushing the genre into areas never before conceived. Rather than revisiting an existing series and either re-appropriating known and loved game systems or breaking them to retrofit more progressive gameplay ideas, a new IP felt like the natural opportunity to explore innovative input mechanics while simultaneously celebrating and paying homage to the past.
Deeper into the campaign we’ll be asking our community to tell us what Stretch Goals are most important to them. All future Stretch Goals will be ordered according to community surveys.
Until then, be sure to comment or reach out to us via the social media links below to tell us what you want to see next from Project Rap Rabbit, whether it’s an Xbox One version, more levels, multiplayer modes or extra difficulty settings.