Original director Yoshihisa Kishimoto reminisces on its development
For the younger gamers among you, Double Dragon II: The Revenge is an action game that was released by Technos Japan in 1989. In order to avenge your girlfriend Marian, Billy and Jimmy use their signature move So-Setsu-Ken to challenge mysterious armed forces. In the game, players can use even more skills than the previous entry in the franchise which leads to more intense battles.
The Arcade Archives series faithfully reproduces classic arcade games on PS4, while taking advantage of the additional features PS4 offers. Players can share screenshots and video with the Share feature, and can also compete with other players online to improve their standing on the leaderboards.
To celebrate the launch of Arcade Archives Double Dragon II: The Revenge, we spoke with the game’s original Director, Yoshihisa Kishimoto. Enjoy!
27 years have passed since Double Dragon II’s first release but now fans all over the world can play it on PS4. How do you feel about that?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: I appreciate all the Double Dragon fans around the world! We completed the game because the staff worked tirelessly, so thank you to the staff as well.
Did you face any hardships while developing Double Dragon II?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: Originally we had made plans to change the ROM using the arcade board of the original Double Dragon. So it’s more like “Part 1.5” rather than “Part 2.” Because it was produced in such a short time with so few people (about three developers for three months), we could not change the basic structure and didn’t have time to do all that we wanted. Even still, we made big efforts and added new characters in that limited time.
You’re the forefather of many masterpieces in gaming, including the Renegade series. Amongst all your work, do you have strong feelings towards Double Dragon?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: Double Dragon is my masterpiece and a precious work that helped spread fighting games and brawlers across the world. If you can be successful in the United States, you can be successful anywhere. Just like the world of film, it’s the same in video games. My first aim was to make a hit in the United States — so this was a dream come true.
Then, Double Dragon was filmed in Hollywood several years later. So my second aim, to turn my game into a film, was also accomplished.
Just as Bruce Lee — whom I respect — spread fighting to the world in Enter the Dragon, I think Double Dragon achieved something similar in the game industry. So I thank President Taki of Technos Japan Corporation and all the original staff.
How did you come up with the unique idea for Double Dragon?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: I originally had the idea of using items while I was developing Nekketsu Koha Kunio-Kun [the original Japanese version of Renegade]. When you defeat an enemy in Renegade’s first stage, he drops a stick. So I thought I could make a new fighting system by allowing players to pick this stick up. That’s how I came up with the idea to adapt this item system into a side-scrolling brawler.
Renegade was set in Japan, but that changed for Double Dragon. What inspired this shift?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: Things like Fist of the North Star, and also Bruce Lee and Mad Max — so I had great variety of influences. I appreciated their sense of violence and action, so I also made a car action game called Road Blaster when I was at Data East.
From the success of Double Dragon, a new genre emerged in gaming — the side-scrolling brawler. Not only did you make a hit game, but you made a new genre!
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: Double Dragon did help create a genre, and I was confident it would be a big hit. I thought I could lead the world for years while producing that game.
I suspect that the work out of Technos Japan at that time spawned many new ideas. Do you agree?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: I was in charge of planning, and I always settled on themes of something new, novel and stimulating. I aimed to be the first in the world. One of a kind. So that was our theme; we strove to make the world’s first game systems, settings, and so on.
Technos Japan Corporation had already produced many world firsts when I entered the company. The world’s first wrestling game The Big Pro Wrestling. The world’s first competitive fighter, Karate Champ. The world’s first dodgeball and volleyball game.
In-game purchases are popular nowadays, but Double Dragon III was the world’s first game to use that system — 25 years ago. Our company had a strong, challenging spirit.
What was the Double Dragon II development team like back then? What kind of people were they?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: The members of the staff were new, but they were all cool so I felt good about our work. They were all otaku. The person who wrote the animation we used was a top-ranking animation director at his animation company. He also designed the enemy character Brunoff.
Double Dragon has been a huge hit all over the world. Did you expect that degree of success?
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: I was confident we would make a big hit while I was drafting the business proposal. I have been working in games for more than 30 years. I’ve directed more than 50 titles, and produced more than 300. But Renegade and Double Dragon are the only two games I felt would be hits during their development. The 10 years I spent at Technos Japan Corporation are the most precious years of my life.
Finally, please leave us with a message to all the Double Dragon fans of the world.
Yoshihisa Kishimoto: We are planning to develop new Double Dragon games, so please look forward to them!
This article has been edited for clarity.
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