Co-Optimus: Double Dragon Gaiden features four playable characters to start with (and 9 unlockable characters). Can you tell us about the four main characters?
One of [our] goals was to ensure that no two characters would play the same. This means that not only do they have different stats, they also have drastically different moves that allow you to handle different situations where each character would be better or worse at different things.
Even Billy and Jimmy play differently, with Billy being the well-rounded but fast character, with moves that are swift and flexible but deal less damage. On the other hand, Jimmy is a well-rounded, strong character, so his moves might start a little slower but hit heavier.
Marian is the long-range, glass cannon character that does a lot of damage from afar but doesn’t deal well [with] close combat. And finally, Uncle Matin, the grappler with a shield, is slower but can deal big damage and has good AOE.
Co-Optimus: Marian is interesting in that she started as a damsel in distress and has only been a playable character in a few games, the most recent of which was River City Girls 2. Which version of Marian most informed the character in Gaiden?
One interesting bit was that we actually never knew that Marian was going to be playable in River City Girls 2! We found out like everyone else, when the game was first announced by the amazing WayForward team, and by that time, our Marian’s character [design] was already done.
As to which Marian most informed the character in Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons, there actually isn’t one particular version, but [we looked at] the various backstories across the different mediums. What I learned was that apart from her identity as a damsel in distress, she’s actually mentioned as a police officer, and if I remember correctly, even trained with Billy and Jimmy growing up, so we took that and built upon it.
Co-Optimus: Uncle Matin is a unique character that has never appeared in a Double Dragon game before, though a sign saying “Matin” appeared in the first mission of the original game. In working with Arc System Works, did you receive any input about what Technos originally intended that sign to mean?
Actually, we didn’t discuss a lot about that. But I can say that Matin is a bit like a fatherly figure to the Lee Brothers, so he’s also much older. As for why he has never appeared down the timeline, I would say that this is sort of an alternate timeline, which is fun because it allows us to progress the story to maybe fill that gap or allow him [to reappear in the series] in the future.
Co-Optimus: Let’s focus on gameplay for a bit. Double Dragon Gaiden features a new tag-team system and some new types of moves that players are rewarded for using during missions. Can you tell us about these mechanics and moves?
The Tag System is pretty robust. It works like most other tag team fighters - except we’re bringing it into a beat ’em up, and we try to use that in interesting ways. For example, when you get hit by one enemy, the others might take the opportunity to gang up on you, and you might want to switch out your character to knock out the crowd. And when a character is tagged out and resting, they can recover some of their lost health, so you want to manage when you would tag them in again.
On top of that, each character can perform up to three special moves. If you defeat an enemy with a special move, they will drop cash, which you can use to purchase revives or upgrades.
Both the special move and the tagging mechanic share the same meter as well, so players must learn to balance and manage their resources and not spam special moves, leaving yourself vulnerable without a partner to tag when you need it.
Co-Optimus: How many different weapons does Gaiden have for players to wield, and do they wear out after use?
I can’t remember the exact numbers, but I think there’s more than 10 different types. You can swing or throw, and Billy and Jimmy use them differently as well. Some of them [will] break, but there’s always some lying around, so grab them before someone else does!