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No Straight Roads Director Talks About Hi-Fi Rush

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and is a pretty common trend in video games. The recently-released Hi-Fi Rush from Tango Gameworks is a really fun action game that is similar in mechanics to a 2020 indie video game made in Malaysia: No Straight Roads.

One might even say that the game’s executive producer Shinji Mikami and his team might be heavily inspired by the action-slash-rhythm-game hybrid where fighting to the beat of the song is a matter of life and death. Ditto the parrying and reflecting mechanics too!

So it is inevitable for a successful product to be compared with those which came before it. Enter the unavoidable comparisons between both games. Metronomik co-founder Wan Hazmer, who created No Straight Roads with his team, has his say on Tango Gameworks’ latest. He made his views known on Twitter.

“Hi-fi Rush is what No Straight Roads should’ve been.” So many people are saying this. Yes it may be true but it doesn’t hurt any less to see this. I love Hi-fi Rush though. Congrats to Tango Gameworks for a magnificient game.

The truth is, it’s not just about feelings but business too. If we were to make NSR2, we have to pitch & convince a publisher to churn out dev funds, and some will compare them at face value disregarding context. It’ll be tough, for sure.

Context = budget differences, etc. especially now that AAA companies are delving into more experimental titles. It’s these factors that make an indie company / chance for a sequel thrive, or have its fate sealed.

Thrilling though! And I’m still proud of what we did with NSR!”

Our Thoughts

We have to give credit to Wan Hazmer for being diplomatic and also explaining things further in regard to game development and the process. And yes, he and his team should be proud for not just making the fun and charming No Straight Roads, but also for being the very first developer to think up and execute the action/rhythm game hybrid. In other words, a pioneer title in the field like how Herzog Zwei was the first RTS before Westwood’s Dune 2 and Blizzard’s Warcraft came in.

While Hi-Fi Rush is a lot more polished mechanics and controls-wise, you have to remember that the developers and team behind the game are under the guidance, mentorship, and tutelage of a 33-year veteran game developer, director, and producer who has been around the block from Capcom to PlatinumGames. Metrononik was founded in 2017, and is co-led by a 13-year game director. As such, you already expect Hi-Fi Rush to come out with a high level of polish.

Personally, I love both games in their own ways. While I adore Hi-Fi Rush’s gameplay and combat more, I do enjoy No Straight Roads’ music, aesthetics, and narrative. Yes, there is always bias from Malaysian gamers and content creators to favour No Straight Roads (#malaysiaboleh regardless of quality and output), but the game does stand on its own for being something fresh in 2020 to tackle. Also, having Hi-Fi Rush out there means I can recommend people to check out No Straight Roads as being the progenitor of the action-music-rhythm hybrid type game, and that equals more exposure for it.

In other words, this quote from No Straight Roads’ VO Su Ling Chan sums up my thoughts to a tee. Basically, don’t be a dick and put down one over the other; enjoy both titles for what they are.

“NSR is NSR and Hi-Fi Rush is Hi-Fi Rush and both can exist without belittling the other at the same time.”

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