Project Rap Rabbit’s Keiichi Yano on Developer Friendships, Parappa the Rapper remasters, the past twenty years in music games, and more:

Developed by the frontheads of not only Parappa the Rapper but also Gitaroo Man, the upcoming Project Rap Rabbit has a chance to reinvent the rhythm genre in only a way its masters know how to execute. We spoke to the creator following the opening of their Kickstarter for the project, that if everything goes well, is set to launch in 2018 for Playstation 4 and PC.

How did the creators behind such classics as Gitaroo Man and Parappa the Rapper meet, and was Project Rap Rabbit an idea they have had for a while?

Keiichi Yano: Matsuura-san and I met almost 20 years ago. PaRappa The Rapper had a huge influence on my work and contributed to me pursuing a career in rhythm-action game development. We stayed in touch and, over the last few years, discussed both our longing to return to narrative-led rhythm-action game development, and our desires to do so in a way that would add something new to the genre. Simply rehashing the past didn’t interest us, so we spent a lot of time debating how we could make meaningful progress in the genre. As we began feeling out how the genre should evolve we started referring to our vision as ‘Rhythm Action 2.0’. More recently, as we settled on final mechanics and fleshed out the themes of our idea, ‘Rhythm Action 2.0’ turned into Project Rap Rabbit.

Once Project Rap Rabbit is funded and development starts, will the game support such updated platforms as the Playstation 4 Pro?

Keiichi Yano: We are interested in fully supporting all the latest platforms, including PlayStation 4 Pro and Scorpio. However, we have nothing further to announce at this time.

A lot has changed within hip-hop since Parappa the Rapper originally launched. Since Project Rap Rabbit tackles the same genre, if and how is the game influenced off of more contemporary rap work?

Keiichi Yano: Rap isn’t about just hip-hop but spans a variety of genres and we can even say makes regular appearances in popular music as a whole. But we are definitely taking cues from everything old and new and trying to create a fusion with Japanese traditional music influences. It’s challenging and exciting at the same time!

Is there any target for how long Project Rap Rabbit will be, and does this change based off of the amount of funding the game receives?

Keiichi Yano: Project Rap Rabbit features a full story mode comprising six large levels and online leaderboards. Extra funding will allow us to significantly increase the size even further with more levels and modes, including online multiplayer and user-generated content systems for players to integrate their own levels.

Do you believe recent remasters of games such as Parappa the Rapper increase your game’s chance of success?

Keiichi Yano: Although there’s a natural crossover between fans of those remasters and what we’re building, we’re certainly not aiming to rely on past glories in order to make Project Rap Rabbit a success. It’s great that so many people still love and play those original titles and we’re honored and humbled by their legacy. The experience we gained during the development of those titles is certainly helping to steer us forward, but there are major elements that set Project Rap Rabbit apart. Our vision for Project Rap Rabbit is that it should represent and showcase 20 years of progress in the field of narrative-led rhythm- action adventures: we want to do things no other music game attempted before, and for this reason we feel that while remasters can help increase the awareness of the genre, they’re not representative of our ambitions for Project Rap Rabbit. Of course we want to celebrate the past — yet Project Rap Rabbit exists because there are so many new places that story-led music games can visit, but nobody else is exploring that space in a major way.

We’d like to thank PQUBE for letting us interview Project Rap Rabbit’s creators!

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