We speak with nWay’s Steve Kuroki about the future of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid.
Recently nWay shocked Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid fans with news of a fourth season of DLC content. The first character, Adam Park, is out now, with two more in Poisandra and fan favorite Rita Repulsa on the way. We spoke to nWay's VP of Creative Steve Kuroki about the Season 4 Pass, BFTG Esports, and the future of the game as a whole.
A new season of Battle for the Grid
ESPORTS.GG: Some players thought Battle for the Grid was complete after the Street Fighter pack, what went into the decision to continue with a Season 4?
STEVE KUROKI: To be honest, a lot of it had to do in big part with the community. With 28 seasons to pull from there were still so many more Rangers and villains to add to the roster and the fans were very vocal about who they’d love to see next. The game still has plenty of potential for growth and we’d love to continue giving what the fans are asking for.
E: How much input has the show's creators had on the game and lore references included in the game?
SK: We work very closely with Hasbro to make sure that the characters represent the brand. They contribute a lot to the story lines and general character visual design but when it comes to the character combat, they’ve given us the creative freedom to design the characters in a way that works best for the core gameplay.
BFTG and Developer Freedom
E: Battle for the Grid has been described as a versus game where the developers are allowed to go nuts with concepts. Does that line up with the development philosophy of the team?
SK: It's no secret that this game's feel is most influenced by so-called "Versus" games, the Capcom-developed Marvel Comics/Street Fighter crossovers that began in the mid-90’s.
The appeal of those games is that, while they retain core fundamentals that make 2D fighting games what they are, there is nothing restrained or subtle about them. Expressive, zany movement and outrageous combos are possible － if you can pull them off. Stuff that would never fly in a more grounded 1v1 fighter, like Street Fighter, is par for the course in those games. Some of those classic Versus games have so much broken (meaning overpowered) stuff in them that they only even hold together because all the brokenness kind of rests against itself. We’re definitely pursuing that boldest flavor of the fighting game experience.
One thing our game does intentionally is lower the bar a bit for how soon you can feel like you're accessing that level of execution. There are still exacting and challenging techniques, but in general it's much easier to learn deadly, wacky, fun stuff that feels really cool than it is in, say, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or Guilty Gear Strive (and if you want a traditional execution challenge, we have Street Fighter's Ryu and Chun-Li available as crossover characters).
A Fan Favorite Debuts
E: Rita Repulsa was a highly-requested character, how excited are you to finally get her into the game?
SK: Our excitement level is through the roof! I recall the first time seeing the character model in full 3D in one of our team meetings and everyone went nuts. Since then, seeing her come to life with animation and VFX has consistently been the highlights of the week. We can’t wait for players to get a chance to work her magic in the grid.
E: Can you give us any hints regarding Rita's playstyle?
SK: Rita's beef with the Rangers and Zordon goes back longer than anyone else. Rita's one of the hubs around which the entire Power Rangers universe turns. She's not a monster of the week, she sends the monster of the week. She's an ancient master sorceress who spies on Earth from a tower on the moon, so it wouldn't really be fitting for her to mix it up too much with physical strikes. She's beyond that. She uses her magic to lash out all over the screen, and of course, she has an endless supply of disposable Putty thralls to hurl at pesky Rangers.
The Future of Battle for the Grid
E: Outside of more characters, are there any other major patches or content updates planned? PS5/Series X upgrades, balancing patches, etc?
SK: The future of Battle for the Grid is still open. We’d love to continue to grow the game through content and updates and hope to have more to share soon.
E: The crossover with Street Fighter was wildly popular. Are there any other dream franchises that you'd like to see enter the Grid?
SK: Crossovers are super exciting. I don’t want to promise anything but I can say that we have many ideas floating around the studio and hope to follow through on a few.
E: With the addition of Season 4, will we also see a continuation of the Battle For The Grid League? The first season just ended in September, will there be another?
SK: We’re constantly exploring ways to get the community more involved, which is partly how the Battle for the Grid League emerged. While we can’t say for sure yet whether there will be a continuation, it’s always top of mind for us to find ways to unleash the most insane combos possible. We’re certainly impressed with how the community has responded to the league and the top-notch skills of our best players. Our studio regularly has internal conversations about the last league event and how the community has responded to the latest game developments. We’re grateful for the feedback loop we have between our design and the community involvement through initiatives like the Battle for the Grid League, and hope to continue that in the future.