Late last week, the creators of PaRappa The Rapper and Gitaroo Man, two founding pillars of the rhythm-game genre, announced they were joining forces for a new game with the codename Project Rap Rabbit. Very few details were shared at the time, but the game hit Kickstarter earlier today and is starting to take shape. Its development is being headed up by Masaya Matsuura, founder of NanaOn-Sha and designer of PaRappa The Rapper, and Keiichi Yano, co-founder of oddball rhythm-game mavens iNiS and the director of Gitaroo Man and Elite Beat Agents. The Kickstarter campaign is looking for a hefty sum of approximately $1.1 million, and as of this writing, it’s raised nearly $43,000 with 35 days to go.
Project Rap Rabbit’s developers are calling it a “story-led, rhythm-action adventure.” An anti-isolationist parable set in an alternate-history 16th Century Japan, players will take on the role of Toto-Maru, an anthropomorphic rabbit and “a simple farm boy who’s able to harness the special power of force through rap.” After some sort of global calamity, he sets off with his companion, Otama-Maru, to confront the land’s most powerful overlords and “bring about global unification,” all through the power of rap battles.
The game will have a lot in common with PaRappa, but Matsuura explains that Rap Rabbit’s biggest innovation is based on a common criticism of that PlayStation classic. In an attempt to make it more of a true hip-hop and rap-battling game, players won’t just be pushing buttons in time to a fixed song; each battle will have players picking out words from their opponent’s verses to serve as the targets of their rhymes, then choosing the tone of the lines you want to rap in retaliation. According to the Kickstarter, the idea is that the song’s lyrics will change seamlessly according to your rap-battle plan, playing out like the branching dialogue trees of games like Mass Effect.
Should the game reach its current funding goal, the developers hope to release Project Rap Rabbit on PC and PlayStation 4 in August 2018. There are also a handful of lofty stretch goals that would expand its scope to new levels and modes and bring it to other platforms, including Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.