River City Girls was announced earlier this year, then few months later, it was out in the wild. That didn't leave WayForward much time to build hype, but their short-but-sweet marketing strategy seemed to have worked. Since its release last week, it's been the talk of the town, which has led to top notch fan art, glowing reviews, and tons of praise on social media.
Getting the game done, on the other hand, took a lot longer, but not as long as I had guessed.. In an interview on NF Magazine's Youtube channel, lead director Adam Tierney and co-director Bannon Rudis told me that the initial proposal for River City Girls was drafted three years ago. After hearing about a one of the few games in the Kunio-Kun series where you can play as both boys and girls, Adam got together with Bannon and character designer Rem on a pitch for Arc System's Works, holder of the River City/Double Dragon/Kunio-Kun license. Actual development of the game didn't start until about two years after that, which is incredible given how beautiful the game turned out.
Bannon seemed particularly relieved, and amazed, that things went as well as they did. It took him years of working day and night to create the art for River City Ransom: Underground, consisting of an estimated +100,000 individual frames of animation. By comparison, his actual time in the art trenches on River City Girls was a relative breeze. He did animations that he felt were "below" the required skill set of the lead animators, like the ocean waves crashing on the shore, and trusted his team to do the rest.