2023’s Best Audio Design Game Hi-Fi Rush’s Director Aimed to Remind People of the GameCube and Dreamcast Era

Published 12/09/2023, 8:09 AM EST

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The Game Awards 2023 was a night to remember for Hi-Fi Rush. Tango Gameworks’ action game Hi-Fi rush won the award for the Best Audio Design. And a game that wins awards definitely has a lot more to it than what it was awarded for. The game director dove deep in an interview, where he discussed people being reminded by the GameCube and Dreamcast.

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Hi-Fi Rush gives a unique twist to what looks like the 3D era of Mario and Sonic-style games. With Hi-Fi Rush, Tango Gameworks infuses Rhythm in a colorful and musical 3D platformer. That being said, game director John Johanas shared in an interview what attracted players to the game.

Hi-Fi Rush: A Tribute to the GameCube and Dreamcast Era

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Ahead of The Game Awards 2023, Inverse interviewed John Johanas. In the interview, Johanas was asked, “Why do you think players took to Hi-Fi Rush so much? Do you think it fulfills something that people have been looking for?” In response, he began by outlining the game’s objective which is to create a nostalgic experience without imitating existing games. He mentioned that numerous studios attempted to recreate retro gaming but often fell short by not infusing it with a “current-gen quality.”

Johanas said, “I did see that in a lot of comments, especially when it came out of people being like, “This is just a video game-a*s video game.” Or, “This reminds me of the GameCube era and Dreamcast era,” which were exactly the things we were aiming for.”

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Everything about Hi-Fi Rush screams GameCube and Dreamcast. The way the game looks feels like a throwback to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Sonic Adventure. Hi-Fi Rush twists the look of the game, deviating from the 3D third-person camera angles set by games like Zelda from that era.

The game features “Borderlands”-like comic-book style graphics. Its emphasis on rhythm and music has won the hearts of players, earning it the title it deserves at The Game Awards 2023.

Hi-Fi Rush: Tango Gameworks shift in trajectory

Hi-Fi Rush is a departure from the studio’s usual horror game portfolio, marking a significant shift in their focus. The game was both announced and released on January 25, 2023. Its success boosted Tango Gameworks’ confidence in exploring unconventional and unfamiliar genres. The team learned that dedicating themselves to something different could result in a successful and well-received game.

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Developing Hi-Fi Rush involved a unique set of risks, especially since it deviated from Tango’s established horror genre. The risk encompassed not only creativity but also extended to how the studio and publisher, more accustomed to adult-oriented titles, would perceive the game’s content.

The director expressed pride in the fact that Hi-Fi Rush successfully appealed to players who rarely engage with rhythm games. Making the game enjoyable for a broader audience was a significant accomplishment for the team.

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As the director confirmed in the interview, the game was intended to remind people of the GameCube and Dreamcast. If you’ve played the game, let us know how you felt.

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Written by:

Viren Mirpuri

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One take at a time

“What doesn't kill me, gives me EXP.” I'm Viren – part gaming journalist, part audio enthusiast, and a full-time gamer. Armed with a degree in Mass Media and a love for competitive gaming, I'm on a mission to redefine eSports journalism.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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