Beat ‘Em Up Brawler Game Vice and Virtue® Brings Retro Classic to the Modern Era

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Beat ‘Em Up Brawler Game Vice and Virtue

For an entire generation of gamers, few experiences inspire reverie like the classic side-scrolling beat ‘em up. The gritty urban sprawls, comical sound effects, lurid hand-to-hand combat, and iconic gameplay of hit titles like Streets of Rage and Final Fight left an indelible impression on countless childhoods spent hunched over arcade cabinets or early consoles.

Fast-forward to the modern era and the genre is set to be revived thanks to the release of Vice and Virtue® from independent outfit Raini Studios; revived and revamped would be a better description. Because although all the hallmarks of the brawler genre are present and correct, Vice and Virtue® combines its retro gameplay with state-of-the-art graphics and motion-captured fighting from someone who knows a thing or two about throwing hands…

Fists of Fury, Heart of Nostalgia 

More on the MMA legend whose kicks and blows have been ported from the octagon to the console soon. The real star of the show here is gaming industry legend Mike Haller, whose pedigree in combat games particularly is second to none. 

From the iconic Def Jam Vendetta and Medal of Honor series to the first 3D wrestling games on console which twice earned him “Fighting Game of the Year” honors while at THQ, Haller’s resume is fit to burst with brawler bona fides. 

The PlayStation, XBox and Nintendo O.G. joined the Raini team late last year, after his entertainment infrastructure firm CEDEN Network acquired the studio. The deal, which was conducted alongside Kanpai Studios, the company behind NFT collection Kanpai Pandas, saw Haller immediately take charge of game development for an undisclosed combat game – now revealed to be Vice and Virtue®. 

Raini has form for blending modern web3 tech with a beloved genre; the studio’s first release was competitive digital trading card game The Lords of Light (PC and mobile), in which players are tasked with collecting and compiling NFTs of their favorite crypto legends and mythical creatures. While the full details haven’t yet been released, expect NFTs to have a role in Vice and Virtue®, too.

For the game’s protagonist, Haller sought to bring authenticity to the board by recruiting one of the MMA world’s deadliest strikers: none other than current UFC heavyweight king Jon “Bones” Jones. Arguably the most accomplished fighter in heavyweight history, Jones lent his signature skills to the gameplay, with the champ’s bone-crunching strikes, sweeping kicks and aggressive takedowns captured by cutting-edge motion capture technology.

While very much playing into the nostalgia factor, Vice and Virtue® goes beyond resurrecting side-scrolling, thoughtfully evolving the gameplay through rich graphics and modern gameplay mechanics. If fighting styles in the vintage games were fairly limited, this modern retelling benefits from an array of martial arts moves – thanks largely to Jones’ contribution.

A Knockout Blow? 

Set for an early 2025 release, Vice and Virtue® will of course be judged on how well it captures the spirit of the beat ‘em up genre. If it traps lightning in a bottle in that regard, it’s destined to be a hit. 

For Raini Studios and Haller though, the ambition will be even grander: to preserve the definitive aspects of the game’s predecessors while introducing the kind of innovative elements that are made possible by modern technology.

Providing it achieves this feat, Vice and Virtue® will deliver a knockout blow.

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