Motohiro Kawashima on Composing for Streets of Rage 3 & 4

Composer Motohiro Kawashima made a name for himself collaborating with Yuzo Koshiro on the experimental and highly influential soundtrack to Streets of Rage 3 for Sega Genesis. For his return to the series as one of the contributors to Streets of Rage 4, he shared the following thoughts in his liner notes for the game’s vinyl release, which are reprinted here. Provided courtesy of Alex Aniel/Brave Wave Productions.

It’s been over 20 years since Streets of Rage 3, and since then I had never even dreamed that Streets of Rage 4 would finally be released. I’ve received comments from Streets of Rage fans over the years that have helped shape who I am today. I am truly grateful to have been involved in the long-awaited sequel.

When I was first approached for Streets of Rage 4, I was worried about how to compose the music given how much time had passed since the previous release. I made 4 tracks in Streets of Rage 2 and 10 in Streets of Rage 3. I tried to recall how I approached those games back in the day. I already dabbled in many different genres of music, but I was heavily influenced by underground artists and thought it would be interesting to see that specific flavor of sound replicated in a game.

In the ’90s, I was particularly influenced by Rotterdam Records, jungle music (which was called drum ’n bass back then), Underground Resistance, The Shamen, LFO, Andrew Weatherall, German trance, German techno, and so on.

Also, I used to go clubbing and disco with Yuzo Koshiro, and we would have discussions about good music and introduce new beats to each other for our own encouragement.

Making music for the Genesis/Mega Drive back then was not like making music on a DAW (digital audio workstation) today. Making even one track required a lot of effort. There were limitations to the types of sound sources we could use, the inflexibility with the programming (I remember how tough it was to migrate over from desktop music), the number of tracks we could use, and so forth.

That said, when getting accustomed to this environment, I came to appreciate the charms of the Genesis/Mega Drive’s sound, which have a sense of profoundness to it. I could feel the bass in my stomach (Yuzo Koshiro felt the same way back then). There was a sense of roughness to the sound that I couldn’t imagine getting out of a DAW environment. The sound is gentle, overflowing with a sense of intricacy and sexiness. Working with the Genesis/Mega Drive had its technical limitations, but I felt that amidst these limitations lay unlimited possibilities.

After I finished working on Streets of Rage 3, I remember wanting to create Streets of Rage 4 right away. It felt just like yesterday when I had those feelings. Over 20 years later, now being given the opportunity to do so, I honestly felt a sense of confusion, as well. 

Given how the development of Streets of Rage 4 was different from that of the original trilogy, I was worried about whether I was a fit for the project, but once I got started, it turned out to be a rather smooth process. I was able to visualize in my head what the Streets of Rage world was like and create music as I saw fit.

I’d like to explain my production process for bringing the world of Streets of Rage 4 to life through my music. The world is an accumulation of wicked phrases that are three-dimensional. The phrases and rhythms are intoxicating and repeat themselves. They sometimes have no consistent tonality, and other times chromatic semitones. These rhythms are the ones that punch you in the gut. The way they play out will surprise and dazzle you from time to time. They’re sexual (laughs) and intellectual (or solid?), and other times they’re metallic and mechanical. Pop, funk, jazz, rock, techno, and experimental. It’s a world where the power of music binds these different elements together. And of course, it is timeless, universal and a subculture of utter maniacs.

That’s that I had in mind for the world of Streets of Rage when composing for the fourth entry. Of course, you can listen to the tracks and figure out for yourself what this all means to you.

I am excited to see what this new ensemble of musicians have brought to the Streets of Rage series. I look forward to playing this new Streets of Rage game, as I heartily celebrate its gameplay and music. 



ベアナックル3(Streets of Rage 3)から20年以上もたって、まさかベアナックル4(Streets of Rage 4)が発売されるなんて夢にも思いませんでした。































Limited Run Games:

is a subsidiary of “Freemode”, an operative group comprised of gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer. Limited Run Games is the industry leader in the production and distribution of premium physical video games. Limited Run seeks to celebrate the legacy of gaming through its award-winning collector’s editions. Founded in 2015, they have published over 1,000 physical games, exclusive merch, and collectables. Limited Run is the gold standard in bringing digital games to physical form and now re-releasing retro titles on modern platforms via their proprietary Carbon Engine. Visit limitedrungames.com for the latest offerings and to learn more about Carbon Engine development. Follow the brand on your social media platform of choice for all LRG-related updates:@limitedrungames.

Your Cart

0 Items

Sub Total