One day, Daniel Crenna of Conatus Creative came across sprites for an unofficial River City Ransom sequel on TIGsource. Armed with the knowledge that it was possible to get the official licence, Crenna recruited the artist, recruited a team, and sent off an application. He wanted to make the first North American sequel to the NES classic, River City Ransom, and he wanted to do it with the creator's blessing.
Fast forward to September 2013, and Conatus Creative has a Kickstarter for River City Ransom Underground, an officially licensed sequel to the game Crenna loved as a child. Not only do they have the creator's blessing, but they're also collaboration with Yoshihisa Kishimoto, the creator of Double Dragon and Kunio-kun, the series that became River City Ransom in the west.
We spoke to Daniel Crenna, the producer on River City Ransom Underground, his brother, Dustin Crenna, the audio director, and Mark De Verno, the gameplay developer.
Together, they explain what it's like getting the rights to a 20-year-old game, how you follow up what most consider to be the first open world game, and how the economic depression has affected the once rock bottom price of smiles.