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I recently found out that the 1979 film The Warriors (which, while not a really great film, has had an enduring cult following) had a beat-'em-up video game based on it. In retrospect, the existence of the game was not particularly surprising. The film is light on plot and heavy of action, detailing the story of a street gang fighting their way across a near-future version of New York City, passing through the territories of other rival groups along the graffiti-covered streets in a society that seems to be nearing the verge of a total violent collapse. The trailer outlines the situation.

There are many features of the film that are also standard parts of beat-'em-ups. The protagonists bash their way through waves of foes, who are often dressed in outlandish outfits. The protagonists also start off unarmed, although they may take weapons off fallen opponents. For example, in The Warriors, members of one of the enemy gangs wear pinstriped New York Yankees uniforms, have their faces painted in bright colors, and carry baseball bats (which members of the Warriors take away and use themselves). However, while there are plenty of bats, knives, and broken pipes to fight with, firearms are a rarity, possessed only by a handful of enemy gang leaders—just like video game bosses. It seems like about as close as one could get to making a beat-'em-up brawler into a feature film.

What I am wondering is whether there is any specific evidence that certain beat-'em-up game designers were inspired or influenced by the The Warriors. One game that seems particularly thematically similar to the movie is Renegade, from 1986. Each level in Renegade pits the player against a different gang (including one that is all female, like the Lizzies in the movie), each with a different "look" and style, including a powerful boss (with Wikipedia claiming there there was a "thinly veiled 'inspiration' from the film The Warriors," without citation).

Another game that, with its strange and colorful enemies and American pop-culture references (such as oversized wrestler enemies that resemble and are named after Andre the Giant), seems like it could have been inspired by The Warriors is Final Fight. The game features subway travel, which is also a prominent part of the plot in The Warriors.


So, is there any specific information (such as explicit statements from artists, programmers, or game producers) that the creators of these two games were influenced by The Warriors?

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  • As it stands this question is too broad. I'm sure that there are many games that are influenced by many things. You need to make it about specific games.
    – Valorum
    Sep 2, 2018 at 7:23
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    Quote - "while not a really great film" - sacrilege!
    – Danny Mc G
    Sep 2, 2018 at 8:16
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    I'm not sure how this is too broad, either it is "yes there are indications" or "no there aren't indications". I'm voting to leave this open.
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 2, 2018 at 8:59
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    beat 'em up games were an established genre long before The Warriors game was made, though. It's existence might support the idea that The Warriors is similar to Beat 'em Ups, but I don't think it tells us anything about whether or not the movie inspired the game genre to begin with.
    – Steve-O
    Sep 2, 2018 at 13:39
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    @Valorum there you go, edited out, not broad.
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 2, 2018 at 17:35

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For Final Fight, all I know is that one of the game designers (Akira Nishitani) said in an interview that during the development of the game, he was asked by his boss to watch "all the movies" by Walter Hill — which include The Warriors. So if you ask me if that counts as an "inspiration", then I would say "yes". Yes, it does.

Question: In the design document, it says that Final Fight was originally made as "Street Fighter 2," but it has a more American feel to it - were you influenced by movies such as "Streets of Fire" (directed by Walter Hill, 1984)?

Akiman: That was an influence. Excluding the introduction at the planning stage, Final Fight was originally made to be a completely different game from SF1. The company president at the time (current Capcom president Kenzo Tsujimoto) often told us to use movies for inspiration, so we used movies such as "Streets of Fire" and "Hard Times" (directed by Walter Hill, 1975).

Nishitani: We didn't have a whole lot of time, so we had a 3-monitor set-up where we could watch other movies at the same time, as the president told us to "watch them all and learn from them."

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