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Hi-Fi Rush's Chai Was Inspired By This Comic Book Movie Character

To the shock of the gaming world, "Hi-Fi Rush" has become 2023's first surprise hit. Mostly due to the fact that the game's existence was kept a secret until Xbox and Bethesda's January Developer Direct where not only was the title first revealed, but it was subsequently released the very same day. Despite its shadow drop arrival, the game has been in the works since for much longer than one might think, and both the game itself and its main character Chai drew plenty of inspiration from a well-known comic book movie character.

As part of an episode of the official Xbox Podcast, the creative director of "Hi-Fi Rush," John Johanas, was interviewed in order to talk more about the game, its creation, inspiration, and how Tango Gameworks (creators of "The Evil Within" franchise and "Ghostwire Tokyo") created a colorful, cartoony, action and rhythm game focused on syncing one's actions with the game's soundtrack.

Chai was inspired by Edgar Wright's depiction of Scott Pilgrim

In speaking with Xbox's Kelly Lombardi, Johanas first acknowledged the fact that "Hi-Fi Rush" is definitely a departure from what Tango Gameworks has done in the past. "This is something that we wanted to make that [would] really, kind of, almost completely change the image of our studio, and also kind of pushed us as developers to [see] what we can do or what's possible even in the game universe. Because we wanted to kind of do something new." There aren't many who would call "Hi-Fi Rush" a horror game, so Johanas and his team definitely succeeded in creating something new. 

Johanas went on to explain that development for "Hi-Fi Rush" actually began shortly after the release of "The Evil Within 2," which means the rockin' rhythm game has been in development since 2017. According to Johanas, the imagery of "Hi-Fi Rush" was inspired by the bright, colorful variety of games from the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox era, while the game's player character Chai was inspired by none other than Scott Pilgrim. "I knew I wanted this main character that was, like, not a superhero, that was, like, very rough. The big reference point we used was Scott Pilgrim, especially the Edgar Wright Scott Pilgrim because I'm talking about Edgar Wright as an influence," Johanas said. "But it's this kind of like anti-hero, in a sense – not that they're evil, but they're just almost, like, dumb."

Perhaps fans of Edgar Wright's work can pick up on some of the influences for "Hi-Fi Rush." The entire game's sense of style, as Johanas says, was inspired by several different Edgar Wright films including a specific bar fight within "Shaun of the Dead."