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Jet Set Radio Deserves A Reboot. Here's Why

Jet Set Radio has had a complicated path to the hearts of gamers. While the game is beloved by some groups, and while it received glowing reviews from critics, Jet Set Radio never quite managed to break into the mainstream for a variety of reasons.


Jet Set Radio (originally released in America as Jet Grind Radio) appeared on the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. Due to a series of missteps and unfortunate circumstances at Sega, Dreamcasts began to disappear and left Jet Set Radio fans wondering if they'd ever see a sequel. Because the original game didn't sell well, chances seemed slim.

Luckily, even after the Dreamcast's properties were left in limbo by a discontinued system, Jet Set Radio made its way to the Xbox with Jet Set Radio Future. But so much time has passed since Future, and no one's sure if the property will ever see the light of day again, despite still being able to push merchandise on Sega's official site. Jet Set Radio deserves a reboot on current-gen consoles. It's the game that could represent the 2020s.


Fans want it and have tried to recreate it

Jet Set Radio never got a fair shot at success, especially considering the Dreamcast's doomed reputation. That being said, Jet Set Radio's fanbase didn't just go away. Instead, they grew up and started making their own games to honor their favorite series. 


In 2017, indie developer Dinosaur Games released a proof of concept trailer for Jet Set Radio Evolution, a reboot of the original game. Even though Dinosaur Games presented their idea to Sega directly, the company ultimately passed on the offer to develop a new Jet Set Radio game. In a series of now-archived tweets (discussed by Gematsu), developer Jesse Sosa offers more details about the experience. He explains that while Sony enjoyed the presentation, Sega did not find it as amusing.

Several indie games have tried to capture the joy of grinding through a colorful city, including Neon Tail, a rollerblading game with a pink, bubbly protagonist. The successfully Kickstarted project Hover also cites Jet Set Radio as an influence and seeks to replicate the older game's cool cel-shaded style. Fans want to revisit the world of Jet Set Radio – they simply haven't been given the chance.


Jet Set Radio was innovative

One of the reasons why Jet Set Radio has had such a lasting influence on the gaming world is in part because of its innovative gameplay and music. The music in Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future remains so iconic that until recently, a 24/7 livestream of Jet Set-inspired beats played on Jet Set Radio Live, an online radio service with different stations and moods. Unfortunately, it appears that the channel has been deleted or lost to the fickle ways of the internet.


A retrospective and interview from USGamer discusses Jet Set Radio's creativity and argues that the style behind the series makes sense even now. The interview portion of the article notes that Sega continues to be "down" to revisit the Jet Set Radio franchise but that they'd want to bring in a younger group of creators to helm the project, considering the game's youthful message and mood. Of course, any progress toward a new game remains to be seen.

Thinking of how Jet Set Radio might function with the advancements in gaming technology is exciting. With the PlayStation 5's adaptive buttons, the possibilities could be endless.