River City Girls 2: New Marian gameplay and character design

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Hi, I’m Bannon Rudis. I’m one of the directors over at WayForward. WayForward does those Shantae and River City Girls games, among many other things. I have personally been making River City games for almost a decade now alongside Arc System Works. I started by reverse-engineering River City sprites and animations and trying my hardest to figure out how to animate. This pushed me towards my path of game development. But I know you are not here for me. Marian, one of the new playable characters in River City Girls 2, is the main attraction of this article, so let’s jump right into it.

River City Girls 2: New Marian gameplay and character design details revealed

Marian has a long and storied career as a damsel in distress. For many decades she was either publicly assaulted on the streets, kidnapped by a shadowy gang of criminals, held hostage in exchange for magical stones, or straight up gunned down (though she was later resurrected). Needless to say, she’s had it pretty rough. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that her friends, Billy and Jimmy, fought to the death over who got to date her. It’s a bit much.

Marian’s final production art, along with concept art showing her heavy-hitting moves in action.

Times have changed and so has Marian. No longer is she the helpless victim to these street thugs, villains, and maniacal skeleton wizards. Over the years, Marian has trained her body to reject the kind of physical and mental abuse she has unwillingly received over the past several decades. Unsolicited punches to her gut were merely a faint memory of the old Marian.

Two of Marian’s many expressions. Something mysterious seems to be afoot!

Marian learned the ways of boxing and wrestling. She didn’t want to be pigeonholed as the “slow but powerful wrestler” type. Her quick barrage of punches and grappling moves makes her a very unique fighter, but at the same time very familiar.

This is Marian as she appeared in the first River City Girls. By popular demand, she’s grown from humble shopkeeper into playable character in RCG2!

Marian’s current River City Girls design showed up in the first River City Girls game in 2019. Players and fans of the series instantly gravitated towards this new interpretation of Marian. She was a fan favorite and the obvious choice for one of the new playable characters in the sequel. Marian also bridges the narrowing gap between the Double Dragon and River City series. We ran this by Arc System Works, who are the license holders, and they were very much on board with the decision.

A frame-by-frame exploration of one of Marian’s mighty moves, the KO Cutter!

Even though she is a grappler, she is not necessarily slower than other characters and she has various moves that makes her incredibly versatile. She is the only playable character that has command grabs. These moves are great for doing damage to a single enemy, plus they also have plenty of splash damage to take out a crowd near her.

Marian unleashes a combo that launches her enemy into the air, then drives him back to Earth with the Air Pancake.

She also has some high-flying moves that can help launch her into a crowd of enemies from above using her Party Crasher Move. This move can quickly launch her forward to get the drop on enemies that are far away, or be used as an anti-air spinning attack, or if you wait until the last second as she stops spinning, you can drop her Elbow Piston special air attack on unsuspecting foes below her.

Another special is a command grab that only works if she is in between two enemies in range. The Mind Meld is done by Marian grabbing an enemy on each side of her and smashing them face first into each other. If she uses the move on a single enemy, she will instead Irish Whip them (that silly move in pro-wrestling where an opponent can’t stop running after being pushed into the ropes). This will allow Marian to attack them while they are vulnerable.

Marian proves that two heads are better than one with the skull-splitting Mind Meld, followed by the KO Cutter!

And finally, there’s her KO Cutter. This move is a dashing straight punch that can take out several enemies in front of her. Or, if you time it right, the move can be charged by holding down the Special button until it’s automatically unleashed. This will do more damage and have the added benefit of bouncing enemies off walls back to you.

Another useful move in Marian’s arsenal is the Carousel Toss, which not only damages the thrown enemy, but also any foes unlucky enough to get in the way!

Marian is very different from the other playable characters in the game, but she should be easy enough for anyone to pick up and feel comfortable with right away. Both our new characters, Marian and Provie, were such fun characters to play as that it made me personally feel the original characters needed an overhaul to their playstyle so they could keep up with how cool the newcomers are. I hope you enjoy playing as Marian, Provie, and our returning characters (who all got a glow up in the sequel) as much as we do when it arrives on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

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