Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Rita's Rewind
Image: Digital Eclipse

During this year's Summer Games Fest, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Rita's Rewind was arguably one of the best surprises of the show.

A collaboration between the toy company Hasbro and the acclaimed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Cowabunga Collection developer Digital Eclipse, it is a classic-style brawler — coming to Switch, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Steam in late 2024 — that not only pays tribute to the original Power Rangers series but also references a whole host of classic '90s arcade games from companies like Sega, Capcom, and Konami.

As someone who grew up during the height of the Power Rangers pop culture phenomenon and who has spent countless hours playing the 16-bit beat 'em ups from Natsume, I was among those who were delighted to learn about the new announcement and knew I had to reach out to Digital Eclipse to find out a little more about the project. So we contacted Dan Amrich, content editor at Digital Eclipse, to put some of our most pressing questions to him.

Amrich was able to provide a little more information about how the project came about and what players can expect from the upcoming game. He did, however, keep a few things back, as you'll see in our interview below:

Time Extension: You just announced the game during Summer Games Fest. How was that experience? What has the feedback been like to the trailer so far?

Amrich: It won't be much of a surprise to hear it's been incredible! It's one thing to be part of a showcase like that, alongside so many amazing titles, but then to have viewers say Rita's Rewind was one of the nicest surprises of the show was both exciting and humbling. We've been collecting reaction videos and fan summaries for weeks, and they've offered a huge morale boost to the team.

Time Extension: How did Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Rita’s Rewind come about? Who made the first move? Did Hasbro reach out to Digital Eclipse? Or the other way around?

Amrich: A little of both. We'd heard Hasbro was open to some new ideas with their properties, so we approached them with this specific pitch, outlining the different gameplay elements we wanted to use and how we would make them feel cohesive with the story. Both sides really wanted to make it happen, and we've been checking in with Hasbro regularly for feedback as the game grows.

Time Extension: In terms of the story, the game obviously brings back Robo-Rita from Once and Always as the main villain. Why did you decide to make her the main villain? Was that something Digital Eclipse came up with or did that idea come from Hasbro to tie into the special?

Amrich: Once and Always felt like a love letter to fans, something that allowed the 30th anniversary's nostalgia while also acknowledging that fans who grew up with the franchise have never really left. We enjoyed that special and since it was the most recent major Power Rangers event, we thought that'd be a great place to start. Then we just started dreaming the way other fans do — "Oh, Robo-Rita made a time portal! Well, what if she actually succeeded with her plan? Knowing all the ways she'd been defeated over the years, what would Robo-Rita do if she could go back in time and share all those spoilers with her younger self?" It gave us a great excuse to play with both modern and classic elements from the franchise.

Time Extension: Most of what we’ve seen so far in the trailer seems to be drawing from season 1 of the original show. But there are also some elements from other seasons in the trailer too like Crabby Cabbie (who originally didn’t appear until the third season). Can we expect to see more characters from the other seasons? Also, will Bulk and Skull make an appearance?

Amrich: Surprising fans and seeing their reactions is honestly the best part of a project like this — the reveal really proved that to us. So while we know fans are picking apart every frame of that announcement trailer looking for clues, we're intent on keeping some details secret until a little later in the year.

Time Extension: There’s obviously been a lot of Power Rangers games in the past, including a couple of excellent (IMO) beat ‘em ups from Natsume for the SNES. What Power Rangers games personally informed your own approach to this new title? Also, what other beat ‘em ups were a major influence on the game’s design? And why?

Amrich: The 16-bit era Rangers games were a strong influence, for sure. But since we're going straight back to the 90s, we also took inspiration from arcade games that would have been playable during the time the show aired, like Capcom's Final Fight and the 6-player X-Men coin-op, plus Konami's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games — and you know we know all about those! In the modern era, TMNT: Shredder's Revenge shows how you can take a well-loved genre like an arcade brawler and keep it fresh and vibrant. We're not alone in thinking Tribute Games did a fantastic job there.

Time Extension: We spotted a few homages to Sega’s super-scaler games and other retro games in the trailer. Could you talk a little about those sections and the thought process behind including them?

Amrich: Since the game itself travels back to the beginnings of the Rangers, we felt it made sense to incorporate gameplay from that era as well — to make a game that both takes place in and feels like a product of the 1990s. Sega's super-scaler games like Space Harrier and OutRun really helped define the '90s arcade aesthetic, and we wanted to honor that. Plus, our engineers were up for the programming challenge of making modern gameplay with a nod to that style, so a notoriously reckless enemy like Crabbie Cabbie gave them the perfect opportunity to try out some of that high-speed gameplay. It's also intended to feel like a nice break, to give some gameplay variety — you'll switch between different genres multiple times throughout the game.

Time Extension: And just as a final question, what are you most excited for people to experience with this new game? Is there a particular aspect of the game that you can’t wait for fans to see?

Amrich: Some of the core elements of Power Rangers also lead to some design challenges. For instance, one of the show's key themes — the power of teamwork — is balanced with the reality that the Megazord is five Dinozords combined to make one awesome vehicle, and we wanted to put players into the Megazord so they could go toe-to-toe with giant monsters from a first-person perspective. But how do you make it fun for all the players in a cooperative multiplayer game when there's only one cockpit? We're excited to see how people work together (or not!) when it comes to the big slugfests.

Are you looking forward to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Rita's Rewind? Comment below and let us know!