Crime Boss: Rockay City Preview – Throwback to the 90s

An homage to the glory days of campy 90s action movies in video game form, featuring Michael Madsen, Michael Rooker, and Chuck Norris

One of the more surprising reveals of the 2022 Game Awards was the organized crime action game titled Crime Boss: Rockay City. With an over-the-top aesthetic reminiscent of the glory days of 90s action movies, fast-paced co-op gameplay, and a star-studded cast of voice actors, the game managed to pique my interest despite the rather generic-sounding name. For all its garish appeal and flashy visual presentation, there is a lot more to this upcoming new game by developer Ingame Studios than it seems at first glance. Read on to find out all the details about Crime Boss: Rockay City, including gameplay, story, cast, release date, platforms, and more.

Crime Boss: Rockay City – Gameplay

Crime Boss: Rockay City is an organized crime sim that works to combine the adrenaline-fueled thrill of first person shooter combat with the thoughtful strategizing of a management sim game. Gameplay primarily consists of two distinct elements – the FPS combat missions, and the management layer where you can plan out your conquest of Rockay City over a map. The game also has roguelike aspects to its gameplay loop, in the sense that if the main character dies during a combat mission, the entire single player campaign restarts with a slightly different in-game scenario.

The management aspect of the game involves hiring and outfitting individual members of your crew, building up your army of thugs, fencing stolen goods, and analyzing the world map to identify and target vulnerable enemy territories. In this mode, the plans you lay down will eventually turn into combat missions later in the game. However, despite the focus on simulation, Crime Boss: Rockay City is still a shooter at heart. The game features two types of FPS combat missions – Turf Wars, and Heists. After you select a mission, you will be presented with the option to choose your team from a varied selection of mercenaries, each with their own set of skills, issues, and personal stories. You can even have Travis Baker (Madsen’s character) lead the mission himself; although the game features permadeath for all characters, and if Baker dies during the course of a mission you will have to restart the playthrough.

Once you’re in a Turf War or Heist mission, the gameplay is fairly reminiscent of wave based co-op shooters such as Payday 2, a game that has clearly inspired Crime Boss: Rockay City to some extent. The levels are partially procedurally generated, and you will have your choice of weaponry from pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, grenades, etc. as well as the option to try a more stealthy approach by picking locks and avoiding guards. Every mission in the game can be played in 4 player co-op mode with friends, however, none of the rewards will carry over to the single player campaign, which is its own entity.

Crime Boss: Rockay City is a game that has a lot of interesting ideas and promises a rather unique gameplay loop inspired by classic games across genres. However, based on the gameplay trailers for the game so far, there are a few causes for concern. While the level environments and fun models look quite nice, the character animations and certain aspects of the gunplay did have a clunky feel – the most egregious being the AI enemies, who just seem to stand out in the open lacking any discernible tactics or sense of self-preservation. Of course, this is all based on development footage, so there’s a chance these rough edges could be polished off by the time the release date rolls around.

Story and Setting

Crime Boss: Rockay City - Stallion Club

Based in the fictional metropolis of Rockay City in 90’s Florida, the aesthetic of Crime Boss: Rockay City evokes memories of GTA: Vice City or the early Saints Row games. You play as Travis Baker (voiced by Michael Madsen), a charismatic rising star of the city’s criminal underground. Ostentatious and bombastic, the game features a full single player campaign with a colorful cast of characters as you try to become the King of Rockay City after the death of its previous crime boss. In order to do so, the player will have to build a crew, defend their territory, fence stolen goods, eliminate rival bosses, and pull massive heists.

The overarching storyline itself is intentionally simplistic, given the open-ended structure of the game and the uniqueness of each playthrough. Instead, the bulk of the storytelling will be done via character interactions and the organic circumstances/context of each playthrough. Everything about the story and setting of Crime Boss: Rockay City feels like a charming throwback to the delightfully campy action movies of the 90s, including its star-studded cast of 90s icons such as Michael Madsen, Danny Trejo, Vanilla Ice, and more.

Crime Boss: Rockay City – Cast

Michael Madsen as Travis Baker

Despite all its lofty promises for gameplay, Crime Boss: Rockay City’s true claim to fame is certainly its jam-packed cast boasting several Hollywood heavy hitters from 90s pop culture. Some of the highlights include –

  • Michael Madsen as Travis Baker – Best known for his roles in classic Tarantino films such as Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill: Volume 2, American actor Michael Madsen lends his voice and likeness to Travis Baker, the protagonist of the game.
  • Kim Basinger as Casey – American actress and former model Kim Basinger makes her debut in the video game industry as Casey, a femme fatale character allied with Travis Baker.
  • Chuck Norris as Sheriff Norris – 90s movie star and martial arts legend Chuck Norris plays the role of a righteous police officer aptly named “Norris”. The game’s trailer even shows the man performing his iconic spinning roundhouse kick for the camera.
  • Danny Glover as Gloves – Veteran Hollywood actor Danny Glover dons the suit of a man simply known as “Gloves”. Not much is known about Gloves, but it is clear that he is a cunning strategist with a lot of authority. And thanks to the magic of video game graphics technology and de-aging, he is definitely not too old this time around.
  • Damion Poitier as Nasara – Renowned voice actor and stuntman Damion Poitier appears in the game as Nasara, a high-ranking member of Baker’s crew. Poitier is best known for his role as the heist character Chains in Payday 2.
  • Vanilla Ice as Hielo – Best known for his music career in the 90s, rapper Vanilla Ice plays Hielo, a rival gang boss and music producer who is shown stealing from Travis Baker in one of the gameplay trailers.
  • Danny Trejo as The Dragon – Mexican-American actor Danny Trejo plays the role of the rival gang boss known as “The Dragon”. Trejo is no stranger to such roles, having previously voiced the fan-favorite character of Umberto from GTA: Vice City, as well as several other celebrated performances in gangster movies such as Desperado and Heat.
  • Michael Rooker as TouchdownThe Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy star Michael Rooker plays a character known as “Touchdown”. The game trailer paints Rooker’s character in an antagonistic light, and given his illustrious history of voicing menacing villains in a number of video games, it is quite likely that Touchdown will be a major villain in Crime Boss: Rockay City as well.

Release Date and Platforms

Crime Boss: Rockay City is set to launch on PC via Epic Games Store on March 28, 2023. The game is also set to launch on current generation consoles including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/Series S later in 2023, although there is no firm console release date yet.

If you were hoping to play the game on Steam, you might have to wait a while – although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, the expectation is that the game will arrive on Steam a year later in 2024 like most other timed exclusives on the EGS.


Crime Boss: Rockay City is developed by Czech video game developer Ingame Studios and published by 505 Games. Founded relatively recently in 2020, Ingame Studios consists of over 70 members who have previously worked on games such as Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Dead Trigger, the Mafia series, and more.

Crime Boss: Rockay City Trailer

Check out the Announce Trailer for Crime Boss: Rockay City

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