The lights are on
The developers at Reverge Labs have some big ambitions. The team is
building a brand new fighting game complete with its own deep fiction,
creative new characters, and an entirely new fighting engine. But the
thing that really makes the game stand out is how it is planned as a
downloadable title for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. The
team from publisher Autumn Games and developer Reverge Labs swung by
the Game Informer office this week to give us our first in-person
glimpse of the new game. Skullgirls is in many ways a sort of hybrid -- a
mix of the freedom and creativity inherent to old 2D fighting games
like Guilty Gear, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and Darkstalkers, but with the
design and technical complexity of modern games thrown into the mix. At
first glance, the most obvious feature you'll note about Skullgirls are
its combatants. The all-female cast of Skullgirls has all the buxom
anime styling anyone could ask for and more. Independent of your opinion
on the cute meets sexy vibe, there's no denying the detail and quality
of both the art and animation on display in Skullgirls. All the
sprites are drawn at twice the resolution that the game plays in,
assuring each character pops off the screen with sharp lines and bright
colors. The game plays entirely in 2D, but the technology is running on a
3D engine. The most obvious effect is that the characters are lit
realistically based on lighting sources within the game world.
Skullgirls has what looks to be a deep fiction behind it, more akin
to some role-playing games than many fighting games. The story circles
around a powerful artifact that can grant a wish to its owner once every
seven years. Each of the characters has a unique backstory and some
unusual feature that sets her fighting style apart. We met one character
who had a strange symbiote creature where her hair should be. A second
character has a hat that is an entirely separate monster with giant
pummeling arms. Gameplay includes a number of unique features.
When you start the game up, you can choose between one very powerful
character or two slightly lesser characters, assuring that players can
explore both the one-on-one fighting game vibe, as well as the tag team
dynamic of games like Marvel vs. Capcom. The six-button fighting system
has a number of smart design ideas, such as the ability for players to
break out of infinite combos after a certain number of loops, and great
controls that evolve off the best tournament level games still being
played today. You can even customize your assist moves for tag fights,
presetting any attack you want for when you call your partner into play.
Mike Z, the game's project lead, led us through the complexities of the
fighting system. It's clear he has a keen eye for the best and worst in
the fighting game tournament circuit, and an eye towards fixing some of
the problems that have plagued many games in that field for years.Skullgirls'
strongest feature is the way it caters to both the casual and hardcore
crowd. The engine itself supports the kind of high-level play that
serious fighting gamers are looking for. At the same time, the humorous
and sex-tinged visuals, accompanied by some awesome combo moves, should
make Skullgirls a fun time for the most casual of players. Skullgirls
is one of the most surprising and exciting new downloadable games we've
seen this year. Check out the brief trailer below, and keep an eye on
the game as it nears release later this year.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
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