Kick! Punch! Rising Thunder’s Technical Alpha Open To All


What do you get when founders of the world’s largest fighting games tournament and the former Capcom chap who lent his name to Street Fighter IV’s final boss get together? Not the most hardcore of hardcore fighting games, no, but a surprisingly accessible one designed to introduce the pleasures of face-punching to a wider audience. That’s Rising Thunder [official site], and you can have a bash yourself now, as developers Radiant Entertainment have opened its technical alpha version opened up to everyone, with no more waiting.

“Network test success!” declared the game’s Twitter last night. “As a result, Rising Thunder Alpha is now open to all.” You can sign up here to get straight in and start punching.

Rising Thunder does away with the usual fighting game complex inputs for special moves, making them one-button moves with cooldowns, meaning folks don’t need to learn strings of buttons before they can really start to learn the game. It still has cancels and combos and dashes and all that, mind.

Rising Thunder will be free-to-play and online-only when it launches, selling cosmetic doodads to customise your robofighters. Radiant are lead by Evo founder Tom Cannon and his brother Tony Cannon, who created the GGPO netcode. Fighting game man about town Seth Killian is in too.

Does removing esoteric inputs babyify a game and make it for babies? Have a gander at this player bashing out some nasty-looking combos:


  1. Don Reba says:

    I tried the closed alpha, and it was kind of terrible; super-buggy, for one thing; for another: you’d think they are doing this because they found some ingenious way of dealing with the obvious latency problem, but no.

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Vlad seems to wind up a punch with one arm, then actually punch them with the other.

    That micro-pause-heavy thing still looks so stilted to me. It seems such a strange decision in a genre that is about timing and flow.

    • Razumen says:

      Yeah they use it way too much. All in all I don’t really like the whole hit-pause technique, it makes everything seem so awkward and unnatural. I prefer it when fighting games keep it smooth like Soul Calibur which uses sound, visual efects and reaction animations to better signify hits.

  3. gwathdring says:

    It feels very odd, at the moment. Also has the same problem as most online play in this genre–you’re going to get destroyed if you’re not good at fighting games and you’re not necessarily going to learn from it as effectively as you’d learn across a shallower skill differential.

    Good turn out good, though. :)

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    It’s all in the mind!

  5. rustybroomhandle says:

    Rise of the Robots! Only, perhaps not as awful as that was.

    • LionsPhil says:

      One Must Fall 2097?

      Had excellent title music, if nothing else.

      • Dreforian says:

        I was not the first to mention this game.
        There may be hope for this universe yet!

    • Shazbut says:

      Frankly, I’m disappointed we got to the fifth comment before someone mentioned Rise of the Robots.

      That game was apparently terrible however it is old now and therefore probably an underrated masterpiece or something

  6. ludicrous_pedagogy says:

    What I don’t understand is why are the most respected fighting games still all basically on a 2D plane? I mean I know there were some pretty bad 3D fighters, but for me Soul Calibur 2 was a genuine evolution of the form… but because all the pro-players were still playing 2D fighters at the time eventually the industry went back to that again…mmm.

    End of School term just gone I got Soul Calibur 2 out on the Gamecube in library and it still seemed pretty accessible to kids who are all playing SF4 or MKX or whatever at home… in fact I think I had some converts after a while.

    • Zankman says:

      Tekken exists!

      Personally, I’d play that over SF or anything else any day of the week.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      It’s not really anything to with accessibility or modernity – it’s just the style of play. Like asking why RTS’s aren’t first-person.

      If you’re after a fighting game in 3D space then that’s a wrestling game, pretty much.

      If you took a popular fighting game and moved it into a true 3D space you’d just be missing each other all the time, and if you’re locked onto each other then it;s just a graphical treatment still using a 2D metaphor.

      The one exception that springs to mind – and it might surprise some people, was a Tom and Jerry game I played years back on the… I want to say GameCube (I’m in the comment zone, someone else can look it up!) and I actually had a LOT of fun with that game – was a bit like a 3D SSB.

      • ludicrous_pedagogy says:

        Yeah, I do appreciate that they are different styles of fighting game and the market is plenty big enough for everyone. I suppose I’m just jealous/lamenting that there isn’t a Soul Calibur or Tekken that you can get on PC – while the new MK and SF and now *this* are all available.

        So correct me because I’m a pedant for wanting the right terminology: do Soul Calibur and Tekken count as 2.5D games rather than 3D? And 3D is something with completely freedom of movement around an arena like Gang Beasts or (as you say) a wrestling game? In SC and Tekken is it 2.5D because you kind of always ‘locked’ onto the relative position of the other player, while being able to side-step round?

        • Wedge says:

          Well that’s because there isn’t a new Tekken or SC right now? I don’t care for 3d fighters at all, but Tekken 7 IS coming to PC, hopefully this year.

        • Hypocee says:

          Well, there was one that I’m aware of. My brother and I spent quite a bit of time with the demo of Virtua Fighter clone FX Fighter back in the day. In my memory I wasn’t Blown Away by the 3D graphics and thought it was actually an interesting fighter, the same year that I was embarrassed at being taken in by Savage Warriors. Take that with a huge grain of salt, though – I was young and stupid, and I’ve never developed any serious knowledge of a fighter. The moves, simple combos, some zoning.

      • Razumen says:

        Your comment about 3D fighting games just being a graphical treatment is not true at all, in Soul Calibur for instance you might be locked onto the other player, but you have attacks which either hit to the front or to the side of you, so sidestepping a strong forward attack to attack from the side is a viable tactic that’s just not possible in a 2D game, as is preventing other players from doing the same to you by mixing up your attacks and remaining unpredictable. Positioning is also something that’s very important in 3D fighting games that’s not really replicable in 2D.

    • Ringwraith says:

      It’s because projectiles and other longer-range fighting doesn’t really work in 3D as they can just dodge sideways.
      That’s pretty much The Reason.
      As such they have different feels to them.

      • Razumen says:

        As opposed to just crouching or jumping? That’s not really The Reason, dodging projectiles is more about reaction time and choosing the right way to dodge, it doesn’t make 3D fighters any less relevant. I’d say the real reason that 2D fighters are still very popular is that people have a preference for them over 3D ones because they came first and are simpler overall on a tactical level.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Well yes, the purpose of projectiles in 2D fighting games is to control space, and that’s kinda negated if instead of having to choose to crouch/jump/block they can just sidestep every time.
          3D fighters tend to be much more scrappy and close-range as a result, as ranged attacks are more difficult to implement. You don’t really get zoning characters in those games.

          • vlonk says:

            Soul Calibur’s Ivy and Astaroth want to have a word with you. The times I failed to touch those characters is mind boggling, even though I know how to advance on them in principle.

          • Razumen says:

            Completely wrong, there are many characters in 3D games with fighting styles that rely on keeping the enemy at a certain distance, with fighting styles that support it. Just because sidestepping is now an option doesn’t negate the usefulness of ranged attacks, many of which are much faster in 3D games.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Well, even the 3D fighting games still play essentially like a 2D game. The only difference is that you can sidestep to rotate around the fighting arena. But the actual gameplay is essentially still on a 2D plane since you’re locked into a lane facing your opponent.

      • gwathdring says:

        Not saying it’s necessarily good, but the Dragonball Xenoscape series doesn’t play a darn thing like a 2D fighting game. And there’s lots of flying in that game so it’s about as 3D as it gets.

      • vlonk says:

        The first thing I learned in martial arts is to always align my orientation with my opponent. Always do it. Otherwise your defenses are severely limited. Some weapon wielding fighting sports even restrict sidesteps (fencing!) some allow it but still focus on strict alignment (kendo!). Naginata and fighting with other long weapons are possibly the only weapon duel martial arts where lateral movement is a regular important tactical element, because horizontal attacks to the legs are possible. Great sport btw.

        The only martial arts that would not focus on strict alignment with your opponent are self-defense oriented elements with fighting multiple opponents. Then you need to rotate in a way to avoid having someone in your back etc.
        I would not call Soul Calibur or Virtua Fighter fake 3D, they follow the same principles real martial arts adhere to.

  7. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    In my opinion it’s all down to personal execution. For example, both Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter have tried 3D in the past, but neither time did I like the change. I think if they were to try and make a 3D fighter again, at least given how 2.5D is perfectly fine (a subgenre, even) I don’t think doing it to an existing franchise is the best idea. 2D and 3D fighters are different beasts, and just because 3D came later it’s not inherently better in all cases.

  8. ButteringSundays says:

    Dusting off my fighting stick and giving it a try – thanks for the headsup! Took a lot to pull me away from Rocket League (you dastards!)

  9. Bobtree says:

    Rising Thunder was recently featured on Friday Night Fisticuffs: link to

  10. Baines says:

    They seemed to have missed that it isn’t just execution of specific moves that is a barrier, but also the sheer length that combos have reached.

    Even with specials reduced to a single button each, you still have the timings of those buttons, along with the mix of pure motion inputs (jumping, crouching, dashing, etc), and whatever else. Which is more of an obstacle? Learning to do a double quarter-circle-forward, or committing to muscle memory a string of 30 different specifically timed button presses mixed with with various directions?

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      The idea is to lower the skill ‘floor’ rather than the skill ceiling. The idea is to make the game more approachable but still have it be a fully fledged fighting game. Plus, removing some barriers to execution means that players can straight away focus on strategy and the more complex game mechanics (such as juggling, longer combos, tick-throws etc) , without worrying whether they’ll be able to actually perform a move when they need it.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Basically. There’s a lot of things you need to commit to muscle memory with more complex inputs. The fact they’re reducing something, which might be Down, Down-Forward, Forward, Down, Down-Forward, Forward + Attack (yes, all for one attack, and that’s not even a ‘properly complicated’ one) into a single button is great.

        • Hypocee says:

          I’m going to throw Pocket Rumble in here, prior to writing a mail about it sometime. I thought RPS had written about it at some point, but search says no.

          Pocket Rumble is two things – first, an attempt at a modern interpretation of SNK’s cult classic Pocket Fighter on the Neo-Geo Pocket Colour. With a tiny low-res screen and only two buttons to play with, Pocket Fighter necessarily used large clear sprites in close quarters and a direction+special command system. To modern eyes the latter is the hallmark of Smash Bros., but PR doesn’t go for the full-physics big-stage brawling niche like Megabyte Punch did – this is a one-on-one, sprites-crossups-hitboxes-mixups-corners traditional fighter.

          The second thing it represents is an attempt by some people who love fighting games to explain them to the rest of us. A frame meter shows windup, hit and whiff frames exactly at all times. The dedicated tutorial suite lets you actually see the hitboxes moving around. Skullgirls rightly drew praise for reaching out to us normals with its integrated training course, but that course was aimed at teaching a full-fat cancels, effects everywhere high-end fighter. PR’s trying for balance and room for skill, yes, but the decisions they’re posting in Kickstarter updates display a strong editorial commitment to accessibility uber alles from the design up. I’m excited about it!

        • pepperfez says:

          Down, Down-Forward, Forward, Down, Down-Forward, Forward + Attack (yes, all for one attack, and that’s not even a ‘properly complicated’ one)
          That’s not really a fair characterization fora couple reasons. First, it actually is a ‘properly complicated’ input — one for a super move of some sort, which is intentionally harder to make by accident. Second, it’s not seven inputs to memorize so much as one repeated motion and a button press — ‘quarter circle forward x2, Attack.” It certainly is a skill-hurdle to be cleared, but in the greater scheme of video games I don’t think it’s an outlier in terms of complexity.

      • Baines says:

        It feels like input motions are being made a scapegoat.

        Yes, QCF+Punch is more complicated than just Punch. But Punch, Down+Kick, dash cancel, Neutral+Punch, wait for hitspark, Punch, Jump, Kick immediately after jump, Punch, Punch, Punch, Kick, Punch, Kick timed for recovery to be canceled upon landing, Punch, dash cancel, Super is more complicated than QCF+Punch.

        But as resistant as people are to giving up special motions, they are even more resistant to giving up 30 hit combos. Both serve the same purpose, raising the execution barrier and making your hours/days/years of solo muscle memory training “pay off”.

  11. ScubaMonster says:

    It sounds like this could get rather boring after a while. But I haven’t played it so I can’t say for sure.

  12. BTA says:

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played of the Alpha so far a lot; the characters are really fun and have a lot of personality. I just hope they work out some of the weirdness with the cooldowns. It can be really hard to tell whether an enemy interrupted you using a move in a way that puts you into the cooldown or not, leading to some annoying situations where I’ve suddenly realized a move I kinda need immediately still has several seconds to go. I kinda wish they’d get the cooldowns down to the time of execution or at least close to it; it’s really weird to be waiting 5 seconds to use a move again in some cases.

  13. philosoaper says:

    watching the video made me remember how much fun I had playing One Must Fall.. then I went and looked at a video of One Must Fall.. and it looks awful.. well I guess we had lower standards back in the day.. at least as far as graphics goes. .. It was fun tho.. but not the sequel.. bleh..

  14. Lionmaruu says:

    they need to make it better on low end machines, even on super low i couldn’t get a good fps, and I run ultra street fighter on great settings.

    Also they just move to a more conventional way of doing the moves, the “press a button” system is stupid, and everyone that actually likes fighting games already has a proper controller anyway, be it an xbox, ps or arcade stick…. it will never become the game they want it to be if they keep this stupid system. sadly I wish them luck but I cant play it the way it is now.

    • pepperfez says:

      The answer is that they don’t really care about people who like fighting games; they care about people who like LoL and TF2. If you don’t have to pay $60+ for an arcade stick to play Rising Thunder, you can spend that money on fancy hats instead.