Some of you may have fond memories of Radiant Entertainment’s debut game Rising Thunder, an experimental game of accessible robotic fisticuffs designed for online play on PC. While it never drew huge crowds, it was enough to get the attention of League of Legends studio Riot Games, who bought out the company and their game. Neither have been heard from until just recently.
While Rising Thunder may not have grown any in its long absence, it will at least be getting an encore performance this January, according to this developer’s comment on the Rising Thunder Reddit. A minor Christmas miracle for fighting game fans.
In short, Rising Thunder is coming back in January under the Rising Thunder: Community Edition banner. Radiant will be releasing their final internal build of the game (complete with local multiplayer, a much requested feature) to the public, free of charge. They’re also releasing the source code for the server software, meaning that the community can establish their own online player hub. They do mention that the original server software they used isn’t viable to be released to the public, but the bare-bones version that they’re putting out can at least be improved on if fans so desire.
If you never got to play Rising Thunder first time round, you’re in for a treat, even if it might not have as large a roster as you might hope for in a fighting game.. In essence, it’s a lot like Street Fighter 4, but with a lot of the sharp edges filed off. Rather than worry about a large list of moves with complex inputs, special attacks were bound to individual keys (making the game ideal for play on a keyboard) with small cooldown periods to prevent spamming.
The end result was very similar to a high-end fighting game, but with a much lower barrier to entry. New players no longer had to worry about how to execute moves, merely where and when to use them. While Rising Thunder never brought in quite as many players as it should have, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the game up until Radiant got snapped up. They really seemed to have a cohesive vision for the future of the genre on a platform that had never really been ideal for it in the past.
As for Radiant’s future, they sign off with a mention that the team has moved onto ‘something new’, and that it’ll be revealed ‘when the time is right’. If I were a betting man, I’d hazard a guess that they’re working on some manner of League of Legends spin-off fighting game, but that’s just conjecture. Whatever they’re working on, I’m glad that they spared a thought for their old fans and are releasing their old project to the public. Thanks, Radiant. I’ll play a couple rounds as Dauntless in your name.