Experimental fighting game Rising Thunder goes one last round

Rising Thunder

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.


  1. GameCat says:

    You can’t really make successful fighting game with such bland characters like on screenshot.

    Kudos for making it free and releasing the server for public use though.

    • shinkshank says:

      I don’t see how colorful giant robots are bland – If anything, it made the game stand out more. I’ve certainly played more “iconic” fighting game entries where I’ve promptly forgotten all of the roster other than who I played and one or two standouts.

      • goodpoints says:

        I would say it’s more an issue that the characters look too similar; like palette swaps of the same Rockem Sockem Robot. Good fighters with good art direction make each character’s visual design reflect their playstyle.

        Look at Guilty Gear: One look at Potemkin and you know he’s a grappler, Jam’s the Kick Chick, Axl is the Dhalsim-like, Venom is going to shoot pool balls at you, and I-No will probably deafen people with guitar blasts.

        • SuddenSight says:

          I feel like people always make this complaint about fighting games they don’t play. This case I think is exacerbated by the screen shot which doesn’t give a good perspective on either character design.

          While I will grant you that Guilty Gear does a pretty good job of differentiating their characters, note that (similar to Street Fighter) Sol and Ky look very similar (big dudes with swords).

          Meanwhile, if you look at Dauntless and Chel (the two in the screenshot) you will see that Dauntless has giant fists, indicating he probably punches enemies and indeed he is a rushdown, while Chel has a gun for an arm, which is an easy way to signal that she uses projectiles.

          The characters in this game are just as well differentiated as any other fighting game.

  2. Uncle Fass says:

    It was a shame to see this game cancelled – I only wish more developers would take the approach of releasing what was completed.

  3. shinkshank says:

    I’m certainly gonna be keeping this gem in my archive. I know for a fact that many of my friends liked the game, so playing a lag-free version is gonna be a treat. GET THE DRINKS READY!

  4. CrzyAzn says:

    Brings back memories of my first robot fighting game: One Must Fall 2097.