Can a fighting game become mainstream in the way, say, League of Legends has? Like MOBAs, fighting games have years of unquestioned design in them, and bits hanging on from when they were a necessity, but can someone streamline them while staying true to their spirit and find a new, wider audience? The folks making Rising Thunder [official site] hope so.
The game has big fighting game names behind it. Developers Radiant Entertainment are lead by Evo founder Tom Cannon and GGPO netcode creator Tony Cannon, with former Capcom chap Seth Killian onboard too. Rising Thunder will be free-to-play, online-only, and actually playable on a keyboard - without any complex special move inputs to remember.
One big novelty is that Rising Thunder does away with the input combos for special moves, simply making them abilities you activate with a button press. Without needing to roll half-circles and whatnot, it becomes perfectly playable on keyboard too. Radiant say Rising Thunder They has the breadth and depth of your usual fighting game, and they want people to be able to simply focus on beating people up. Its moves do have cooldowns, albeit short ones, which is unusual.
"I don't know if Counter-Strike would be better if, you know, to throw a grenade you had to do a 360 motion with the mouse," Killian told PC Gamer in a preview. "You could make that game, and it would change the game, and that would have impact on gameplay, but does it make it a better game? Not that I can tell."
GamesBeat's interview-o-preview gets into a fair bit of detail too.
Rising Thunder will be free-to-play when it launches, selling cosmetic stuff for its lineup of robots. A "technical alpha" is due to launch next Tuesday, July 28th, and signups are open on its site. Here, look, that PC Gamer lot have a little video: