Aztez is a game in which men hit one another with swords, a stab and slash 'em up made by a man who has thought deeply about fighting games, written down those thoughts, and then created a system of his own. The detail of the mechanics isn't in overblown special moves but in the length of animations and the timing of button presses. With visuals that invoke the black, white and crimson of Madworld and a turn-based conquest game atop the combat, it's shaping up to be a very lovely thing indeed. New developer diary below.
I've never written anything that has made me moan with pleasure when reading it back to myself, which makes me infinitely less of a man than designer/artist Ben Ruiz who seems to take great pleasure in demonstrating his game. He is making Aztez with programmer Matthew Wegner and seems pleased with what the two have built so far and with good reason. Even though release isn't planned until this time next year, the nitty gritty of the mechanics already seems to be implemented with a great deal of care.
As well as a designer, and this is integral to his work as a designer, Ben is a critic of fighting games. Over at his blog there are plenty of intelligent dissections of combat systems, including a fantastic reading of Bayonetta.
Builds of Aztez are playable in Unity now and I'm fascinated to see how all of Ben's passion and critiques of the genre will translate into a finished game of his own. The boardgame aspect could add a sense of purpose and continuity that I wish more beat 'em ups contained after being spoiled by whichever of the Soul Caliburs had the neat adventure mode that seems to have been inexplicably dropped in favour of clothes that fall off and body parts that jiggle ever more enthusiastically.