I love fighting games, but I understand they're too complex for many people to bother with. This is a problem the genre has run up against for years, and the likes of Capcom and Namco and NetherRealm have struggled to come up with a solution.
David Sirlin, the fighting game expert who was lead designer of Capcom's Street Fighter HD Remix, has come up with a solution: Fantasy Strike.
Fantasy Strike is a 2D cel-shaded fighting game designed to be for everyone, with a genuine accessibility that retains the heart and soul of the genre.
Here's how it works: there's a button to move right, a button to move left, a button to jump, and four attack buttons. One of these is for a normal attack, two are for special moves, and another is for a super attack.
Using these buttons in combination allows characters to perform a number of different moves and attacks. Move back and press the normal attack button, for example, and you'll do a sweep. Move forward and press the normal attack button and, if you're close to your opponent, you'll go for a throw. A special move that in other fighting games would require an input command of some description requires just one button press here.
You can even do more advanced fighting game maneuvers, such as cross-up attacks and combos, just with a few button presses. The idea is Fantasy Strike has the fundamental strategy of a complex fighting game without the execution barrier that puts so many people off.
"We hope to bring together players from all fighting games," Sirlin said. "Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, Killer Instinct, Smash Bros, and so on are difficult games to play, so if you play one of those and your friend plays another, it's hard to get together to have a good match. Everyone can reach at least a basic level of competence in Fantasy Strike so quickly that it can bridge the gap to your fighting game friends. Or get newcomers into the genre."
Sirlin has launched a Fig campaign for Fantasy Strike, which asks for $500,000. Backers at the deluxe and higher tiers can play after the crowdfunding campaign ends in August. The current version has eight characters, four stages, online play, training mode, local versus, arcade and a tutorial.
The game's been in development for two years already, Sirlin said. If all goes well, a Steam and PlayStation 4 launch is planned for late 2018. One to watch.