Hey everyone. Today I’m pleased to announce my new fighting game, Fantasy Strike. As many of you are aware, I’ve long desired to make my own fighting game. HD Remix is a great game and an improvement on ST, but I was still restrained by the constraints of the SF2 engine and the lack of opportunity for further rebalancing after the game had shipped. Thankfully, after years of planning, work has finally begun on what, to my knowledge, is a venture without precedent; a fighting game made from the ground up for the competitive community by one of its own members.
Fantasy Strike is a competitive, one-on-one 2D fighting game featuring gameplay finely tuned to hold up to the rigors of top-level competition, yet also designed to be more accessible to new players than any previous traditional fighting game. Additionally, the game will feature a unique single-player experience never before seen in a fighting game; an epic story set in the unique Fantasy Strike universe also used for my games Yomi, Puzzle-Strike and Flash Duel. An extremely in-depth tutorial mode will equip you with all the knowledge required to become a top Fantasy Strike player. GGPO netcode will provide the best netplay experience yet in a commercial release fighting game.
The game’s too unfinished to really get a good video at this point (many sprites use placeholders) but here’s a couple of screens to whet your appetites. Please bear in mind this game is VERY early in development, HUD is subject to change, backgrounds are simply still image placeholders, etc…
More importantly, how does it play?
Five buttons: Light, Medium, Heavy, Roundhouse and Strike. First three are regular attacks that can be either kicks or punches. Forward + Heavy is throw. Roundhouse is also a regular attack, but pressing it while crouching is a universal knockdown attack for all characters. The Strike button is unique: by pressing different directions in combination with the Strike button, your character performs different special moves. This is the first innovation aimed at reducing the execution barrier to playing the real game. If you’ve ever tried to introduce someone to Street Fighter, you’ll know that even basic motions like qcf+punch are difficult for newcomers. Fantasy Strike does away with this archaic interface by making all special moves a simple directional input, plus the Strike button. For example, forward + Strike might do a fireball, while down + Strike is a Dragon Punch and back + Strike a Helicopter Kick.
The basic system most resembles Street Fighter II, with some tweaks like the addition of dashes, tripguard and throw-invincible jump startup, plus a more in-depth juggle system along the lines of Street Fighter IV. No normal chains, and thus extended-length combos rely mainly on linking normals together. “But Sirlin,” I hear you ask, “didn’t you criticise SF4 for how its reliance on difficult links introduced an artificial barrier to entry for players?” Here’s where I introduce the second innovation designed to make this game more accessible to new players. A 16-frame input buffer enables Fantasy Strike to utilize the the diversity of a link-based combo system while making sure you never lose a match due to failing at a stupid, unstrategic test of single player skill. In Fantasy Strike, even your mom can do combos!
The most exciting feature of Fantasy Strike’s system is the Yomi meter. Ostensibly, this is a simple super meter; it builds equally by both defensive and offensive actions, and half a bar can be spent to perform your character’s Ultra Strike super move (executed by pressing Strike + any other button); a devastating cinematic attack. Additionally, by pressing the Strike and Roundhouse buttons during the hitting or recovery period of any move you can use a quarter of your Yomi meter to perform a Strike Cancel (similar to a Roman Cancel from Guilty Gear), which allows you to instantly cancel the animation of whatever move you’re currently doing. However, the meter can also be use in several new, exciting ways which fundamentally change the way the game is played.
The first of these is the Yomi Accelerator. This ability (activated by pressing Light + Medium) allows you to spend half your meter in exchange for slowing down time for a short time, simulating the actual experience of professional athletes and gamers (is there a difference?) in high-pressure, high-concentration situations. However, your character is still capable of moving at normal speed. Getting mixed up, and going to die if you eat one more combo? Activate your Yomi Accelerator and easily block that overhead. Or activate it during footsies and easily “psychic Dragon Punch” your opponent’s poke. However, beware! If your opponent predicts that you will activate, and presses back + Light + Medium within 5 frames of your activation, they will perform a “Yomi Counter”, ending the Yomi Accelerator state and knocking you down. Regardless, the Yomi Accelerator state ends when you get hit or hit the opponent.
The other exciting new feature in Fantasy Strike is the Fantasy Cancel. Executed by pressing the Strike and Roundhouse buttons any time during a move’s startup, active or recovery so long as it hasn’t hit, this technique costs one quarter of the Yomi meter, and allows you to instantly cancel any move. With this revolutionary new system, every move in the game can potentially become an HDR Ryu fake fireball! Fantasy Cancel a fireball to bait your opponent into jumping in! Do a move with long startup, then Fantasy Cancel and throw! Whiffed a move with long recovery? Fantasy Cancel to avoid getting punished!
It’s when these techniques are used in combination that their potential truly shines. Whiff a move, Fantasy Cancel it, then activate your Yomi Accelerator to see if your opponent attempted to punish. If they did, dash up and combo into special into Strike Cancel into juggle. Extend combos by using the Yomi Accelerator to slow down their hitstun, or canceling into special, then Fantasy Canceling the special and doing more normals.
To prevent boring-looking loops and encourage creativity in combos, each technique may only be used once while the opponent remains in hit-stun. An example of the uses of this system in combos: Grave Stormborne, Wind Warrior, the ‘Ryu’ of the game, chains two crouching light attacks together, then links into crouching heavy, which he cancels into his Dragon Punch move called Dragonheart. The Dragonheart is immediately Fantasy Canceled, and Grave activates Yomi Accelerator, slowing down the opponent and thus keeping them in hit-stun for longer. So long as the opponent does not Yomi Counter (see how this system allows for Yomi even within combos?), Grave can now dash up, close heavy, then, depending on how much meter he has remaining, either cancel into a devastating ‘True-Spark Arc’ Ultra Strike, or cancel into another Dragonheart, Strike Cancel it, then end the combo with a Lightning Cloud (fireball) juggle.
That’s about it for now. The game is still a long way from done, but we’re making good progress. The game is being developed for PC and that is where it will be initially released and balanced. Xbox Live and PSN releases would also be nice, but may not come until much later given the expense of patching. I’d rather get the game to a point where it feels like the balance is as good as it’s going to get first.
Well, thanks for reading.
P.S. Haters and trolls, I already had to delete and repost this thread once thanks to you. Please stay out.