I’m excited to announce Fantasy Strike, a fighting game that’s coming at the genre from a different angle. We’re stripping out a lot of complexity that fighting games usually have and building everything around the idea of simple controls and easy execution while still being a serious, competitive e-sport.
My background in fighting games goes back more than 25 years. I played Street Fighter 1 in arcades as a kid (Yes, really). I played many versions of Street Fighter and Guilty Gear competitively in many tournaments, including three Top 8 finishes at Evolution. I was also lead designer of Street Fighter HD Remix. I love fighting games, but they’re generally really hard to play. I’ve been frustrated for a long time that so much of the fun the genre has to offer is inaccessible to most people.
I’ve made several efforts to bring the fun of fighting games to a wider audience. My card game called Yomi distills many of the dynamics that occur in fighting games down to a tabletop form, so even people with no dexterity skills can experience parts of what makes the genre great. My book, Playing to Win, explains the mindset of top fighting game players, so that everyone else can try to learn how the great players think. On Street Fighter HD Remix, I was able to slightly simplify the inputs to do some moves, and generally make the game a bit more accessible. But not until now have I been able to make an entirely new fighting game from the ground up, centered around the idea of including as many players as possible.
Fantasy Strike has simple 1-button inputs for all moves. It doesn’t even have crouching, so even movement is simple. But let me tell you about my favorite feature, which is actually a 0-button input.
Throws used to be really powerful in fighting games, but after years of players complaining that “throws are cheap,” developers made them weaker and weaker. I think that’s the wrong way to go about things though, because powerful throws are important to prevent a game from being too defensive. So in Fantasy Strike, we have powerful throws, but we have a unique feature that means you can always get out of them if you expect them.
That feature is called a “yomi counter.” To perform it, you let go of your controls. That’s right, you let go of the d-pad and buttons, and though you are completely vulnerable to any hit or combo, if an opponent tries to throw you, you will automatically reverse it. You’ll throw them instead, and you’ll do it with a fancy, awesome animation special to your character. You’ll even get full super meter on top of that.
Yomi counters are a bit hard to pull off in the heat of battle, but not because they are difficult to perform (obviously!). They require a really good read, but it’s oh-so-sweet when you land them. They are hype tournament moments waiting to happen.
Right now we have 8 of the original cast of 10 characters from the Yomi card game in Fantasy Strike. We’re going to do a whole lot more polish and tuning, add more characters and modes, and implement online play using the excellent GGPO networking technology. Though we don’t want to ship until it’s truly ready, we love showing previews to our fans the whole way through development. Getting community involvement as we build the game keeps us on the right track, and it’s also way more fun that way.
Stop by our booth at PlayStation Experience December 3 and 4, and check out our progress so far!