Featuring 3D characters ripped and turned into 2D sprites, Nicalis and Studio Saizensen have announced that Blade Strangers is due for release on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Steam and Xbox One at some point on the back half of 2017.
The upcoming game features various fighters who have been rendered in 3D and then turned into 2D sprites through a rasterization process that helps give the characters a similar look and play-style to traditional 2D fighting games. This proprietary process is almost similar to how Arc System Works managed to make Guilty Gear Xrd look and play like a 2D game through the Unreal Engine 4.
The purpose of this process was to cut down on the costs of hand-animated 2D sprites, but at the same time capture the timing and frame data, as well as the smoothness and fluidity offered from 2D animations. You get a cool look at the new game courtesy of a demonstration video that you can check out below from Blazzer Sora.
The fighting and animations plays out very similar to SNK’s Rage of the Dragons. There are a few characters from other established franchises that make the cut, including one of the original characters designed by a famous Capcom artist.
Nicalis president, Tyrone Rodriguez, who also identifies as a member of the FGC, commented about the upcoming game and Nicalis’ strategy for putting it out there, mentioning in the press release…
“The first time I played Blade Strangers, I couldn’t believe that both the control and game mechanics were so intuitive,” “It was immediately fun. And even though it was just an early demo, I could see that it already had the gameplay depth of a classic 2D fighter from the 1990s.”
It’s true that it definitely look and plays like something from the old SNK or Capcom days.
What’s more is that the press release mentions that Blade Strangers is designed to take full advantage of a lot of easy-to-learn control mechanisms and game modes to help newcomers dip their toes into the world of the fighting game community without being or feeling intimidated.
Blade Strangers is being positioned as a fighting game that’s easy to learn yet hard to master.
The cool new animation process and ability to rasterize 3D characters into 2D means that it would definitely be easier to make new outfits, design new characters or upgrade the existing roster without having to redraw everything from scratch. I kind of feel as if it’s a method SNK should definitely explore as a cost-effective measure for future King of Fighters games.
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