RareBreed’s Blazing Strike is a throwback to old-school arcade fighting games from the 1990s that helped shape the 2D fighting industry, especially from SNK, Psikyo, and Capcom. The indie project in particular is quite reminiscent of brooding, fighters like Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Rage of the Dragons and Daraku Tenshi: The Fallen Angels.
The big difference between Blazing Strike and the aforementioned titles is in how it plays. RareBreed is focusing on defensive maneuvers, parries, and counters to help separate it from the rest of the hand-drawn 2D fighters from yesteryears.
For instance, you have a normal block that works similar to Tekken; a guard button that is executed by holding back; and a parry that allows you to slip your opponent’s attacks and execute a counter if done properly. This sets up Blazing Strike to have a very fast-paced, back-and-forth style encounter as players continually block, guard, parry and counter each other’s attacks, while also looking for an opening with the rush moves, similar to the combo-starters in Killer Instinct. You can get an idea of what the gameplay is gunning for with the pitch video below.
As you can see, Blazing Strike is still very, very, very early in development. Not all of the animations are complete, and many of the characters are still in the starting stages of their design, so that’s why the developer took to Kickstarter to gather funds to finish the game.
The main characters have some of their basic moves finished and there’s an outline for what the rest of the roster will look like, with seven characters being the main target for release, and potentially several more made available via stretch goals.
You can see what the 10-fighter roster would look like courtesy of Alejandro Tio’s artwork for the game.
The workflow design for the characters is all very old-school, and it’s hand-animated just like in the old days. Of course, this means that it’s going to require a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of work to finish each character.
Personally, I believe in using 3D solutions to achieve 2D effects. 2D animation is just way too much work these days, and if you change your mind about a certain kind of fighting style for a character, or you don’t like the way they stand, or breathe, or how a move is executed, you have to redraw the whole thing, and then re-animate the entire move that you wanted to replace. With rasterized 3D designs you just model out the character, rig it, map the textures, add the UV, and customize the shader. You pose the key-frames you want using the skeletal rigs, snap some shots and then import them into your animation workflow.
What usually would take weeks to finish could be done in days when going from 2D to 3D. Again, that’s just my experience with it and trying to cut down on time because hand-animated solo projects will take years off your life. If you’re doing it just for the heck of it, then have at it and have fun. If you’re doing it to make money? Well, good luck because you’re going to need it.
On the upside, a lot of the finished character designs look good in Blazing Strike, especially with the scantily clad femme fatales filling out the meager but unique roster.
It’s nice to see that RareBreed knows how to pay proper homage to idle animations with boob physics and leotard-clad vixens with a penchant for violence.
Truly, Blazing Strike in that regard is a true pull right out of the 1990s, complete with the double-Ds, the long legs, and absolutely no mistaken what gender it is on-screen once the ladies get involved.
I can’t tell you how frustrating it is knowing that nearly every other AAA Western game that has recently released, or is coming to the market, features some of the most hideous female character designs in the history of gaming. At least RareBreed knows his audience.
The only question now is if this indie fighting game will be able to meet its Kickstarter goal of $70,000?
Also, hopefully he doesn’t do a turnaround and axe the fan-service if the game gets funded, similar to what Lab Zero Games did with Skullgirls after they got popular.
If you want to learn more about Blazing Strike or contribute to the crowdfunding cause, you can do so by visiting the Kickstarter page.
(Thanks for the news tip Joshua Michael French)