16 March 2011

Impressive 2D Graphics...[]

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned an upcoming 2D fighting game, Skull Girls, on which I'm definitely keeping an eye. You can find the official website here. Three new exhibition videos were recently posted, and the webmaster of The Fighters Generation has compiled them into a handy one-page gallery. If you're at all interested in fighting games, you should check out these videos. I can honestly say I've never seen a 2D fighter with graphics that look quite as good as this, not just in terms of fluid animation but in terms of style. The character sprites are based on the artwork of Alex Ahad, who apparently worked on the Scott Pilgrim comics (guest comics, it seems, from the Wikipedia page), and it shows. The style is brilliant and unique (at least in fighting games); the characters really come "alive" on the screen and the movesets of each character are quite varied and creative.

This goes back a bit to my discussion of 2D vs. 3D fighting games, but I really do feel that one of the strengths of true 2D fighters (not the grey area of 3D models fighting on a flat plane) is the amount of care and character that can be put into each character's motion. I'm not saying that 3D models can't be expressive – certainly the outstanding 3D fighting games have memorable moves and characters with their own idiosyncrasies – but because 2D fighting game sprites are hand-drawn, frame by frame (despite the claims of my friend who favors 3D fighters that they "only animate the key poses and use the computer to do the in-betweens"), there is just so much more opportunity for artists to put in personal touches that bring the characters to life. I'm not saying that all 2D games do this (or do it well), but the outstanding 2D fighters are known and loved for it.

I think what impresses me most about Skull Girls is that it just flat-out doesn't look like every other fighting game out there. For one, it's North American-born, which is always refreshing to see. For another, even though it's possible to see a definite anime/manga influence on the character design, it is very decidedly not another manga fighter (cf. Arcana Heart, BlazBlue, Guilty Gear, etc.). For a third, it is clear that the designers are heavily leveraging the computing power of current-gen systems to make the multi-pane 2D worlds fit together and look smooth (I didn't notice any jagged edges, although that could just be the video quality), without relying on 3D-model backdrops (e.g. BlazBlue, Capcom vs. SNK 2). The whole composition is really attractive, and the only thing that currently disappoints is the background music, which I really do hope they improve. Really looking forward to this game.

In other news, I plan to claim my Jill/Shuma-Gorath DLC for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 soon, as well as picking up the demo of the upcoming Mortal Kombat game...all while working my way through Atlas Shrugged again and considering other books for filling my Kindle. Oh yeah...and the job thing...being a ninja is tough work.

EDIT: Renamed the blog slightly today...keeping it simple.


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