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Community Made Fighting Game "Rising Thunder" No More?

Has Radiant Entertainment's recent acquisition by "League of Legends" publisher Riot Games already killed "Rising Thunder" before it could really arrive?

A great majority of you will probably have no idea what I'm even talking about when I say the words "Rising Thunder" until you finish reading this article, and that's fine. I'm well aware of the fact. I still feel that the topic of discussion is relevant and newsworthy, even if you're not familiar with the IP in question. So, just what is that discussion, and what is Rising Thunder? Let's start with the second question.

Rising Thunder: A Fighting Game Made by Players, for...Everyone

As I've mentioned before, on multiple occasions, I'm a big fan of fighting games. However, as I've also mentioned, oftentimes within the same breath, (or article) the genre tends to be rather...difficult to get into. As a general rule, fighting games have not only a high skill ceiling, but one of the highest skill floors in all of gaming, making entering them as a new player a rather daunting, and frequently frustrating task. Enter Rising Thunder.

The game was conceptualized by Radiant Entertainment, a studio which features several prominent members of the fighting game community, including the legendary Seth Killian. Naturally, all a man with his clout in the FGC had to do was breathe the words "I'm/we're making a fighting game," and people immediately sat up and took notice. What crazy idea was Seth cooking up? Well, as we would come to learn, the answer was Rising Thunder: a game featuring a rather diverse and eclectic group of fighting robots that looked like they would feel right at home in a universe like Gundam or Real Steel, and based on one principle above seemingly all others: ease of execution.

It's pretty much video game "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

Unlike the vast majority of fighters, from Street Fighter, to Mortal Kombat, Rising Thunder doesn't use directional input to control special moves, (things like Ryu's hadouken, or Scorpion's spear) at all. Instead, each special (3 per character) is assigned to its own button, and in a manner very reminiscent of skills in the RPG genre, has a cooldown timer attached to it.

Now, I've played a LOT of fighting games, and I can honestly say...I'd never seen anything like it before. The closest thing I could think of was Divekick, another indie fighter, but that title took the term "minimalist design" to its absolute limit, with just two buttons, "dive," and "kick." What Rising Thunder was offering was a game with normals, specials, crossups, mixups; all the things you would expect to find in a traditional fighter, without the typical execution barrier. Like many others, it caught my attention.

It's honestly something you need to see to really understand.

I followed the game closely. So closely, in fact, that thanks to a friend of mine, I had an Alpha Access Key. I unfortunately never got to actually play the game, because as I mentioned in my Asphalt 8 review on Monday, my laptop is a toaster. Which brings us to the second question: What am I on about?

Combat Mech Facility Shut Down Due To Unexpected Riot

Well, I just got an email from Radiant Entertainment. This email basically said two things: Radiant has been acquired by League of Legends publisher Riot Games, and as of right now, Rising Thunder is no longer in development, and the alpha access is about to be cut off. To be exact, this is all of what was said:

We are delighted to announce that Radiant Entertainment has been acquired by Riot Games. At Riot, our developers will continue their mission of building incredible games that speak to us personally as players. You’re probably wondering what this means for our games.


We will be closing the Rising Thunder Alpha on March 18th. Thanks to everyone who participated in the test! The Rising Thunder team will start work on a new game that we’re incredibly excited about. We wish we could say more now, but rest assured you’ll hear more when the time is right.

Our other game, Stonehearth, will go on full speed ahead. We’ll continue delivering Alphas at our current pace, with the aim of delivering the final game “when it’s ready.” We’ll continue keeping you up to date on our progress through things like our Twitch streams and Desktop Tuesday blog posts.

 

And more broadly, to everyone who has helped support us by playing Stonehearth and Rising Thunder, backing our Kickstarter, telling your friends, and giving us your feedback: Thank you for helping us make these games as good as they can be. You have been a consistent source of motivation and inspiration for us, and we look forward to continuing to talk and work with you in the future.

 

-- Tom & Tony, on behalf of Team Radiant

Basically, Rising Thunder has been "benched," but that's likely just code for "development officially terminated." Which means I will probably never get to actually play the game, and that genuinely makes me sad. But does this mean Rising Thunder is completely dead? Well, not necessarily. As many others within the FGC have begun to speculate, I suspect that the core design elements of the game are likely going to be carried over to one of these mysterious "new projects" Riot has them working on. I wouldn't be surprised, for example, if what was Rising Thunder becomes say, League of Legends: Battle Arena, creating a fighting game riding on the success of the LoL IP.

Still though, I'm going to miss watching the crazy colorful robots beat on each other, and I'm genuinely sad that I'll never get to try out Crow and his shenanigans for myself. Here's hoping it gets resurrected at some point down the line.

Published Mar. 10th 2016

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