Fighting games can offer some of the most intense head-to-head experiences in gaming, but it’s a long road before you can stand toe-to-toe with a truly experienced player. Rising Thunder isn’t going to instantly allow an amateur to wipe the floor with a fighting game savant, but at least you won’t need to memorize a litany of button combinations to even get started.
Initially announced at the EVO 2015 fighting game tournament, Rising Thunder is the brainchild of Seth Killian, a fighting game wizard who has worked at both Capcom and Sony Santa Monica. The goal behind the game is to allow new players to get into fighting games more easily by using single-button commands rather than complicated button combinations.
Rising Thunder initially launched in July as a closed technical alpha, requiring a code in order to download and play the game. Yesterday developer Radiant Entertainment tweeted that the game’s network test was a success, and as a result, the alpha is now available for anyone to download and play.
As the game is still in a very early state, Rising Thunder may seem a bit bare at the moment, with a limited cast of giant robot fighters to choose from. Currently the game offers no single-player mode of any kind, nor does it offer split-screen multiplayer: the only mode currently available is online multiplayer.
For years, online multiplayer in fighting games was a mess since even slight network issues could ruin a match. This was fixed by a piece of middleware called GGPO (Good Game Peace Out), which offers nearly lag-free multiplayer for fighting games, used in Skullgirls, Divekick, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins and others. Tom and Tony Cannon, creators of GGPO and founders of the EVO tournament, also happen to be working on Rising Thunder, which is likely a large part of why the game plays so smoothly even in this early state.
Currently Rising Thunder is only available for the PC, and is only available as a download from the game’s website. Responding to a question on Twitter, Radiant Entertainment tweeted that there are currently no plans to bring the game to Steam. The game is planned to be free-to-play, offering cosmetic items for purchase, though currently no micro-transactions whatsoever are in place.
To get started, head over to the Rising Thunder website to sign up for an account and download the game.