Fantasy Strike Is A Fighting Game With Simpler Button Inputs

Most people get intimidated with fighting games due to one thing: the required input dexterity to nail those crazy combos that top tier players can do. But what if the inputs can be simplified into six buttons? That’s what famed game designer David Sirlin aims to achieve with his latest game Fantasy Strike.

To those not familiar with the name, Sirlin has been involved Fighting Game Community as well as designing games, both of the video and board variety. He rebalanced Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix and helped designed Chess 2. He also wrote an e-book about the competitive player mentality called Playing to Win, and also made Yomi*, where basic fighting game mechanics are distilled into a card game. Speaking of which, the characters playable here are all based on the ones appeared on the said game.

(*Yomi is the Japanese word for reading the mind of the opponent)

Fantasy Strike only has six buttons for input, with only two buttons at most simultaneously. Compared that to Street Fighter which has always had six buttons for punch and kicks alone, not counting additional motions (any of the 8 directions, quarter-circles, dragon punch motions, charge motions). You only have left, right, jump, attack, special 1 and special 2. That’s it.

But there’s a layer of complexity in the simplicity. For example, in the Playstaion Blog post Sirlin discussed about how Fantasy Strike’s throw system works. Instead of “tech-ing” a throw by doing the throw command quick enough when you see the opponent try to throw you, you just press nothing to execute what is called a “yomi counter”. It’s easy, but as the name implies, it adds to the mind games to advanced players, while still useful to punish defensive players who always block. Purposely pressing nothing is harder than it looks at a high level of play, but even casual players can get to see it happening in their games as well.

This is not the first time a fighting game is addressing the issue of complex inputs being the barrier of entry for fighting games. Iron Galaxy, the studio now in charge of the new Killer Instinct, took a jab at it as a joke/satire in Divekick. But a more serious take of this was Rising Thunder. It was developed by Radiant Entertainment, a studio with a rich fighting game background just as Sirlin. Unfortunately the free-to-play brawler with one button specials was cancelled after Riot Games, of League Of Legends fame, bought the studio.

Check out the trailer below:

Frankly, it’s still looking a bit rough. Some of the art are even placeholders, hence the Pre-Alpha tag on the main image above. It’s currently seeking funding on Patreon, and a playable build will be available at Sony’s Playstation Experience event this December, while anyone that contributes to Patreon can have the access to it now on PC.

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