Tim, thanks for correcting me where I was flat-out wrong, and Wood, thanks for your reasoned, measured response. You know your shit when it comes to fighting games and I respect your opinion. You've certainly got me on the fact that Konami has far more embarrassing skeletons in their closet
And let me reiterate that we are in total agreement that a new fighting game IP, especially one with a mechanical foundation as impressive as Skullgirls', is a good thing for everyone. Nor do I doubt the tremendous effort and love that has gone into the game's production. But I think a lot of that love has come from a place in their hearts that I just don't share
As you point out, the character designs are pastiches from various sources of inspiration. Pastiche can be a risky tool for an artist: at best, it engenders a special kinship between those that recognize and appreciate the subtle commentary on the source material, but at worst, it can come off as alienating or even derivative. I'm not saying that deliberate homage is always bad, or that I've never been guilty of indulging in it in my own work; hell, I do it all the time!
But from where I'm standing, regardless of their intent, I think it's reading as derivative.
And I certainly can't deny the amount of care this team put into the game's mechanics. But I'd say that the game's anti-loop system is a very creative solution to a very technical
problem. I think it's fair to say that Revenge Labs' goal with Skullgirls was to make a fighting game that addresses many of the problems they encountered in high-level tournament play. Though obviously not mutually exclusive, that is a very different starting point, creatively, from the goal of making an entertaining video game. This is not to say that every fighting game since Street Fighter II has been creatively bankrupt, far from it, but by way of example, there was no blueprint for SFII to follow. Its designers merely set out to make a competitive game so fun and exciting that people wouldn't stop dropping quarters into it. They followed their guts, balanced it as best as they could, and produced a game that was infinitely more complex than any other cabinet in the arcade, but easy for anyone to pick up and play.
By contrast, Skullgirls feels saddled with 20 years' worth of fighting game arcana, systems built upon systems, built upon counter-systems to correct for flaws in the systems of the generation of fighting games immediately preceding, ad infinitum. You may call it homage, but I call it a design philosophy that excludes more gamers than it includes. And this is not Revenge Labs' fault. Personally, I believe that the baggage of 20 years' worth of slow, painful evolution is the biggest problem facing fighting games today. I'm not here to offer a solution; I'm not a game designer, I don't have one. But I don't think Revenge Labs has one with Skullgirls. And before you mention what might be the best tutorial in any fighting game ever, that's not a cure; it's just an admittedly awesome band-aid
Thanks for having a fun argument with me though! I hope you understand that my criticisms of this game aren't meant to imply that "I think this game is shit and I think you're an idiot if you like it." I'm glad you like it! I wish I liked it more
This is just me trying to reason out what could possibly stop me from having fun with a new 2D fighting game that plays a lot like some of my other favorites. I should love it and I totally don't and it's totally driving me a little nuts
EDIT: I've been calling them Revenge Labs, but my eyes are playing tricks on me. They are Reverge
Oh, not in Utica, no...It's an Albany expression.