If you grew up on One Must Fall 2097, Rise of the Robots or any fighting games at all, it's hard not to be intrigued by Rising Thunder. And if you've been waiting on the sidelines for your dose of robot punch-ons, I've got good news for you.
Radiant Entertainment, a studio founded by Tom and Tony Cannon — the former of which founded the Evolution Championship Series annual fighting game tournament and the latter responsible for creating the GGPO netcode — has been enjoying some good vibes ever since the technical alpha for Rising Thunder went live a few weeks ago.
It's a PC-only fighter that's designed to break down the traditional barriers that prevent newer players from enjoying fighting games on a deeper level. Special and ultra moves are executed with a single button press, instead of a combination of movements and buttons, while the game runs on the latest version of the GGPO middleware for the best possible online experience.
Alpha invites have been going out in waves over the last couple of weeks to anyone who signed up on the Rising Thunder website, but the doors have since been opened up to everyone.
The change is the result of a successful network test, according to a tweet early this morning from the Rising Thunder Twitter account. "Rising Thunder Alpha is now open to all ... play immediately — no waiting!"
It's worth noting that Seth Killian, a long-serving commentator in the fighting game scene and former Sony Santa Monica developer, is also helping the Cannon brothers with the game.
I've played over 120 games and if you have any passing interest in the genre — especially if you're the kind of player who has wanted to explore fighters more, but have been put off by the mechanical difficulties — I'd strongly recommend checking it out. You don't even need a fighting stick or controller to properly enjoy the experience; it's perfectly playable with a keyboard.