Ubisoft have just published a developers blog featuring Ubisoft’s Communication Manager Gary Steinman’s interview with developer Daoka’s Executive Producer Luc Verdier that has lots of new details about their upcoming motion-controlled Kinect 2 fighting game Fighter Within which will be a launch game for Xbox One:
The Sweat, Swagger and Sweet Science of Fighter Within
My arms are sore. It’s a day later, and I’ve apparently awoken some long-dormant muscles thanks to my recent session duking it out with my co-worker Anne Lewis. This is not to say Fighter Within is a workout; you can, in fact, play it efficiently without breaking too much of a sweat. But it’s also great fun to stand in front of the Xbox One’s next-gen Kinect and kick and punch like a madman, flailing about en route to an (admittedly) inefficient but riotous victory. Just be warned: You will have grand time, and – if you’re like me – you might have some aching muscles as a battle trophy. After catching my breath and mopping my brow, I pulled aside my gameplay coach and Executive Producer Luc Verdier from developer Daoka for a ringside chat about Fighter Within.
What would you say if I said I’m surprised by how much fun this is?
It’s not really a surprise to me! Each time we’ve tested the game, the players have reacted very positively. I think the game is accessible enough to enable anybody to have a great time when they first try it. At first they have fun because their gestures are recognized and it’s fun to just pound your friends. Then they discover there are possible strategies and they have even more fun because it opens up.
Now, you may not think so from looking at this finely tuned physique*, but… I’m not in the greatest shape. How is this accessible for people of all fitness levels?
If you’re playing intensely, you’ll feel it – but the game is not designed to require a lot of movement and a lot of energy. People can really play at their own pace. A defensive player will never throw dozens of punches. They’ll guard, which is very easy, and then counter. It’s a smart way to take the enemy down. An offensive player can punch like crazy and use a lot of energy and sweat a lot. An offensive player will go through a workout, but the smarter offensive player will just exploit what the other is doing. It’s like in a real fight.
The interesting thing with this game is that it really puts you in the shoes of a fighter. We had a lot of consultants on this game and I, myself, am a martial artist. We recognize fighting situations within the game. Of course nobody is actually going to be hurt. But you have the sensation of a real fight.
*Editor’s Note: Gary’s physique is not, in fact, finely tuned.
What are some of the different fighting styles in the game?
We have 12 characters and each has his or her own style. We’ve got karate, jiu-jitsu, kick-boxing, capoeira –
Wait. How do you do capoeira with motion controls?
It’s easy. It’s always the same gesture to trigger the special moves, which are specific to each martial art. We aren’t asking people to do anything fancy. They just have to raise their arms to do a backflip or they have to duck to trigger something else. It’s always the same movement to trigger things, but the effects and what your avatar is doing is different per character. Also, each character has his or her own characteristics. Some are more agile so they inflict more damage when they do a counter. Some characters are heavyweights, so they so they do more damage when they punch. With each character there’s a different way to play and you can choose the one that suits you best.
We got to try out three different characters today. Tell us a bit more about this each of them…
Chayan is a Muay Thai champion and he’s very traditional. He’s very focused and calm all the time. He’s very sure of his victory. He’s a traditional guy, quite typical of Japanese videogames. He’s the traditional fighter.
Then we have Vân. She is half Vietnamese and half Chinese, and she’s practicing Viet Vo Dao and Karate. She’s very agile, so she has a preference for counters and jump kicks. She’s a teenager so she has fun when she fights.
Next is Vince. He’s an English bartender and he’s practicing kickboxing. That means his kicks are more effective.
Each character has his or her own characteristics and special abilities. There is an old master who charges his chi faster than the others. Each character has his or her own special ability, power and preference so when you learn the different characters you’ll be more effective when you’re fighting with them or against them. It’s easier to take your opponents down when you know them.
What are some of your own personal favorite techniques?
I like to play more defensively because I think it’s fun. I like to grab and throw and do counters. It’s less demanding and you really feel like you’re humiliating your opponent – which isn’t kind but most of the time the fun in fighting games comes from impressing your friends and earning your bragging rights. It’s a bit silly, I admit, but it’s fun and rewarding. Another thing I like is doing a “swap” when I get close to the arena border. I just move backward until I get to the border and then I do a gesture when my chi is loaded to exchange positions with my opponent. So they are now very close to the border and I just have to push him and I win. That’s my favorite technique, but there are dozens of techniques in the game.
So you can use the environment to your advantage?
Yes. There are three different layers to the game. There’s core combat, when you get close and exchange blows. There are special moves you can use when you charge your chi. The third layer is your surroundings. You can use poles to trigger a special attack. You can climb on the pole and do a jumping punch. You can also turn around on the pole to deliver a devastating kick. There are sticks you can grab too. That’s the main stuff. There are a few destructible elements in the background that you can use. You push your opponent into these elements and they collapse and inflict big damage. Of course, knocking your opponent over the edge of the arena is one of the main objectives.
Is this a sequel to Fighters Uncaged?
No. These two games have different gameplay, scope and technologies. There is no continuity or connection between the two games. However, many of the team at Doaka came from core team at AMA Studio. These are guys who know the Kinect very well and have applied their talents to ensuring Fighter Within is a unique, full-featured and groundbreaking Xbox One launch title that takes full advantage of the next-gen Kinect.
How long have you been working on Fighter Within?
We’ve been working for two years on the game, and we were amazed at how Kinect 2 improved in comparison to Kinect 1. It really enabled us to deliver a great experience to players and accurately track the players in front of the Kinect. This is a perfect game for anyone who likes fighting games, a bit of workout, and having fun with his or her friends.
Ubisoft have also released character profiles for 3 of the fighters:
Chayan AKA “The Dragon”
Vincent Taylor AKA Vince
Source: Ubisoft Blog
Thanks to 123KINECT visitor dirtyvu for submitting this news!