During the Escape Velocity Event we were able to visit the VGU (Video Gamers United) booth where they had some local indie games showcased. One of the games we were excited about seeing and playing for ourselves was Combat Core. Described as a 3D Arena fighting game, Combat Core blends elements from fighting games such as Power Stone and Smash Brothers with an execution that distinctively sets itself apart from both games. Here are some key features of the game:
- High-Powered Combat from 1v1 to 4 player battle royale or team modes
- Physics-based environment destruction and interactive ragdolls
- Original Characters with fun, unique movesets and strengths
- Combat Cores can boost fighter stats and grant special attacks to fit your play style!
- Local Multiplayer + Online Multiplayer using Exit Game’s Photon Networking Framework
- Interactive Arenas with a variety of mechanics and hazards
- Weapon Pickups ranging from lazer swords to energy grenade launchers, with multiple attacks and uses
- Full Character Editor to create custom fighters with different gear, stats, and skills
- Oculus Rift Compatible – The first fighting game with native Oculus Rift support!
Starting out on this project on his own, Micah Betts has created a game that feels familiar but plays with a uniqueness that still feels fresh. Micah was gracious enough to allow us to ask him a few in depth questions about the game, its development process, and some of his goals:
UE: Being a one man studio, what drove you to start on such an ambitious project?
Micah: Though it started that way, I can’t take completely take credit for being a “one man studio”. I’ve gotten some great help along the way from Robaato (Robert Porter) for character art and game design, Jordan Preston (character modeling), and Chris Niosi (voice casting/script). I am the only one on the project full-time, though, and I did work completely alone for about a year before anyone else was on board.
Combat Core is my first foray as an indie developer, and I wanted to go big. I had been trying to get into the games industry as an animator for years, but was only offered small gigs and when the last studio I worked at closed shop, I decided to have a go on my own. Fighting games are my favorite genre, so I wanted to create a game that encompassed all of the things I loved as a gamer and add my own flavor to create something new.
UE: How long has Combat Core been in development and what has been the biggest challenge in that process so far?
Micah: I started development on Combat Core full-time in Summer 2013, so it’s been around 3 years now. I’m blessed to live with family who support me while I pursue “the dream”, but the challenge of having confidence to deliver on it is always looming. My first Kickstarter in 2014 actually failed badly, but after enlisting the help of some talented people like Robaato and polishing up the game for another year, I was able to get a Kickstarter funded in 2015. It’s a huge boost to have so much support and fans that want to play the game!
UE: There are not many arena style fighting games within a 3D space that incorporate technical fighting principals, was this a core aspect in the game for you?
Micah: I decided on the 3D arena setup as a way to stand out in a fighting game market that has a ton of titles with strong legacies and fanbases. Fighters in a 3D space or that support 4 players have a tendency to be considered “party games”. I wanted the game to be easy to pick up and have fun, but to also have enough combat depth in the game for people who are looking for more. Having several different options for defense (roll, parry, guard), and having a variety of offensive skills with varying mechanics add the combat depth.
UE: Can you explain a little bit of the skill system within the game?
Micah: All characters in the game use the same inputs for various attacks – light attacks, heavy attacks, core attacks, guard, roll, grabs, and parry. However every character also has stats that can effect their move speed, damage, energy, and health. On top of that, you can change your special/core attacks by equipping different cores before each match, which also can boost character stats. Customizing fighters to your playstyle is a huge part of Combat Core!
UE: Combat Core will feature the ability to customize and create a character, will there also be the ability to customize controls?
Micah: Custom characters can mix and match attacks from existing moves from other characters (and some that don’t belong to any character), along with customizing their looks and stats. The character editor is heavily inspired from the old Nintendo 64 AKI wrestling games I used to play constantly. As for button inputs, the game already supports button-remapping on pads and also keyboard/mouse.
UE: Are there any plans on incorporating a player ranking system to the online portion of the game?
Micah: Right now there are no plans for a ranked system. However if the release is successful and many fans are asking for it, I’m always looking to add new features!
UE: Any news on when Combat Core will be available and how much?
Micah: Combat Core will be releasing on Steam Early Access for PC/Mac at the end of July 2016 for $15.99, with a launch week discount. The “complete” release will hopefully be around the end of 2016 or start of 2017.
UE: Are there any plans on releasing the game on consoles?
Micah: I would love to! I’m already in many of the platform indie developer programs, but for now the focus is on completing and polishing the PC version. Once it’s completed, I’ll look into getting the game ported to other platforms.
Combat Core is entering a well traveled path with the arena game genre, and yet is carving its own route as it incorporates technical traits never before utilized. If you are a fan of this genre, you are doing yourself a disservice by not playing this it. We will be watching this game closely as we inch closer to release so be sure to check back with us for a full review. In the meantime please check below for some screenshots and a video of the game in action.