ARIKA's last original arcade fighter was Fighting Layer in 1998 and their last console fighting game was Street Fighter EX 3 in 2000. They did have a hand in developing other fighting games for consoles and handhelds but none featuring their own IP. Something was different about the most recent April Fool's. The demo was so well done that many speculated that the studio was actually working on a new fighting game. This was proven to be true a few months later when they released a longer trailer during the EVO tournament. This trailer included more returning Street Fighter EX characters and even a hint to the story mode. At the end we learned many things.
The game was a Playstation 4 exclusive. There will be a beta / online test by the end of 2017. The studio hoped to have a full release by April Fools Day 2018. The game did not have an official title yet but I certainly hope they considered FLEX. The extended trailer gave audiences the first glimpse of a couple of classic characters. The first one revealed was a personal favorite and one that had a cult-like following in the fighting game community. Skullomania was definitely a character out of left field. The salary-man-turned-circus acrobat-turned-superhero had a unique design. He looked and moved unlike any other character before or since. His assortment of diving and tumbling moves was fresh. The character was so far beyond the definition of a martial arts master that he was very much like what Blanka or Dhalsim were to the Street Fighter II lineup.
The other big reveal was Darun Mister. The wrestler in the series was on par with Zangief and I believe he had a better overall design than the Russian. In the EX series Darun was the bodyguard of the globe-trotting Pullum Purna. The Indian Darun and Saudi Pullum were a colorful addition to the lineup. In this latest update Darun had left his job as a bodyguard after the god of Indian wrestling spoke to him in a dream. He flew to Japan to fight the strongest opponent he could. Garuda the demon beat him severely and left him for dead. Darun recovered and now wants revenge. The redesigned Darun, along with the updated designs for the rest of the cast look amazing.
More characters were expected to be revealed throughout the summer. The developments in the story were tremendous. There was much more drama this time around and for a few characters there was a lot more at stake. We'll explore these in the next blog. As always if you enjoyed this blog and would like to sponsor me please visit my Patreon page and consider donating each month, even as little as $1 would help make better blogs and even podcasts!