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Seven years ago, the entierty of the world was at war with one another known as the Grand War. Queen Nancy Renoir, ruler of the Canopy Kingdom, found the Skull Heart and wished for peace among the three fighting nations, but with her wish, she was transformed into a great power that threatened the nations. In a newly formed alliance, the three nations came together to defeat Queen Nancy. An uneasy peace was found after her demise.
The "Skull Heart" is the mysterious entity that has the entire world interested. It has the power to grant any wish to a woman. However, if the woman's heart is not completely pure, her wish, whether it is selfless or not, will be granted in the most corrupted and twisted way possible. The wisher, should they be judged impure by the Skull Heart, will be corrupted into the beautiful and nightmarish Skullgirl.
In the present time, the Renoir Family Crown rules the Canopy Kingdom, but the Medici Mafia rules the underground world. Everyone with some power or position is controlled in some way by the Medici family. Vitale is currently in charge while Lorenzo, his father, is missing. Their influence spreads to New Meridian, one of the Canopy Kingdom's well known cities. The family casts its shadow over the city of art, culture, and sophistication.
Underneath everything in the Canopy Kingdom, including the Medici Family, lies the Anti-Skullgirl labs, an institution founded by Dr. Victor Geiger whose sole purpose was to develop methods and powers to completely stop the Skullgirls. Even though they were funded by the Canopian government for a while, the lab was shut down by King Renoir. The lab was ressurected in secret, allowing the scientists to perform extreme and questionable experiments on live subjects and victims.
Story - This mode allows the player to choose a character to follow on an adventure through the game world. They will play a story that is unique to the chosen character. Text-based cutscenes are involved.
Arcade - This mode is considered cIassic. The player chooses a difficulty (easy, medium, hard) and any team variation of their choice. They will fight computer opponents until they reach a boss fight.
All versus matches are 1 versus 1. Versus matches can either take place locally or online. A lobby-based system will be updated in the future after the game's release (See FAQ for additional info).
Tutorials - Tutorial mode teaches the player mechanics that can be taken into other fighting games. Some mechanics involve applying with and defending against mixups and hit confirming. It will also teach certain "bread and butter" combos (combos expected from a certain character) that the player can use to learn their own combos.
Example video on defending against mixups.
Practice Room - The practice room is basically a sparring room. All characters have infinite life and infinite meter. The player can practice against a lifeless dummy or against a difficulty-based CPU. The player can remove the infinite life for normal life so characters can be knocked out.
The practice room shows visual cues of a character's block stun and hit stun timing. This can allow players to learn timing when it comes to their combos as well as learn recovery times for each character. The practice room also lets the player see the different hitboxes, such as the hitbox when the character is in hit stun or block stun or when the character is hurt.
Character Select Screen -
At the character select screen, the players are given options to fit their team or playstyIe.
Character Select Screen
The first choice given to players allows them to choose a team of 1 ultra powered character, 2 mega powered characters, or 3 regular powered characters.
A solo character has maximum life and allows maximum damage output with the cost of having no assists. A solo character is more suited to someone who wants to make sure they deal the most damage with every opportunity they get, or someone not use to the multiple character mechanics in the game.
Dual team and Triple team characters have less life and deal less damage but allows higher combos and better reset options with the inclusion of assists.
If both players choose solo teams, the game will set itself up to a "best two out of three" matchup. If at least one player chooses a larger team, the game will only feature one round.
Ratios of health and damage according to team matchups.
Players can choose colors for their team. The player can see and cycle through the colors before making their decision. Each color or palette is given a button combination so players can immediately choose their skin without cycling through the list again.
Color select option.
Players with 2 or 3 character team has to apply an assist move to each character on their team. Players can either use their pre-set assists or enter in a custom assist attack. When entering the assist move, the attack must be a ground attack and require at least one attack button. Supers can not be a custom assist.
After finalizing everything, a player may choose a stage or keep the stages random. If random is chosen, a new stage will be loaded at the start of every match.
Gameplay Mechanics -
On-the-fly training mode - In the pause menu, the player can change the game from a normal match into a practice room, refilling all of the players life and meter and freezing the timer. They can switch back to a normal match, but the life and meter will not restart to what it was previously.
Competitive pause button - While in a game, in order to pause the game, the player must hold the pause button for 1/4th of a second (or 15 frames) for the game to pause. This is to prevent accidental pausing during a match. When in training mode, the pause button will call the pause menu immediately.
Leader Identifier - During a match, the game will determine who is currently in the lead in terms of life by placing "*Leader*" over the winning player's HUD. The game also keeps score of both players amount of wins for the game. A player with stars around their win count indicats who won the last round.
Assist indicator - A small red and green light near the meter counter tells the player whether they are able to call an assist or not. Green means they are able to and red means they are not able to. Solo characters do not get this option.
Speech control - If a character is set to say a specific phrase or make a noise when they block a move, and they block another move before the initial phrase is finished, they will not start over. This just means that if a character blocks multiple moves in succession, players won't have to hear the same thing repeated phrase in an annoying, choppy fashion.
Infinite Protection System - If a character uses a series of moves that can be looped and used again without dropping the opponent, the game will detect this pattern and give the victim an oppurtunity to "burst" out of the combo by pressing any button. This is to prevent infinites from being a problem in the game. This mechanic can be baited and punished so it is not 100% safe. It's only invincible if the burst hits the opponent. If the player makes the opponent burst and the burst doesn't touch the player, it's not invincible, allowing the player to get a free combo.
Unblockable Protection System - This mechanic protects a player from unblockable setups as long as the defending character blocks the preceding attacks carefully. If a move that hits high hits a player while the player's character is still in block stun from a move that hit low or vice versa, the system will detect the setup and allow the character to block it normally as long as the character blocked the preceding attack correctly. Unblockable setups are something that is seen in many 2D fighter games where the player is not able to do anything but get attacked no matter how well they block.
Video Primer covering IPS and UPS.