Skullgirls, the popular stylized 2D fighting game published by Autumn Games, is hopefully getting some fresh downloadable content (DLC); but only if fans can come to the developers aid. Due to ongoing legal troubles, Autumn Games is not currently providing developer Lab Zero Games with any funds at all, effectively halting development of any potential DLC. As a result, Mike Z and Peter “Ravidrath” Bartholow of Lab Zero spoke during this past week’s “Salty Cupcakes” (basically a mini tournament) live stream on Twitch to discuss their plans for crowdfunding their development of future DLC.
The bad news? All in all, the studio will need at least $150,000 just to complete the first character, Squigly, who was first revealed during the EVO donation drive that resulted in Skullgirls getting its own side tournament outside of this year’s upcoming EVO 2013 competition. Here is some footage of Squigly in action:
In addition to completing work on Squigly, the developers intend on creating as much DLC as the crowdfunding will allow. Skullheart forum user vadsamoht transcribed the details of what was mentioned. The following is taken directly from that post:
- The drive is scheduled to start on February 25th
- Mike clarified in the comments that the amount is $150,000.
- The Stretch goals will be hidden in a silhouette that will progressively get revealed as the milestone is closer to be broken.
- It was previously mentioned that the first stretch goal beyond Squigly would be a male DLC character. On the stream Peter gave a rough outline of the main goals:
- Squigly story mode plus additional stage
- Male character
- Male character story plus second additional stage
- Third character to be chosen by popular vote
- Third character story plus additional stage
- Once the Squigly amount is met, production on her can begin immediately, regardless if the crowd funding period has finished or not.
- Update: If the milestones are reached for new stages to be created, Michiru Yamane agreed to compose NEW music for the stages.
- Squigly auditions have finished, they just need to choose the final voice.
- Mike then countered this announcement later in the stream by saying interested voice actors could email Lab Zero and ask for an audition script.
- Number 13’s favorite LeDuc was confirmed to not be the first male character.
- Peter mentioned that he thought Stanley Whitefin and Panzerfaust would be strong contenders for the vote, but there were many characters not yet seen that people could get excited about.
- Peter was asked about Bloody Marie’s potential inclusion as she is already in Skullgirls as a boss character. He explained that she only has around 100 of the average 1500 frames of animation and only 5 or so of the 100+ lines of dialogue required for a playable character, so she is no easier to make than anyone else.
- It was also reconfirmed that Squigly would be free to download for a limited period for everyone if the crowd funding is successful and not just those that contributed.
- MikeZ signed off on the subject by mentioning that if the crowd funding is not successful it would effectively halt development on Skullgirls as they would have no funding from either their publisher or the players.
- Finally, eightysixed will be contributing to the fund. 50% of sales of their Salty Cupcakes pins and $10 from each t-shirt sale will go towards Squigly.
Thanks to Shoryuken, we also have an additional detail: Squigly will be free to download across all platforms for the first three months after release. No word was given on pricing for Squigly and subsequent DLC characters after her free-download period had ended.
In regards to the upcoming PC version of Skullgirls, Mike Z and Bartholow answered some fan questions and offered these brief updates:
- Skullgirls is not terribly system-intensive and should run on most modern PCs. As an example Peter said it would likely run on a ’09 Macbook Pro and that he definitely can run it at 60FPS under Parallels on his ’11 Macbook Pro.
- Mike later mentioned that the game runs well on his ‘toaster’ with a ATI Radeon 5650. He also mentioned the game is capable of running at over 1200 FPS unrendered on the PS3 and 360.
- Peter mentioned they were looking into porting Skullgirls to DirectX 11.
- The PC version will have lobbies.
- Online Training Mode and Replay Recording are hoped to be included, but Peter could not guarantee as he not involved in the development schedule.
- Crossplatform play is not on the cards as Steamworks, the technology which enables it, is not an approved middleware.
As a final thought, Bartholow mentioned that Autumn Games was still interested in the Skullgirls brand and, pending the outcome of their legal predicament, would be interested in publishing a Skullgirls 2.
So just to recap, the team needs $150,000 to complete Squigly, and then will begin working on further DLC as stretch goals are surpassed. Additionally, if funded, Squigly will be free to download across all platforms for a limited time. The PC version is coming along on schedule and should run on most relevant setups without any difficulty; and if all goes well for Autumn Games, there could be a potential sequel on the horizon.
I think Skullgirls is a wonderful game, and given the fiercely loyal support the fanbase has shown through the EVO donations a couple weeks ago, it has a legitimate shot of reaching the funding goal it’s looking for. On the other hand, many of those loyal fans just finished donating during EVO’s breast cancer drive in support of Skullgirls, and may not have the resources and ability to donate yet again. It’s a rough situation for both the fans and Lab Zero, but hopefully everyone wins out in the end. Skullgirls is one of those rare titles that was so obviously developed with all the TLC the developers could muster, and given the high quality results and critical/fan reception, it’s one of those underdog stories you can’t help but root for.
Do you guys believe that Skullgirls can reach its funding target in time? What about the stretch goals, or is that simply asking for too much? If you’re looking to toss your two cents somewhere, you may as well throw ‘em into the comments section.