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The use of high-res, hand-drawn art over 3D models was done because the developers simply wanted to, despite the fact it ended up requiring a much higher budget and large team of professional artists and animators. The gorgeous art is never once compromised, with every single character frame looking on-model.
Even after getting laid off, the dev team decided to make some sacrifices and start the crowdfunding to be able to continue growing the game. And for a limited time, offering what they make for free! Production for the game still continues: patches are released frequently, developers talk to the fans, and the artists stream the animations they're creating for the DLC characters.
This even extends to the fandom. When the background characters submitted by high-paying backers were first shown, Mike Z stated that they weren't going to have any animation, since that wasn't in their budget. Several talented fans offered to create animated versions for them, even after Mike explicitly said that Lab Zero couldn't afford to pay them.
When Skullgirls: Encore was released for PlayStation Network, only a handful of consumers who bought the original got their vouchers for the updated version from Sony as they are no longer handing them out. However, this wasn't going to stop Lab Zero Games from getting the vouchers from Sony and hand them out themselves for those that already have the game but not the updated version.
If Peacock is hit at the right time when she fries an ant in her crouching Mid Kick move, you can save it and then watch it run across to the other side of the stage. You can also spare said ant if you play as Peacock by immediately cancelling the move into a special. You can do this in rapid succession to get multiple ants skittering along the stage.
When Cerebella connects with her Lock n' Load attack, there's a .02% chance of a random, poorly-drawn cat skittering across the stage. As detailed on the main page, an animator sketched a cat in one frame but forgot to take it out, and Mike Z said he wanted to keep it in as part of an Easter egg. The rest of the dev team agreed - but only if Mike animated it himself.
"Sax-Q" for Big Band, referencing both his look and the way that Mike Z wants him to fight.
Big Band was nicknamed "Detective Sax" by Japanese fans before they found out anything else about him; in a nod to the way names can change in different localizations of a game, the developers are actually planning to make that his official name in Japan.
One of Parasoul's soldiers is voiced by Kaiji Tang, known to internet denizens as Juicey Flannigan. He provided the English voices of Kenshiro in Hokuto Musou and Lee Chaolan in Tekken: Blood Vengeance. He's also the guy who's voicing Republican Double, giving birth to memes like "REPUBLICAN CAR!"
Because of this trope, it's possible to make a League of Legends team (Cerebella, Painwheel, Valentine, Parasoul, Jinx, Squigly (solely for Leviathannote He is voiced by Liam O'Brien, who voiced Yasuo the Unforgiven)) and Eliza (solely for Sekhmetnote She is voiced by Wendee Lee who voiced Leona the Radiant Dawn)) (not to mention having Trundle note voiced by Tomamoto do the match chatter), a Puella Magi Madoka Magica team (Filia, Cerebella, Peacock, or Squigly), a Dead or Alive Team (Filia, Squigly, Parasoul (solely for her 'troops') and Republican Double), or a BlazBlue team (Cerebella, Squigly, Parasoul and Eliza).
Multiple Endings: It was part of the original premise that all starting characters sans Double got a choice after beating Marie. Only one of those endings made it into the finished product. The scrapped ones are:
Promoted Fanboy: As noted on the trope's page, Skullgirls has several of them on the staff already. But in the case of the game's own fandom there is the message board at Skullheart.com, which has cut a deal with Lab Zero to become the official forum of the game.
Screwed by the Lawyers: In an attempt to avert it, Marvelous AQL required Lab Zero to change the color of any red cross on a white background (to avoid possibly trademark infringement with the Red Cross) when the Japanese release of Encore was coming about. Naturally, this primarily affects Hospital Hottie Valentine, who had the color of her crosses changed to... purplish-pink. The developers have outright said they're not happy with the decision, but they don't have much choice.
After the game's first patch premiered on PSN with a different developer logo on startup, the developers released a statement explaining the long delay: the entire Skullgirls dev team had been laid off by Reverge Labs six months earlier, and had only just finished setting up a new studio (Lab Zero Games) in collaboration with their publisher (still Autumn Games) to continue work on future patches and DLC.
The dev team was laid off due to the massive legal issues that Autumn Games and Konami were involved with due to Def Jam Rapstar, a game that did not effect Skullgirls's development in any possible way.
The team was having some issues with a patch size limit on Xbox; the memory needed for the patch was over 100 times the size of the limit. It eventually came out.
Now, things are getting even worse for Lab Zero: Lab Zero recently decided to legally cut all ties between Skullgirls and Konami so that there wouldn't be major headaches regarding patches for the console versions (other than the Japanese PSN version, which has a different publisher). While this cutting of ties was successful, it led to a major side effect: Konami requested that Skullgirls be delisted from PSN and Xbox Live on the 17th and 31st of December, respectively. Did we mention that L0 was only notified of this secondhand, after it was already approved by Sony? The issue was quickly settled, however, and the game is being re-released (for free to previous owners) as Skullgirls: Encore, transferring publisher rights from Konami to Marvelous AQL (the same publisher as the PC release) and finally getting Squigly out on consoles (along with plans to release any new characters concurrently with the PC release). The move to the Encore edition will also release the game in Japan for Xbox 360, under Marvelous AQL's publisher ownership.
Lab Zero just can't catch a break. Within only a few days of announcing the plans for the Encore edition, the Japanese publisher of the PS3 version (which, up until the Encore release, was the only console version of the game available), CyberFront, was closed by its parent company. Skullgirls, being rather popular in Japan, was scheduled to get an arcade release there through a separate publisher. What this currently means for the future of the game in Japan is uncertain, but NESiCA — the arcade publisher — made a point of featuring Skullgirls Encore in its presentation at JAEPO 2014, including a taped message from Mike Z and Alex Ahad.
After a few months of generally good times (involving the release of Encore on both consoles and Big Band), the problems have started up again: Lab Zero has been forced (by Marvelous AQL) to alter the color of any red cross on a white background that appears in the game (including Valentine's default palette) in an attempt to avoid getting sued by the Red Cross and get the Japanese PSN version of Encore out on time. As noted above, the developers aren't happy with the change.
There's concept art for things like Supermodes◊ and Filia having a bobby-pin sword.
Originally, Umbrella and Squigly were supposed to be part of the initial eight characters, but some technical difficulties and the story need for some villains in roster led to their spots being reassigned to Valentine and Double. Fortunately, they are confirmed to be the first DLC characters — or at least one of them was...
It was mentioned on a few occasions that, originally, the custom assist function would actually be able to register Super Moves. It didn't take them much experimentation to find this was a Game Breaker.
Later, when more Special Moves were being made to be usable as assists for a patch, several moves were added, and then removed due to being "too good". A good example would be Cerebella's Pummel Horse move.
The amount of planned characters for the game was around 36. Unfortunately, the budget problems made it so the other 28 characters would be released later down the line as DLC. See also Troubled Production.
Big Band was supposed to have a robotic voice, but that would take away Rich Brown's smooth voice.
According to a Q&A, it is said that if Skullgirls wasn't going to be a fighting game, it was going to be an RPG or Beat 'em Up.
In a way, Double subverts this: she has several move animations taken from other characters that would have otherwise never even appeared in the game (for example, Bandwagon Rushdown was originally an idea for Peacock's pre-fight intro).
Fukua also somewhat subverts this using data from a 'Zoner' Filia who would later be the basis for Peacock and a 'Grappler' Filia who would later be the basis for Cerebella. She also uses several of Filia's unused animations in her attacks.
Eliza was originally conceived with a gameplay mechanic where whenever she got damaged by the opponent, she would leave pools of blood which can damage the opponent later. Between bumping the ESRB rating from Teen to Mature if this was fully implemented, and the fact that Eliza has a bunch of other mechanics to work with, such as having bodyguard assist characters, Shekmet and even musical mechanics similar to Squigly and Big Band, the blood mechanic has been cut.
While the youngest and by far the shortest playable character in the final game, Peacock's initial character design◊ looked older, was about as tall as Valentine standing up (not counting Peacock's hat), and had a narrower profile because her skirt didn't flare out as much. This may have been done for balance reasons, so she wouldn't have such a ridiculously large hitbox.
The original plan was for the cast sans Double to have 2 possible endings in their story mode, but time and resources constraints scrapped that idea. The script of those scenes can still be found in the game data.
Word of God: An extensive amount of information on the game's world has only been revealed by Alex in streams and the like. For example:
The game takes place in fall (which was implied with the trees in Maplecrest).
In terms of climate, the Canopy Kingdom is based off the northern US and northern California specifically - mostly "whatever looks cool".
Worshipers of the Trinity are called "Trinitists".
The crosses in Valentine's eye designs are a result of drug use in Lab 7. An accident in Lab 7 damaged the bandaged eye to the point of apparent uselessness; Valentine's failure to replace it (which the Labs could do for her) is an aesthetic choice on her part.
The children in Lab 8 are various orphans with conditions that would make them have trouble leading a normal life without the lab's help. One of the reasons they went rogue was so they could do help people in ways besides turning them into weapons.
The No Man's Land is a collection of small countries and territories that fell into chaos when the three kingdoms quickly stopped their war to fight the Skullgirl. Bandits were easily able to acquire military hardware and human trafficking became common. Marie and Peacock are from Rommelgrad, a town in the No Man's Land.
Not all the members of the Cirque de Cartes are aware of the fact it's backed up by the mob; Hubrecht is the most commonly cited example.
Annie's TV show is similar to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: it contains live-action sections in between cartoons, with cartoon counterparts of the live-action hosts.
Some groups face extensive discrimination, such as Ferals like Ms. Fortune and Parasite hosts.