Rising Thunder is a Free-to-Play 2D Fighting Game for PC by Radiant Entertainment, a studio created by Evolution Championship Series co-founders Tom "inkblot" Cannon and Tony "Ponder" Cannon. Street Fighter champion and former Special Adviser for Street Fighter at Capcom, Seth "S-Kill" Killian is involved in its design. In it, players battle each other with Humongous Mecha of varying shapes and styles with pilots from different countries.
Although largely a traditional fighting game, the game is meant to reach a wider audience than usual through a few unique factors:
- Heavy focus on online play: The UI and at least one character's abilities are designed for each user having a screen. Ranked online matches were the first type available. To facilitate the precision and consistency expected of a competitive fighting game, the game's netcode uses the "roll-back" based latency-compensation software GGPO, which was developed by Tom Cannon himself. GGPO has been previously licensed for games including Skullgirls, Lethal League, and Divekick and similar technology has been used in the netcode for Killer Instinct (2013).
- Simplified command inputs: Instead of having to memorize several command inputs for each character, the same four dedicated buttons control each character's three cooldown-limited "special" moves (labeled alpha, beta, and gamma) and one meter-limited "overdrive". This is meant to remove the first barrier people experience in learning to play fighting games while retaining the intricate combo system and prediction-based metagame the genre is famous for. It also meant to let the keyboard function on par with a joystick.
- Free-to-play business model: The game is planned to be available to play for free with support from in-game micro-transactions. Killian maintains that all in-game assets acquirable with real life money will be cosmetic, believing that will be enough if people are dedicated to playing the game very often.
The game entered a "Technical Alpha" on July 28th 2015. It includes six fighters (Dauntless, Chel, Crow, Talos, Vlad, and Edge), a training mode, and ranked online matches. People apply to enter at the game's website, with some users being given codes to allow others immediate access. However, the game never made it out of Alpha: after being bought by Riot Games, Radiant Entertainment announced its permanently closing on March 18, 2016 to work on other projects. However, in January 2018 they released an open-source "Community Edition", with basic support for local multiplayer and a player-run servers, so interested players would be able to return to the game in perpetuity.
- Archetypal Character: As the game is meant to be a sort of Gateway Series for fighting games, most of the initial characters stay close to established fighting game archetypes in terms of gameplay.
- Dauntless and Edge are both rushdown characters. They have several abilities covering a lot of ground and attack at the same time.
- Chel is a very traditional Shotoclone. She has a forward-traveling projectile that's good for zoning, a Shoryuken, and an advancing Hurricane Kick.
- Crow is a mixup character. His arcing projectile lets him attack from strange angles and he can make himself briefly invisible to the opponent to obfuscate his attack.
- Talos is a grappler. Several of his moves are grapples, pull enemies toward him, and/or making him Immune to Flinching from one attack.
- Vlad is also a Shotoclone, but with a focus on aerial combat: he also has a forward-traveling projectile and a Shoryuken, but also the ability to fly a short distance with a jet pack whose fuel recharges over time.
- Combo Breaker: Deploying a Kinetic Deflect in the middle of an enemy combo (though not an overdrive) causes your character to deploy a Beehive Barrier that breaks the combo by knocking the opponent back a the cost of one bar of Kinetic meter. Choosing to equip Kinetic Deflect over Kinetic Advance means choosing defense against an enemy's combo over making your own combos better.
- Cooldown: Special moves have a cooldown to prevent them from being spammed recklessly, as indicated by the timer on the alpha, beta, and gamma symbols in the corner of the screen. Typically this is in the range of 3-8 seconds, though some are even longer—Crow's Dancing Wind has a 15 second cooldown. Once cooldown is complete, a noise is made to notify you, with each slot making a different chime. Certain actions will override cooldown and make the attack instantly available again, for instance Chel's Night Sun immediately becomes usable again if it hits or is blocked instead of dodged.
- Easter Egg: If Dauntless follows Beatdown up with Cold Drill and lands it, Sam laughs briefly.
- The Faceless: For now, none of the pilots have any sort of visual representation, which cause some people to mistake the voices to be from the robots themselves.
- Grapple Move: Every character has at least one grapple; Talos has several, and Chel has an air-grab. As with special and overdrive, there is a single button just for a grapple.
- Humongous Mecha: It can be hard to tell the mech's sizes, but they're similar in size to the helicopter and fighter jet in the background of the alpha stage.
- Immune to Flinching: Some attacks, mostly from Dauntless or Talos, allow the user to take a single attack without being interrupted for their duration. When this happens, the character will glow blue.
- Invulnerable Attack: Backdashes and a few attacks negate all damage for a very brief period, as indicated by the character getting a yellow glow.
- Lag Cancel: Kinetic Advance lets a dash cancel the delay after an attack at the cost of one bar of Kinetic meter. Choosing to equip Kinetic Attack over Kinetic Deflect means choosing to lengthen and otherwise improve your combos at the cost of being more vulnerable to your opponent's combos.
- Limited Move Arsenal: A character chooses a loadout for the match consisting of three special moves, an overdrive, and a Kinetic Ability (Kinetic Deflect or Kinetic Advance), though few special moves and none of the overdrives have alternatives as of the Technical Alpha. Loadout is fixed between rounds, but can be changed between games.
- No Plot? No Problem!: As of the Technical Alpha, the game and all the characters lack any explanation or backstory whatsoever. Emphasis on it being a Technical Alpha.
- Poirot Speak: Unlike the majority of Fighting Game with international casts, the characters do NOT speak the developer's language with a few words of Gratuitous Foreign Language. Everyone speaks sentences entirely in English or their native language.
- Some Dexterity Required: One of the main ideas of the game is to avoid complicated inputs so players can immediately focus on other techniques. At most a single action will require pressing two buttons simultaneously (jumping forward or backward, turning a forward jumping attack into a cross up by pressing down, changing some of the normals by pressing forward, activating Kinetic Deflect) or double-tapping one button (dashing/running forward or back or activating Kinetic Advance).
- The Smurfette Principle: Looking at the robots, you would think just Chel('s pilot) is the only female, though this isn't quite true—despite Dauntless's masculine-appearance, it has a female pilot.
- Three Round Deathmatch: A standard Ranked match is best of three games, each of which is the best of three rounds.