Yesterday, Los Angeles-based developer Lab Zero Games announced that they are bringing their hit fighting game Skullgirls 2nd Encore to Steam next week.
— Skullgirls (@Skullgirls) April 8, 2016
In fact, the game is already in the Steam Store. 2nd Encore features a score of delightful improvements to the independently produced fighting game, including new game modes, new trials, and a fully voiced story mode. In addition, all of the game’s DLC characters (Squigly, Big Band, Eliza, Beowulf and Robo-Fortune), stages, and character colors are included in 2nd Encore.
This version of Skullgirls can be seen as the ‘definitive’ version of the game, and is the go-to purchase for anyone looking to dip their feet into one of the crowdfunding scene’s most successful projects – as well as one of its most persevering survivors.
A more detailed list of 2nd Encore’s features can be found here.
The first iteration of Skullgirls released in 2012 under Lab Zero’s previous incarnation, Reverge Labs. The game’s primordial origins can be traced back to a collection of character designs that lead artist Alex Ahad had created in high school and college; he envisioned these characters populating a fighting game. He would later meet fighting game enthusiast and community member Michael “Mike Z” Zaimont, who had been developing his own fighting game engine at the time. The two teamed up and began working on what would later become Skullgirls in 2008.
After the game released in 2012, Reverge began teasing future content for Skullgirls, such as new characters and new stages. These plans would fall through, however, when Skullgirls’ publisher, Autumn Games, lost its funding power due to a series of lawsuits regarding Def Jam Rapstar. Reverge Labs then laid off the entire Skullgirls team, who would regroup under the name Lab Zero.
Despite Autumn Games’ commitment to continue supporting the Skullgirls team, the continued lawsuits prevented them from providing Lab Zero any funding. In response, Lab Zero then turned to its fans by launching an Indiegogo campaign in an effort to raise $150,000 for the development of the game’s first DLC character, Squigly. The campaign turned out to be an overwhelming success: by its conclusion, Skullgirls had raised nearly $830,000. This breaking of crowdfunding barriers lead to additional features for Skullgirls, such as the creation of even more characters and alternate voice packs.
The rocky road wasn’t over yet for Lab Zero. In 2013, Lab Zero had announced that Autumn Games had severed ties with Konami due to the latter’s purported unresponsiveness when it came to approving patches for console versions of the game. Konami then demanded Lab Zero remove Skullgirls from the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. In response, Lab Zero partnered with two new publishers, Marvelous and CyberFront, and re-released an updated version of Skullgirls called Skullgirls Encore in December 2013.
2nd Encore would later release in 2015, but only on PlayStation 3 and 4. Fans of the game have been asking for a Steam version of 2nd Encore since late last year, but until yesterday, no word had been given on the matter.
As can be seen, Lab Zero is no stranger to the trials independent game developers must undergo to make the projects they love making. Crowdfunding is a familiar realm for the studio as well; its latest project, Indivisible, is currently in development after completing a highly successful Indiegogo campaign.
Skullgirls 2nd Encore will release on Steam on April 13, 2016. You can find its Steam Store page here.