Rivals of Aether has been one of the more popular platform fighters since its release in 2017. And now Aether Studios announced that it is getting a sequel. Rivals 2 is slated for 2024 and will release on “as many platforms” as possible.
Aether Studios revealed the new game in its Rivals Direct 4 where it also unveiled the turn-based dungeon crawler Dungeons of Aether. The Rivals 2 trailer mostly showed the game in action, debuting a completely different art style and a few familiar characters: Zetterburn, Ranno, and Wrastor. Aether Studios said its goal is to “create [its] dream fighting game by taking [its] successes from Rivals of Aether and expanding on the formula in all the right ways.”
The game’s website had more about the game, even though a lot of it is still covered in mystery. Aether Studios isn’t sure if it will be free-to-play this time around, but is “researching every possible business model.” The studio is also planning to have a beta sometime in 2023. However, don’t expect mod support at launch since it probably won’t come until sometime after.
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As for the game itself, Aether Studios is going to try to make it a better single-player experience while also still catering to (and prioritizing) the competitive scene that has kept it alive. The team also spoke to adding shields, which were infamously not in the first game, and said it helped add a bit familiarity to the sequel, given their presence in the Super Smash Bros. games. Rivals 2 will also now have throws since they counter shields and parries will be a bit slower to balance out the addition of shields. Ledges also fall into the same category as shields and were added to make the game more familiar to Smash players.
The post goes into all sorts of details about its six-frame buffer, getup specials, ledge specials, pummel system, and lack of L-canceling. And while all of it sounds different, Aether Studios ended the post saying that it is “pretty sure” that fans of the first game will also like the sequel. They just have to be patient.
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Rivals of Aether hit Steam Greenlight in 2015 with the aim to be an easier, yet still competitive, platform fighter. Its mechanics are set up in a way to discourage camping and encourage more aggressive play, as seen in its wall jump and parry systems. The title has a cult following and sizeable esports presence, and has even received more than a few new characters, including Ori from Ori and the Blind Forest and Shovel Knight from Shovel Knight. It was previously locked to the PC until 2020 when the Nintendo Switch port came out.