Skullgirls cover art
Lab Zero Games
Marvelous AQL (PC)
|Director(s)||Alex Ahad (creative director)
Cristina Vee (voice over director)
|Designer(s)||Mike Zaimont (project lead)
|Artist(s)||Alex Ahad (art lead)
Mariel Cartwright (animation lead)
Jonathan Kim (senior animator)
Bahi JD (animator)
Richard Suh (lead cleanup)
Brian Jun (artist)
Tyson Hesse (keyframe character animator)
|Release date(s)||PlayStation Network
NA April 10, 2012
EU May 2, 2012
AU May 2, 2012
JP February 14, 2013
Xbox Live Arcade
April 11, 2012
June 2013 (beta release)
July 2013 (official release)
|Arcade system||Taito Type X2|
Skullgirls is a downloadable 2D fighting game developed by Reverge Labs and co-published by Autumn Games and Konami. The game was released on the PlayStation Network in North America on April 10, 2012 and the Xbox Live Arcade on April 11, 2012. Europe and Australia received the PlayStation Network version on May 2, 2012. The game was later released in Japan on the PlayStation Network on February 14, 2013. A Microsoft Windows version of Skullgirls is scheduled for release sometime in July 2013. A Linux port is also reportedly in the works. A Japanese arcade release for the game for the game has been confirmed as well. 
Skullgirls is a fighting game that can be played using different ratios of characters, with each player able to have up to three fighters on their team. These teams are balanced by their numbers. For example, single-player teams possess more health and deal more damage, while larger teams gain the ability to perform character assists and recover health when tagged out. Players can customize their character assist attacks, as well as perform super moves by charging their special meter with offensive attacks. The game has various unique systems, such as infinite detection which gives players the chance to break out of a loop combo, easier inputs for more complex actions, and protection against high and low unblockable attacks. The game also features online play using the GGPO netcode.
Set in the fictional Canopy Kingdom, the story of Skullgirls focuses on several people fighting for the opportunity to control the mysterious Skull Heart, an artifact with the ability to grant a young woman's wishes. If a woman with an impure soul attempts to use the Heart, her wish will be corrupted and she will be transformed into the next Skullgirl, a monstrous entity with immense power that haunts humanity.
The Skullgirls roster consists of eight playable female characters. Each character sprite has approximately 1,400 hand-drawn frames of animation, the most amount of frames per character in any fighting game. Every character has ten alternate color palettes, some of which must be unlocked. An additional five downloadable characters are planned, including the game's first playable male characters and two voter-selected characters.
- Filia (Voiced by: Christine Marie Cabanos), an amnesiac schoolgirl who possesses a symbiote parasite on her head named Samson (Voiced by: Del Stetson).
- Cerebella (Voiced by: Cristina Vee), an orphaned circus performer working for the mafia who wears a living hat, Vice-Versa, which possesses large, powerful muscles.
- Peacock (Voiced by: Sarah Williams), a mutilated war orphan who was rebuilt with powerful weaponry by the Anti-Skullgirl Labs. Her damaged psyche and love of cartoons lend to her arsenal of reality-defying attacks.
- Parasoul (Voiced by: Erin Fitzgerald), the princess of the Canopy Kingdom and the leader of its elite military squad, the Black Egrets. Her mother was once a Skullgirl that nearly destroyed the world.
- Ms. Fortune (Voiced by: Kimlinh Tran), the sole survivor of the thieving Fishbone Gang. She swallowed the mystical Life Gem that allows her to keep living even when chopped into pieces.
- Painwheel (Voiced by: Danielle McRae), a normal schoolgirl who was kidnapped by Valentine and infused with parasites and experimental Skullgirl blood, turning her into a monster.
- Valentine (Voiced by: Laura Post), the sole survivor of the Last Hope, a group of special Anti-Skullgirl Lab operatives. After the Last Hope was eliminated, Valentine is forced to work for Marie and Double.
- Double (Voiced by: Charlotte Ann), a formless monster that can imitate the moves of other fighters. It often disguises itself as a nun.
- Bloody Marie (Voiced by: Kira Buckland), the Skullgirl, current wielder of the Skull Heart. She appears as the final boss of the game; however, she is not playable.
- Squigly (Voiced by: Lauren Landa), an undead opera singer who was brought back to life by the parasite Leviathan (Voiced by: Liam O'Brien). She is the first forthcoming DLC character.
- Big Band (Voiced by: Rich Brown), a police officer who, after his corrupt unit left him for dead, received an experimental saxophone-like iron lung from the Anti-Skullgirl Labs. He is the second forthcoming DLC character.
- Eliza, an Egyptian-themed celebrity diva who was blackmailed into working for the mafia. She is the host of the parasite Sekhmet, which can manifest itself in the pools of blood she leaves in battle. Selected by fan vote, she is the third forthcoming DLC character.
- Beowulf, a retired professional wrestler who wields a folding chair called "The Hurting". Selected by fan vote, he is the fourth forthcoming DLC character.
- Robo-Fortune (Voiced by: Kimlinh Tran), a robotic version of Ms. Fortune. Originally based on an alternate voice pack added by Tran, she is the fifth forthcoming DLC character.
Skullgirls began its life as two separate projects. Tournament fighter Mike "Mike Z" Zaimont had begun working on a fighting game engine, while Alex Ahad had begun working on a world, story and characters for a fighting game. Some years later, mutual friends introduced them to one another, and their two personal projects were merged into Skullgirls. Zaimont, a tournament-level fighting game enthusiast, teamed up with Richard Wyckoff and Emil Dotchevski, the founders of Reverge Labs, to bring Skullgirls to home consoles. A PC version has been announced for release in mid-2013 and will be published by Marvelous AQL. The PC port is planned to have several improvements over the console version, including "expanded multiplayer functionality such as lobbies." The developers originally planned to implement cross-platform play between the PC and PlayStation Network versions, a few months following the PC version's release. However, they later found out that they would be unable to use Steam as a go-between and were forced to drop the idea.
After the game's release, Reverge Labs laid off "the entire" Skullgirls development team for unknown reasons. However, after roughly five months of silence, the team revealed they had started their own studio, Lab Zero Games, to continue development on the PC port, future patches, and downloadable content. This was only possible as the IP rights fully rested with the original publishers, Autumn Games, who are "fully behind the new studio".
On February 25, 2013, Lab Zero Games set up an Indiegogo page for Skullgirls, in an effort to raise $150,000 (USD) for the development of the game's first DLC character, Squigly. Contributors received various rewards, including desktop wallpapers, the game's soundtrack, a Steam key when the game is ported to PC, Steam keys of another Marvelous AQL title, Half Minute Hero, ringtones from the voice actresses of the game, and the chance to add a background character to the game, among others. The campaign reached its initial goal in less than 24 hours, while the stretch goal of a second DLC character, Big Band, secured funding in just over 2 weeks. A third DLC character, determined by fan vote, was funded during the final two days, along with a playable robotic version of Ms. Fortune, named Robo-Fortune. With minutes left before the end of the drive, the last stretch goal was met, securing funding for another fan-selected DLC character. The Indiegogo campaign had raised nearly $830,000 of its original $150,000 goal. Several alternate character and announcer voice packs were also funded. All downloadable characters and voice packs will be free to download within the first three months of their release.
Reverge Labs has announced that the game's music will consist of original compositions by Michiru Yamane, who is perhaps most well known for her work on Konami's Castlevania series. The soundtrack was released on April 21, 2012 on iTunes containing 28 songs from the game, the genre for the soundtrack is best described as jazz and electronic. A new soundtrack will eventually be released, which will contain additional songs composed for DLC stages.
|Skullgirls (Original Soundtrack) tracklist|
|2.||"The Legend of the Skull Heart"||1:36|
|4.||"Pick of the Litter"||3:18|
|5.||"In Rapid Succession"||2:24|
|7.||"Whiling the Hours Away"||1:40|
|8.||"Them's Fightin' Words"||0:52|
|9.||"The Fish Man's Dance"||6:16|
|10.||"An Uncertain Fate"||1:10|
|11.||"The Seat of Power"||6:16|
|12.||"Shenanigans and Goings-Ons"||1:33|
|13.||"Paved With Good Intentions"||6:15|
|15.||"A Roll of the Dice"||0:51|
|16.||"The Lives We Left Behind"||6:14|
|17.||"Fugue in Three Goddesses"||1:22|
|18.||"Dirge of the Divine Trinity"||6:27|
|19.||"The Catacombs Below"||0:17|
|21.||"Her True Power Revealed"||0:14|
|22.||"Skull Heart Arrhythmia"||6:13|
|24.||"A Return to Normalcy"||2:08|
|25.||"In a Moment's Time"||4:28|
|26.||"Learning One's Craft"||6:12|
|27.||"The Lives We Tried to Reclaim"||1:44|
|28.||"Hitomi No Kioku (Bonus Track)"||4:28|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||7/10|
|Official Xbox Magazine (UK)||8/10|
IGN gave the game a score of 8.5 and an Editor's Choice award. The reviewer praised the game's gameplay, presentation and online functionality, though criticized a lack of modes and somewhat sub-par AI in the Arcade mode. Dan Ryckert of Gameinformer scored the game an 8.0, claiming Skullgirls to be a "beautifully animated game" with a fairly high replay value. The Xbox 360 version of Skullgirls currently holds an 77/100 on metacritic, while the PlayStation 3 version holds an 81/100.
Skullgirls won Best Fighting Game awards at the 2011 E3 conference from VG Chartz, Bitbag, and Ripten, and additionally received Best Fighting Game nominations from IGN, 1UP, and the Official E3 Game Critics Awards.
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