######Government Issued Warning: This post is quite long and wordy. If you want to trudge through it and join the discussion, you are more than welcome to.
Okay, I’m going to preface this post with something I feel is kind of important to get out of the way at the start, so feel free to skip below the dotted line if you’re interested in the discussion below.
So, without further delay: I’m one of those folks who’s never actually wanted Eagle.
Throughout my time being involved with Killer Instinct over the relatively short span of the last 2-3 years since I picked up Season 1, I always detested the idea of Eagle becoming a separate character, for several reasons. a) To me, Fulgore always was Eagle, and b) I always felt it would kinda trivialize both Fulgore and Thunder’s involvement in the story.
However, the events in the Novella, and some serious thinking power, I’ve come to terms with the idea, and it seems very possible that Eagle may be a big part of Killer Instinct’s future. After thinking it over, I’m starting to understand why people would be so excited to see this character, and I can appreciate that the future may be a good time to have him (mostly because now all the classic characters I wanted have made it in).
Alright, now with that out of the way, on to the topic beneath the promised dotted line
Alright, so I’ve done some soul searching throughout the forums, and I could not for the life of me find any really in depth discussion about gameplay for out possible incoming cast member Eagle. I’ve seen a lot of concept art and lore discussions, but not a lot of the part that’s actually important.
The exception to this, of course, has been the inference that he’ll share a style similar to his current in game incarnation -Fulgore- similar to how Shadow Jago builds of of Jago’s playstyle. The other popular inference I’ve heard is that he may also adapt parts of Thunder’s gameplay, as they are blood brothers who were raised together.
So let’s say, for example that Eagle will build his play syle from a combination of Fulgore and Thunder.
Okay, that’s a good starting point. Let’s talk about what that actually means. This would mean that he would be built similarly to the way Shadow Jago was constructed; taking influence from the base character(s) and jumping off in a new direction to make them unique. This means he’ll have to both take almost directly from Fulgore and Thunder, as well as
Let’s break it down into pieces, shall we?
-What would he take from Fulgore? It seems pretty clear that if he’s no longer controlling the military cyborg Fulgore Mk3, a lot of Fulgore’s major tools are going to go away. No plasma bolts, no lasers, no teleport, no dev beam, and definitely not his instinct or unique meter; anything that would require a cybernetically enhanced body cannot carry over to a physical one. However, there are still pieces of Fulgore’s arsenal that can easily transfer over to Eagle. His normals, for example (specifically the spin, the overhead, the sweep, and crouching HP) will likely be very similar to Fulgore’s, since Fulgore’s AI was built on Eagle’s “fighting spirit”, which likely means that the Blade Dash and Cyber Uppercut may return in some fashion. Eagle has been inferred to have use wrist mounted blades or punching daggers by a lot of the community, as well as the old Nintendo Power comic. However, without the addition of rocket skates, I imagine they’ll both have far less range. I also think his grab will be similar in structure to Fulgore’s but it may have a far different utility…
-What would he pull from Thunder? While he probably won’t directly take as many of Thunders tools as he would from…himself… I can still foresee him pulling from Thunder. Like Fulgore, Thunder has a DP, and he can follow it up with different kicks. However, this is a unique part of Thunder that should probably be far more limited if it makes the transfer to Eagle. A lot of Thunder’s kick normals could fit really well on Eagle, the heavy boot in particular and probably his jumping kick normals. However, where his brotherly love probably falls apart is in the punch normals and a lot of the specials. The Eagle concept we’re theorizing here uses katars, while Thunder uses tomahawks This would mean that any adaptations of Thunder’s specials, such as Tripplax or Ankle Slicer, would have to be pretty heavily modified both in form and function to fit these different weapons. For example, Tripplax could have an animation more similar to Fuglore’s spinning F>HP, and serve much the same purpose. Ankle slicer would need much more heavy modification… But Thunder’s most recognizable, signature tool is his command grab; the Call of The Earth. Obviously this can’t be taken wholesale, but if Eagle is going to pull from his brother, a command grab would be an excellent utility. And perhaps, a certain move that Thunder used to possess could make a return in a more tangible, more meaningful way…
SO, let’s add up our little Frankensteined character so far.
From Fulgore, Eagle could pull a significant number of normals, a varation of the Cyberdash, and likely his throw.
From Thunder, kick normals, jump ins, a heavily modified incarnation of Tripplax, and possibly a grab and a maybe re-re-purposed “Call of Sky”.
Both of his influences have a DP, and both even have options for a follow up. It would make sense for this to make the transfer over.
Now, for the important discussion.
#What would make Eagle unique?
Like Shago after Jago, Eagle would have to jump off from his influences rather than wallow in them. That’s what defines a good sequel from a bad one.
So we need to find a common archetype, some special moves, an instinct, and where he would have to sit to be balanced properly with the rest of the cast.
Based on out example, we’ll say Eagle seems to be a mix of the more rushdown heavy properties of Fulgore, with the rushing/grappling utilities of Thunder. Thing is, these are rushdown-like qualities on characters that aren’t really rushdown. I think that this may actually lead to the perfect approach to take with Eagle:
A "Pseudo-Rushdown: A character who wants to stay in close with powerful tools, but not directly in your face. Feigning one approach that actually leads to another, punishing baited reversals, and dealing reliable pressure at a slower, more deliberate pace.
Pseudo-Shoto: Since he’ll have a lot of Fulgore’s non-projectile tools, and tools similar to Thunder’s that fill the gaps, he could be similar to a “Jago without a Fireball” playstyle that’s focused more towards rushdown with the absence of zoning, but still fairly reserved and patient.
His strength could be getting in just outside of attack range, and making little approaches, reacting to punishing the defense rather than offence. He’d be a “patient rushdown” so to speak. He’d want to stay in close, but rather than being directly in your face, he needs to stay patient and bait mistakes, possibly stuffing or otherwise circumventing the opponent’s retaliation, and using his years of fighting experience as both man and machine to feint certain approaches.
Because his weapons have a fairly short reach due to his weapon of choice, but he will likely be close in speed to a partially pipped Fulgore (so a good forward walk but a much slower backwards speed) and some unremarkable dashes.
His primary weaknesses? Would probably be Mid-Low on the damage scale with certain exceptions, due to their flexibility, similar to Fulgore. And, without projectiles and being forced into a slightly more conservative sort of pressure, he’d be slow to gain meter. Not quite Fulgore slow, but still pretty sluggish.
I’ve got some ideas for specials that could help create this playstyle (with obvious placeholder names)
Note, these specific specials aren’t super important, but the role they fulfill and where they fit in the scope of the game are a more important discussion.
Dashing Slice/Eagle’s flight:
With his equivalent to Cyberdash, he could likely cover quite a bit of space to get in, but with much shorter range and likely a lower but similar risk, mixed a bit with ankle slicer. A good way to punish in footsies and maybe make approaches.
His Blade Dash equivalent, however, can’t simply be “slide forward with outstretched arm on rocket skates.” He’d probably need to physically dash or hop forward in a human (or more human) form. It could be balanced as such.
-Light is a simple scoot forward, with similar range to the Light Cyberdash. Somewhat safe.
-*Medium entails an actual dash, moves a distance somewhere in-between Fulgores Medium and Light Moves. Slightly negative with longer start up.
-Heavy would be a leap forward, about as long as Medium Blade Dash or Heavy Ankle Slicer, similar in form to TJ’s Superman punch. It feigns a leaping overhead, but dives towards the end to strike low and possible stagger. Low crush, horribly unsafe.
Shadow is basically like Fulgore’s Shadow Dash
Would likely be a hard knockdown Ender similar to ankle slicer, good for keeping up pressure.
Barrel Roll (Spinny Slashy): A much more close range interpretation of triplax based on F>HP from Fulgore. Safe, but easy to Shadow counter.
Shadow Is far more similar to Kan-Ra’s Whirl than Triplax.
Wall splat ender.
Eagle’s Talons: Fulgore’s throw mixed with the Predator from MKX, with a typical throw command. Simiar to Thunder having a throw linker, Eagle has a throw ender. Leads to a ground bounce when landed raw.
Shadow Version ends with a headbutt resembling Sammamish, sending opponents sky high. Pretty Big Cash out, but limited much like Shadow Recluse or Shadow Eclipse.
Phoenix: DP, similar to Fulgore’s but limited to the single hit. Maybe it could use an air projectile as a follow up, but its use would be limited to aerial attempts to punish.
Shadow version similar to Shago’s dash DP, ending with a drop kick similar to one of Thunder’s follow ups. Über cash out.
Potential Instinct(s):Eagle’s Dive. The idea being that Eagle’s Instinct shows him forgoing the technological tampering and getting closer in touch with his spirit like Thunder. When he’s closer to his roots, he gains tremendous spiritual power. More importantly, it allows him temporary reprieve from his issues that he’s inherited.
Access to a certain projectile move in the same vein as Orchid and Sadira. A much more conservative reinterpretation of the already reinterpreted Thunder move. An overhead projectile (and Eagle’s only overhead) that hits at a specific distance based on strength (only as far as the Slashy Dash). Staggers for additional openings, but has the same monstrously long start up.
As a sort of tribute to Fulgore and Thunder, this instinct mode also (or alternatively) tacks a Call of Sky onto the end of every ender for bonus damage and a Shadow meter.
Even though the future of KI content is still technically uncertain, especially since S3 is technically unfinished, I’ve proposed an idea for Eagle’s potential inclusion (even though I have long been completely against him), based on an evening of thought and some personal experience, and I wanted to have a discussion about something that may have an influence on design and balance outside of lore.
By combining Fulgore and Thunder, Eagle could be a Pseudo-Shoto/Rushdown Hybrid, with a slightly more conservative err than the average rushdown. slow to gain meter and on the lower end of the damage scale, with an instinct that temporarily alleviates both (though using it properly may be uncomfortable).
I’d be interested to see some fan/developer discussion on this matter, but I’m also curious to see the input of certain individuals. I’ll gladly accept PM’s if anyone has anything they’d rather not post in public, though I’m not vain enough to actually expect it.
@TheKeits, due to his experience as lead combat designer for the game, as well as @Infilament and/or @Sajam due to their extensive experience taking information about the cast as a whole and digesting it into an easily explainable format for both beginners and long time competitors.
I’d be happy to receive any criticisms and open any discussion on the subject.
Well, ladies and gentlemen…