Update v1.3.0 is the biggest Major update we have done so far and the biggest highlight of the patch is the addition of Rio to the Bayani roster.
Rio is based off Apolinario Mabini and shares similar parallels to his story. In the Bayaniverse, Rio is possibly the most complex character in the cast as his motives, actions, and emotions are riddled with multiple layers of nuance and circumstances.
Rio was a sickly child and had a weak heart. Lolang Tsora, wanting to help the child, gave Rio a seedling that attached itself to his chest to support his heart. Rio grew up to be an incredibly gifted and smart man and just as accomplished as Joe. However, he contracted Polio as he was doing his military service. Learning that Lolang Tsora is back in the military, he asked for help again so that he can fight in the frontlines once more.
Tsora then awakens Anito’s full power so that Rio can fight. Having grown up with Anito inside him all this time, they are perfectly in sync and Anito will do anything to protect him. Unfortunately, Rio is now uncertain as to whether Anito sees him as a true partner or merely as a host to get energy from.
Similar to this, Rio is also the most technically challenging and complex character that we have created so far. Rio and Anito are partners as one can’t fight without the other which is why, on his own, Rio is relatively weak and he will need to draw upon Anito’s powers to fight effectively. Anito, on the other hand, can’t exist without Rio. This means that their gameplay dynamic revolves around the strategic summoning of Anito to assist Rio in combat. In fact, Anito is set-up just like an Assist Character—a complete departure from any character we’ve created currently. Also, since there are literally two of them, animations, frame data, set-up, etc. are all doubled. It as if we’re making two characters! On top of that, we needed to synchronize their movements as well.
All of Rio’s special moves and some of his normal moves require him to summon Anito. If Anito is active, Rio can’t do any move that requires Anito while he is active. This is actually a huge limitation to Rio’s gameplay and will require a lot more strategy to execute well. Another drawback is that Anito can actually be attacked to cancel the move entirely, leaving Rio vulnerable.
However, Anito is a very powerful entity when used wisely as he has unlimited HP and can essentially tank hits for Rio. He also increases Rio’s effective range. S1 summons vines from the ground to establish space control. There are three variations to the move which can be activated via directional input. Back S1 (4S1) summons the vine directly in front of Rio. Neutral S1 (5S1) summons the vine at mid screen. Forward S1 (6S1) summons the vine at ¾ of the screen. The EX variant summons all three in succession.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the rest of Rio’s moves as well as how his kit functions in relation to his basic gameplay.