In a move that I believe is unprecedented in the world of mobile games, a brand new character is currently being developed for the mobile version of Skullgirls (Free) for release sometime in 2020. For a brief synopsis on why this is such a big deal, Skullgirls on mobile was developed by Hidden Variable Studios and is a mobile adaptation of the existing console and PC fighter Skullgirls 2nd Encore. Hidden Variable did an incredible job of adapting the fighting system for the touchscreen and Skullgirls on mobile has received a ton of additional content and features over the past several years since its release, and recently received its most highly-requested feature in online multiplayer. And while Hidden Variable has dabbled in original content for the mobile version by way of unique special events, a totally different progressions system, and Origin Story campaign chapters, nearly all of Skullgirls on mobile is stuff that was adapted from the already existing Skullgirls 2nd Encore game.
At this point in time though, the mobile version includes every existing character from the original game (well not counting Fukua, who is already set to arrive soon), as well as numerous variants of each one. The only possibility for adding new characters to the roster is to create them from the ground up. So that is what Hidden Variable is doing, in conjunction with the original game’s developer Lab Zero and original publisher Autumn Games. If you’re familiar with Skullgirls, you’ll know this is no small feat. Each character is hand drawn and animated with TONS of frames to give the game its trademark “Golden Era of Animation" fluidness. I can’t stress enough how much work this is! It also tells me that Skullgirls on mobile must be thriving in order for its developers to undertake such a project, and it’s somewhat shocking to see the first brand new content in a number of years for a popular series like Skullgirls arrive first in its mobile spin-off.
As for who this mysterious new character will be, Hidden Variable is remaining tight-lipped, but they have no shortage of sarcastic answers to that question in the FAQ on their forums about the news. It sounds like it could be a peripheral character that already exists in the Skullgirls universe rather than someone we’ve never seen before, but nobody really knows for sure just yet!
They also touch on the subject of this new character making their way into Skullgirls 2nd Encore on other platforms, and while that would be the ultimate goal in this situation, it will entirely depend on how well this new character performs in terms of bringing in revenue. According to Hidden Variable, “The amount of animation and design work needed to develop a character for mobile is only 60-70% of the work needed for a full 2nd Encore character (not accounting for all of the overhead that comes with a new content release for consoles)." So it’s not as simple as just plugging the new character into the game on other platforms, but hopefully this will lead to great new things for the Skullgirls franchise across the board.
Hidden Variable will be posting a full preview later this week of their 2020 roadmap for Skullgirls on mobile, so hopefully we’ll get some more details about the new character then.