Skullgirls is a 2D fighting game being headed by reknowned tournament player Mike Z of Guilty Gear, MvS2 and blazblue fame. It is a tag team game similar to MvS2 in that it has tags, assists, etc, it uses a ratio system, similar to CvS2, which basically means you can pick either 1-3 characters in your team. 1 is individually stronger, 2 is individually weaker but benefits from having more characters than 1, and 3 is individually weaker than 1 and 2 but benefits from having more characters than 1 and 2.
Technical system details shamelessly ripped from wikipedia. TLDR version is basically no infinites (hopefully), more protection from high/low unblockables, GGPO, custom assists and more lenient windows for complex inputs.
One of the most important design decisions in Skullgirls is a unique infinite detection system. This decision was made in order to make sure to maintain balance with each character. If the game detects that a player is performing a loop, the game will change the color of the hit sparks, and the opposing player can end the loop with a single button press. However, as long as the player is not performing a loop in their combo, they can continue to combo as long as they are able.
Ratio System Tag Battles
Before the beginning of the match, players are able to choose a "ratio" of characters. Players are able to choose from playing as one, two, or three characters. Single characters do more damage and have more HP, but lose the strategic advantages of character assists and the ability to regenerate health while offscreen. Teams with two or more characters have less HP and do less damage, but are able to take advantage of assists and different playstyles.
Skullgirls will feature an element that will be a first for fighting games. Players will be allowed to choose any one of a playable character's attacks to use as an an assist by simple input of the attack's motion in a game menu. Each character also has their own preset assists to choose from. Players can choose any attack type with exception of super moves. These include: throws, normal attacks, dashes, and any special move.
Easier Inputs for More Complex Motions
In order to shift the game’s focus from executing difficult moves to fighting strategically, the game features simplified inputs.
For example, if a character has any moves that require to move the joystick in a 360° motion, the game will be able to recognize the motion, even if the input was not placed as fast as is required as in other similar fighting games. This makes executing these moves easier for the majority of inexperienced players, and allows them to potentially try out new characters that were beyond their skill level in other titles. This simplicity also prevents the character from jumping while performing the 360° motion, which is a common occurrence for many players.
Dynamically Calculated, Non-Arbitrary Input Windows
The game also uses an innovative input window system where the input windows are calculated and not arbitrarily defined. Adjacent directions are each given a 4 frame (4/60ths of a second) window with an additional 4 frames for directions not beside each other to account for the traverse, then an additional 2 frames for the attack command that activates the move. Mike Z has stated that this is based on empirical testing conducted from 1999 to 2006 (even before SkullGirls started development).
Skullgirls allows players to build meter in the usual manner of hitting the opponent, as well as whiffing attacks. However, unlike other games in which any missed normal move results in gained meter, the player must be moving towards the opponent. If the player is moving backwards and attacking, meter will not be gained. Additionally, this only works if the player has less than one bar; in order to gain more than one bar players must connect with the opponent.
High/low unblockables are a common, extremely useful tactic in other tag style fighting games. In Skullgirls, however, after a character blocks a high or low hit, they are protected for a period of time from being hit by a low attack or an overhead, respectively. The protection window is small enough as to not have an effect on regular gameplay, but allows players who correctly guess the correct attack to defend themselves from what would otherwise be an unblockable attack.
Skullgirls uses GGPO (Good Game Peace Out) netcode. It is one of the first dedicated console titles to be using the code.
The game will ship with 8 characters, with more to come in DLC.