Icons: Legacy Edition is Coming Soon

Thank you to Wavedash & our fans

By: Chris Kovalik / @CAKovalik

As I detail in What’s Next for Wavedash Games, I have acquired Wavedash Games and Icons: Combat Arena with it. Our ambition is to effectively continue development on the game under a new name and direction.

As part of our heritage with Wavedash, we recognize an important promise that was made last year.

A “Definitive version of Icons that will continue to live on … for the community.”

Today, we announce that we are stepping up to fulfill that promise. The Icons: Legacy Edition will also serve as a permanent “snapshot” of the game while we push development forward under Vortex Rising.

Please see below for questions we’ve anticipated to the Icons: Legacy Edition. We may also update this FAQ over time.

Why re-release Icons?

We are releasing the Icons: Legacy Edition, because it is the right thing to do. Last year, a promise was made not just to our players but to the Wavedash team. We're releasing it for them.

For many members of the team, Icons is their first and only professionally launched game. Right now, there is nothing that they can point to and say "We built that."

For our players, especially those that paid for content, they couldn’t play the Definitive version promised to them.

Even though this wasn't a promise from myself or Vortex, we thought it was important enough to release nonetheless.

We are continuing development of Icons under a new name and direction, so there will not be any updates to the Legacy Edition. It is intended as a tribute. A memorial to the Wavedash Team and our Fans.

What does the Icons: Legacy Edition look like?

The Icons: Legacy Edition includes all seven previously released characters: Afi & Galu, Ashani, Kidd, Raymer, Xana, Weishan and Zhurong as well as a never-before played character, Ezzie.

It also includes every unlockable cosmetic item that was previously locked behind Icon’s lootbox system. This also includes a set of timely Halloween themed cosmetics for most of the cast!

What has been done to update the Icons: Legacy Edition?

The Icons: Legacy Edition is based on a branch of code written in October 2018. It is preserved exactly as the Wavedash team intended to release it. In the final months of Icons, the team made several important modifications to the gameplay experience based on fan feedback.

The details of those changes will be elaborated on later. The most important feature, though, is called out in the next section.

Can I play the Icons: Legacy Edition in my country?

Yes! The Icons: Legacy Edition is based on peer-to-peer connections. This has two benefits. It makes our connections more stable and low latency between players nearby since we’ve cut out the server in-between. It also means that anyone can play Icons: Legacy Edition worldwide.

How much is it?

Remember: The Icons: Legacy Edition is not intended to be released as a business decision. It’s being released to fulfill the promise made by the Wavedash Team. As a result, we intend for it to be free for those who bought Founders Packs, Pro Packs or those that bought characters in Icons: Combat Arena.

For everyone else who is interested and wants to give this game a try, we are still debating about how much to charge for this. We are currently a very small team that is continuing with development and could honestly use the funds to support our work.

When is it coming out?

As soon as possible. Ideally, no later than the end of October.

So what do I do now?

Nothing necessary! Steam should automatically give you access to the game when it goes live. Check out some streams we have hosted on the Icons: Legacy Edition.

You can also check out our work Vortex Rising by signing up for our Alpha. If you want to learn more about Vortex Rising, check out our post on What’s Next for Wavedash Games.

Note: A prior update said that Steam receipts were necessary for being redeemed for getting free access to the Icons: Legacy Edition.

What's Next for Wavedash Games

The journey to build upon the best of Icons: Combat Arena

By: Chris Kovalik / @CAKovalik

(Above) Concept art for Vortex Rising. Shows how our game will begin by building off existing characters and combat from Icons as the narrative and game shifts to tell new stories and provide new experiences.

A second beginning: Wavedash went up for sale

For those who do not know me, I am the first investor in Wavedash Games. As we all know, Wavedash sadly shutdown operations in October 2018. I led multiple financing attempts to save it, but instead the Board of Directors arranged to sell Wavedash Games to the highest bidder.

So I said, "Screw it!" and became the highest bidder.

Through a new company I created, called Vortex, I officially bought Wavedash Games and Icons: Combat Arena in May 2019. Since then, I’ve been hard at work with two ex-Wavedash developers to continue to work on Icons: Combat Arena.

There is a new direction going forward.

We’re finally ready to share a glimpse of that direction with you all. First, let’s talk about Wavedash Games and Icons.

In hindsight, we see several clear reasons Icons: Combat Arena did not thrive:

  1. Icons spent a lot of time and energy designing a game to “win over” Smash Melee players. Instead, Icons could have tried to design a game that would appeal to a broader audience, so it wasn’t so reliant on a single demographic.

  2. Icons core differentiation was its free-to-play business model and polished netplay. It was not enough. Icons could have differentiated further with in-game experiences that cannot be found in other platform fighting games.

  3. Unappealing monetization. Icons launched lootboxes in the wake of EA’s Battlefront 2 debacle. Icons could have launched as a paid game, increased its price as new content was released and only swapped to free-to-play when it was ready to do so.

  4. Safe character design and art style. Many of Icons characters were very familiar. The art style itself was reminiscent of major gaming titles at the time it was launched. Ideally, Icons could have put more energy into defining a look it could own rather than borrow. This could have had an additional benefit of reducing the potential budget for the game.

Vortex is changing the game.

Quite literally, in this case. Going forward Icons: Combat Arena will be renamed with our working title, Vortex Rising. Beyond its name, the important points above provide a clear path forward for our team to work through for Vortex Rising.

Before the fun stuff, let’s cover the basic updates and polish in core gameplay that we continue to refine:

  • Game physics

  • Character movesets & balancing

  • Input delay & buffer (input lag reduced!)

  • Netcode quality and stability

Vortex Rising’s target first impression

We want Vortex Rising to look and feel like it offers something new to players. Apologies in advance for being vague here, but we’re not ready to share exactly what we’re doing. Instead, we are proud to share what we want Vortex Rising’s first impression to be:

  1. Collaborative and competitive core. Our online play will feature cooperative team-based gameplay. What does a 2v2 or 3v3 fighting game look like? Is it pure chaos or can it be tamed into something much more competitive? We hope to answer these questions with Vortex Rising.

  2. Unique gameplay. Our default gameplay includes beloved elements from other fighting games for the first time into a platform fighting game. We are experimenting with several risky but original ideas to push these concepts even further.

  3. A perception of being easier to learn. Tutorials, controls and core gameplay will vary in new and unique game modes to help beginners and button mashers graduate to an endless depth of advanced play. You should feel comfortable inviting a friend to play this game with you and they should feel good about being able to play alongside you.

  4. Gives you something fun to work towards. Playing should push you to want to go further, dig deeper. Watching a match should inspire you to rise to a challenge.

Be patient… sort of.

You can actually sign up to play our Alpha right now at https://www.vortexrising.com

That said, we’re a small team working part-time with limited funds. This is not a million-dollar funded studio like Wavedash was. That doesn’t mean we haven’t made a ton of progress, though!

For some features, we can work at lightspeed because we are leveraging assets created for Icons. For others, mostly involving changes to character models and animations, they’re prohibitively expensive. It’s not very intuitive how long certain game modes, changes or features will take to add into the game, but a lot can be done with our core team.

That’s ultimately why it made sense to acquire Wavedash - beyond saving something that means the world to my team and I.

If you apply for Alpha access, hopefully I see you online! We run Community Playtesting sessions three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Our Discord community has daily discussions on character, stage, and gameplay design as well as Developer Q&A Streams and Presentations on content.

Until you get in, we will be making periodic updates here.

~CAKOVALIK

P.S. If you want to get a little more on what's in store - leave a question below. Maybe I will answer it! You can also check out this blog post I wrote about game design: https://oh.substack.com/p/oh-how-to-make-games-people-play

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