The new Melty Blood looks strictly hardcore: Is that okay nowadays?

The new Melty Blood looks strictly hardcore: Is that okay nowadays?

I've kept Melty Blood: Type Lumina in my periphery, and it looks like it's shedding the newbie-friendly approach of recent fighters to appeal strictly to hardcore fighting fans. Here's my analysis.


Melty Blood is a name with some weight in the hardcore fighting game community. It's an anime fighter that was hugely popular in the underground for its rise from a rather intense adult visual novel into a proper 2D fighting game. It's a place where some of the known major contenders of today's fighting games got their start (Japanese fighting game luminary and SonicFox rival Goichi "GO1" Kishida is a master of Melty Blood). When Melty Blood: Type Lumina was announced this year, many likely didn't bat an eye, but those who knew freaked because this game is looking intensely good.

That said, I'm of two minds about this one. On one hand, I think it's great that a formative franchise of the anime fighting game community is getting new life in a rather stylish looking way. I also think it's interesting that it doesn't drop its hardcore auspices to try to reach across the isle to newcomers. One look at a match in this game and it feels pretty clear this is a fighting game made specifically for fighting game fans.

I also think that has a good chance of alienating all but the most dedicated from diving deep into Melty Blood. I really welcomed the efforts of games like Smash Bros., BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, and even my recent crush, Guilty Gear Strive, for creating mechanics and modes that really catered to non-fighting game players and fully invited them to learn and understand what's going on. They have the range to cater to the more dedicated at the same time.

A child who has never played a fighting game can pick up Smash, but also, the scene has players like Tweek and MKLeo that have achieved insane heights. I think more people playing and enjoying fighting games is a fantastic agenda and the games that really care can invite folks in even as it entertains the pros.

Melty Blood doesn't care about that. Arguably, it probably shouldn't because that would piss off a lot of people that know and care about Melty Blood in particular. This franchise started as a project that catered to the niche (adult visual novel fans) and it continues to live as a project that caters to the niche (hardcore anime fighting fans).

On some level, I guess that won't be so bad because hardcore fighting game fans should have something that challenges them to utilize their talents to the fullest. There are a lot of offerings outside Melty Blood that cater to the newcomer these days. Maybe, in that regard, Melty Blood doesn't have to. In fact, when they know they have such a dedicated crowd, it could be argued, "why try to cater to everyone and risk making our fans mad?"

I also just worry about the player base though. I've seen it plenty in my time with fighting games already. When you have a game that's as tough to master as Melty Blood, it doesn't take long for those without the patience to flake off until you're left with only the dedicated. That's... kind of boring to me. I don't like waiting five minutes to get into a match online only to be matched up against the guy I've been matched up against frequently that day, week, or month. I fear that's the inescapable track for Melty Blood: Type Lumina.

I can't deny Melty Blood's style or Type Moon's dedication to its craft. They knew what they wanted to make and a lot of their fans have enjoyed seeing this game come to fruition. I'm going to give it a go and I know a lot of major players in the scene are doing the same (Sonic Fox and Justin Wong are already figuring out who to main on Day 1).

That said, I'd have to say, if you want to be part of the revival of Melty Blood in 2021, you'd best be ready for some hard knocks. This particular game looks like it's set to be the most unforgiving the fighting game scene has seen in a while.

(Also, Pro-tip: Even if you play, I'd recommend staying out of Melty Blood forums or online discussion unless you're prepared for folks that can get quite weird and toxic above your average online community.)

Melty Blood: Type Lumina comes out September 30, 2021 on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam. What do you think? Does the fighting game world still need games that cater strictly to the hardcore? Would you have played Melty Blood: Type Lumina if it was more inviting? Are you going to check it out anyways? Let me know, and if you jump in, good luck!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 28, 2021 10:06 AM

    Is the new Melty Blood too hardcore for today's fighting game players?

    Read more: The new Melty Blood looks strictly hardcore: Is that okay nowadays?

    • reply
      September 28, 2021 12:53 PM

      Nice highlight of a somewhat lesser known fighting game! I just happened to see a video about it on one of my favorite esports outlets today,

      • reply
        September 28, 2021 1:17 PM

        That was a really cool video. Yeah, Melty Blood is one of those "we played it in the shadows, away from the crowds" games, but a lot of folks don't know it's also where some of their favorite competitors cut their teeth before they were pros.

    • reply
      September 28, 2021 1:16 PM

      I beat the last one with a single coin at an arcade in Osaka. I'm proud of this, because the end boss was a huge cheese-monster.

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      September 28, 2021 3:30 PM

      Didn't Melty Blood have like an adventure/dating game too?
      Oh it was the fighting spinoff from Tsukihime the visual novel. Yeah I thought I remembered something of that sort crouching at the root.

      • reply
        September 28, 2021 5:21 PM

        Yep, the "rather intense adult visual novel" I mentioned at the beginning of this piece was Tsukihime.

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      September 28, 2021 6:04 PM

      I don't know that the number of systems/mechanics are necessarily a bad thing even for newcomers. I think to succeed it needs:

      * good netcode
      * stuff that's fun to do even at lower levels of play
      * good matchmaking to help people play with others that want the same thing out of the game (let casuals play other casuals and let the sweat lords grind their way up to other sweat lords)
      * the older community to note try and gatekeep newcomers and be assholes (this may be helped if the matchmaking is something similar to Strive's ranked / park system).

      The graphics are nice, but the style may be a little off putting/uninteresting compared to something like Guilty Gear but I think as long as the netcode is solid and the community doesn't get too toxic I think it has a decent shot at being successful. Melty was already a niche game even for people that enjoyed fighting games and they've kind of been shit on in some respects/joked about which is why some of the older fans can be so protective about it.

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        September 28, 2021 6:16 PM

        “stuff that's fun to do even at lower levels of play”

        Good lord is this important. Even “hard” games like Dota 2 have fun things to do for absolute scrubs, whether that is last hitting a creep or blasting an enemy in the face and watching them explode with Lina’s ult.

        People lose sight of that a lot in these discussions on if a game is “too hard”!

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          September 28, 2021 8:34 PM

          I'm happy to confirm Melty Blood: Type Lumina will have rollback netcode that was built from the ground up for it.

          Wholeheartedly agree on extra activities/modes too. I think a Story Mode that actually has fights to it with challenges that determine endings would be great.

          A challenge mode would also be nice. I really miss Guilty Gear's M.O.M. mode in this regard and wish other games had something like. Even Survival would be nice though.

          • reply
            September 28, 2021 9:47 PM

            Have you tried the netcode? I think French Bread is still untested in that area for rollback. I hope they have more an Arcsys implementation of rollback than Capcom.

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              September 29, 2021 10:48 AM

              I wish I could say I could. Definitely agree with you on the implementation, but French Bread's close work with ArcSys in the past on things like BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle gives me hope.

        • reply
          September 28, 2021 8:39 PM

          *misclicking and blasting a mob in the face

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