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Reverence: The Ultimate Combat Experience Adds Muscle Memory to Fighting

Some games strive to offer a realistic melee fighting experience. The folks at the Chicago-based Mantis Studios are taking this a step further by adding nuanced controls to their project, Reverence: The Ultimate Combat Experience.

The innovative feature in Reverence is the ability to control limbs in a more direct way than most video games have allowed to date. Players are able to move and rotate the avatar’s hand in various directions, taking a more realistic approach to swinging a sword. While the fighter’s shoulder appropriately follows the corresponding hand, it also has its own axes of movement. This introduces a very different system not just for hitting the opponent, but also for parrying, which is physics-based. In order to parry, the player needs to appropriately match the strike, which collides the two objects based on a physics engine. Complementing the sword fighting is total movement control over the legs and body stance (offering options such as lowering the center of the body for more stability) and other physics-based interactions such as chopping up wood.

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Reverence‘s control scheme sounds potentially very complex, but it uses a feature called the Muscle Memory System, which adapts to how players tend to control certain parts of their body. For example, if the wrist and the hand are usually used a specific way in swings, the player will only have to worry about rotating the shoulder for strikes. These different layers of control will be adjustable and develop over time for every player. Reverence works with either a gamepad or a mouse and keyboard set up, but the developers also successfully tried out the game on virtual reality devices and some other, experimental set ups.

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Mantis Studios launched a Kickstarter to polish the experience and prepare it for multiplayer, which requires many resources. Pledging $15 is the minimum, early bird tier to receive a copy of Reverence, which is intended to be Windows, Mac, and Linux compatible.

Check out the upcoming sword fighter’s crowdfunding page for a few more details and various video explanations, and also consider voting for the game on Steam Greenlight.



Luke has wide interests in games, from compelling fighting, action, and RPG titles to deeper interactive, storytelling titles that push today's genres and boundaries - especially awesome if they're related to diversity. Feel free to reach out on Twitter or via email.


  • Rob Turnbull

    The amount of thought and effort that is going into this project is impressive, particularly the combining of the multiple disciplines of physics, physiology, and hardware/software translation and incorporation.