Here are the first details, via the Official FAQs:
What is this game about?
This game is the sequel to Ether Rivalsan indie fighting game you can grab on Steam or Change. But you probably already own it if you’re reading this.
When is the game coming out?
We can’t say for sure, but we’re aiming for 2024. We have big ambitions for what we want to create, and our team is working hard to achieve those goals.
Why is it so far? I want it now.
Try to understand! Our team is small but our ambitions are big! Our goal is to compete with the best games on the market. There’s a lot of things we want to build to do Rivals 2 the best fighting game possible and it will take time.
What platforms will it be released on?
We don’t have any platforms to share yet but we want to release it on as many platforms as possible.
Will the game be free or paid?
We’re not ready to announce the game’s business model yet. But we’re looking at all possible business models, including requiring players to be on an exercise bike or for the game to end.
Will there be a beta and when?
We plan to do closed beta testing at some point in 2023. Sign up for the newsletter on the homepage to make sure you don’t miss the opening of closed beta registrations.
Will it support mods/Steam Workshop like Ether Rivals Is?
We are not prioritizing mod support during current development. It’s hard enough to make a game in the first place. We love to see the creativity of a community with modding, but any mod support would come well after launch.
Will it support custom colors like Ether Rivals Is?
The current answer is probably no. We’re still exploring our color scheme, but readability issues with certain color schemes are only exacerbated with our new art style. We also have technical hurdles when it comes to textures which would make the feature more complex than the recolor shader which Ether Rivals uses.
Will it actually have good single player content this time around?
wow. Hard… The answer is hopefully! But we won’t stop at a better solo than Ether Rivals. We have single-player designs that would provide new experiences for the fighting game genre as a whole. While competitive play will be a priority for us during game development, we’re laying the groundwork to create amazing single-player experiences that will help convert newcomers into hardcore competitors.
Will it be eSports?
You can’t tell something is eSports until its players have declared it an eSport. This is the first rule of eSports. But… yes, this game will be totally eSports! We design it to be the eSport that ends all other eSports. We will do everything in our power to nurture the competitive community around this game. If Rivals 2 isn’t a main game at Evo 2025, then we’ll have let you all down.
Why add shields?
Big question! A major objective of Rivals 2 is that we want to take everything we love about the platformer genre and create a familiar, expressive and intuitive game. Shields are an integral part of this objective as they are familiar to fans of the genre and easier to use at beginner levels than Ether Rivals parry. They also add more opportunities for expression on defense as you now have multiple options, each with their own counters.
Why add outlets?
Because they counter shields! Throws also look cool and they set up for combos and Ranno’s back throw animation is super sick and you’ll love it.
Why add ledges?
Ledges also feed into our goal above to Rivals 2. They are intuitive for new players and familiar for veterans of the genre. And with the addition of shields, recovering without ledges becomes much more difficult for some Rivals. This giant Clairen Up Special that you can delay isn’t as threatening when your opponent can shield it. However, don’t worry about the edges. Gameplay and fetches are updated with Ledges in mind. We are also refining our implementation and reviewing every game in the genre to create the best version of ledges possible.
Is there still hitfalling?
YEAH BABY! You can still enter a quick drop while pausing an attack, even if you were doing an airlift. This is also important for antennas that appear to you as Ranno Down Air so you can bail them out early for specific combos. While some may argue that hitfalling takes away the depth of rising and falling antennae, we think the benefits and flashy combos are worth the downsides. You also can’t fall if you hit a shield, allowing for counterplay if your opponent anticipates your airborne climb.
Is there still parade?
Yes! the Rivals 1 parry is still there, both with its own button and as a Shield + Special hotkey. Startup is a bit slower, so parry requires even more reading Rivals 2. Its slower start also prevents it from always being the best way out of shield pressure. But you can deflect projectiles and even stun opponents with a well-timed parry.
Does it whistle though?
No, Rivals 2 has no whistling! Whifflag was added during the early access of Ether Rivals as a way to prevent attack spam from being too strong, especially on fast characters. In Rivals 2, you can defend against spam with much less risk by adding a shield, so whifflag isn’t as necessary. The attack delay is halfway between the two values found in Ether Rivals. Weak attacks are closer to hit values while stronger attacks are closer to their scent values. This ensures that you can always punish when your opponent fishes for a knockout. Finally, other mechanical changes, such as the removal of Drift DI, will make combos easier even with this increased delay.
But does it have L cancellation?
No, Rivals 2 has no L-cancellation. Landing lag is still low compared to other platform fighters, but a bit higher than Ether Rivals. You can master hitfalling to regain some of that quick-response feel of the L’s cancellation.
Does it have a buffer?
Yes! The six-image stamp of Ether Rivals come back ! In our tests, we found a six-frame buffer to be best for local and online play. It’s high enough to help you get what you want, yet low enough to prevent unwanted input.
How does the pummel system work?
In fgeneral, Ether Rivals replaced fast shuffling on the controller with other mechanics. We are pursuing this design goal with the implementation of a new pummel system for Rivals 2. The grabbing player can press Attack or Special once per grab to perform two different types of moves. Normal moves deal just a fair amount of damage, while special moves deal damage and have an additional effect unique to each character. To exit a grab, the grabbed player must press the same button, Attack or Special, as the grabbing player. It is a game of predicting which strike the opponent will choose. The catching player can also simply throw without hitting to avoid the risk of being broken.
What is a special Getup?
Much like how you can perform a special punch or parry with the special button, you can also press it while knocked down to perform a Getup Special. Getup Specials has a variety of uses. Some are slower and stronger. Some create an alternate scene control. Some are used for escape like Ranno’s Bubble’s special outfit. These promotions keep your opponent on their toes and give you another option for those times when you’ve missed your tech.
What is a Ledge Special?
The last new special entry is a Ledge Special. These special attacks are usually slower than normal ledge attacks, but have more power or additional effects. Another benefit is that for many characters they hold the ledge longer than the roll or attack, so you can use the special outfit as a way to take on opponents if you time your invincibility at the right time.
do i like Rivals 2 or am I in love with the idea of Rivals 2?
We’re pretty sure you like both. You’ll like it Rivals 2 when you can get your hands on it. But right now, as you read that last question knowing full well that the answer is going to be stupid, you love the idea of playing Rivals 2. You are happy to see the Rivals characters converted to the new engine. You are excited about a new platform fighter with modern entries, good online support and competitive. The only thing you don’t like is that you have to wait. But time rewards the patient and your day with Rivals 2 will come!
Watch the trailer below. See the first screenshots in the gallery.