Nintendo and Bandai seem to be getting really serious about the upcoming Pokken Tournament now that they've announced that the game will have local competitive play, online casual and ranked battles, as well as a challenging single-player mode. They topped off the news with announcing that Chandelure was also joining the cast of playable Pokemon.
Comic Book does a quick rundown of the new features, modes and characters that will be a part of the upcoming Wii U exclusive, Pokken Tournament. Support characters Parichisu and Magikarp were announced along with Sylveon and Croagunk; All four characters will make up two pairs of support call-ins and we're likely to see them in action on January 31 when more details emerge.
As for the fighting game's new character, Chandelure, it's a ghost-type Pokemon with some fire attributes. According to the article, it's the evolved form of Litwick. So what does that mean for the character when engaged in battle? Well, it means that a lot of people are assuming that it will be a ranged fighter that will focus on zoning opponents with long-range projectiles.
The news of Chandelure hasn't created a whole lot of chatter but it has made some gamers come to terms with questioning why this particular Pokemon was added over more melee-focused types that would have fit the fighting game model a lot better. In a way, it makes sense that something like Chandelure would be in Pokken Tournament for the sole purpose of diversifying the way a fight can play out.
Unlike other fighting games Pokken Tournament allows players to engage in a two-tier fighting mechanism. At a distance, the game is target-based where players will roam around the arena and attempt to engage their opponent's peppered attacks or projectiles, almost equivalent to Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2's Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series. However, when engaged up close to an opponent, the 3D fighting turns into a 2D fighter (graphically, it stays the same but the plane changes) and it's closer to the likes of Street Fighter or Killer Instinct, where fast combos, counter-attacks and quick reflexes become the order of the day. It's a fascinating mix of two very different styles of combat combined into one fighter.
This means that it's not just about how a Pokemon is played at a distance, but how well they can play up close as well (or whether or not a player will even allow them to get close). It reminds me of MMA, where some fighters are good at the stand-up game while others are good when it comes to submissions and good at ground and pound. The mixture of fighting types and fighting mechanisms in Pokken Tournament will make it a very cool game to see within the tournament circuits.
And speaking of tournament play... the game will feature online ranked battles for gamers who are serious about showcasing their online credibility as an active member of the FGC. For gamers who don't care about representing the fighting game community, there will be a friendly battle mode where non-ranked matches can be played online.
Local play will also be included that will see one player using the GamePad to play as one character while another player will use a second controller to play as the opposing character. They don't mention if it's possible to use two Wii U Pro Controllers or the new Pokken Tournament controller, but I'm sure they'll clarify that later.
And speaking of clarification... Nintendo also announced that they will drop more details on the game and Chandelure on January 31, ahead of the game's March 18 release in Japan and its spring release in North America.