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Skullgirls Encore getting its first male character April 22

Skullgirls Encore — a relaunch of 2D fighting game Skullgirls — will get its first male character, Big Band, for free on April 22, Lab Zero Games CEO Peter Bartholow announced today via the PlayStation Blog.

Big Band, formerly known as Ben Birdland, was a beat cop who "got on the wrong side" of a corrupt police force. After a brutal attack, Dr. Avian and the ASG Lab 8 fixed him up and armed him with pneumatic weaponry. According to Bartholow, Big Band is a high risk, high reward character with power and versatility. He's also the only character capable of parrying incoming attacks. Although he'll still take some damage, Big Band's parry allows him to counter-attack his opponents with combos and special moves.

"Many of his attacks will leave you vulnerable if you miss or misjudge your opponent," Bartholow wrote. "Big Band's 'Bagpipe Blues' taunt actually powers up two of his supers: Super-Sonic Jazz and Tympany Drive. So if you can end a combo and squeeze in a taunt while your opponent is knocked down, the next time you hit could lead into some really huge damage."

For a look at Big Band, check out the trailer above.

The developer also announced that Fukua — a palette swap of an existing character announced on April 1 — will be available as a free update for the PlayStation 3 version of the game "in the coming weeks." The next free downloadable character will be Eliza, an Egyptian-themed lounge singer.