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Tuesday
Jun142011

« The Salty Runback: Eat the Seed Corn »

We have seen the future. It is a first person shooter sequel.

Once again, the industry circus has picked clean the carcass of Los Angeles, leaving behind naught save a smear of gore while supplying us, the remora we are, with that sweetest of sustenances: preview information. Good news, everyone! If you were haunted with foreboding, at a loss for what you might purchase as a Christmas gift for your girlfriend’s grandmother in calender year 2012, Microsoft and the Kinect have got you covered.

For those of us invested in virtual worlds where warfare of a modern nature is eschewed in favor of settling global disputes with martial arts tournaments, it wasn’t a bad show. Advance impressions of “Street Fighter X Tekken” seem universally positive. One comparison I read exhumed the jurassic bones of cult staple “Project Justice”. News that Street Fighter: Third Strike’s Online Edition would feature netcode by GGPO and YouTube sharing integration were met with a rousing chorus of God save the Queen, cheerio, pip pip, etc.

There is a lot of excitement about the future of fighting games pumping through the ventilation, and it has a unique musk. Me? I’m not so excited. I see another dark age if the developers, especially Capcom, stay the course. I see leeches in our future.

Street Fighter 4’s Bieber-esque level of success has re-shaped the landscape of the industry’s present day. Companies, including Capcom, are launching all Vipers in an attempt to get more two-dimensional fighting games onto the playing field, seeking to capitalize on a lightning-in-a-bottle convergence of genre virgins and grizzled veterans. Someone even released the eldritch seals on Ed Boon’s casket filled with native Romanian soil and set him free into the general population. 1992 has risen from the grave to shamble and feast upon the flesh of the living.

There are some that see this tent revival of traditional fighting games as being naturally inoculated against a reccurence of the fate Oni-san and his contemporaries met when last they rode high on the hadoken hog. On its release, Street Fighter II blazed trails through uncharted realms... then faded into the sunset. Today, two dimensional fighters make their return, and they do it inside the arena of competitive gaming, a lucrative first world pursuit of pop culture mania nursed to robust health by games that followed after the fall of Capcom’s arcade empire. Street Fighter rises from the phoenix’s ashes amidst a world filled with players who are familiar with the sort of setting where fighting games shine brightest: structured player versus player contests. The idea of a tournament for games is no longer a curious cultural novelty. They are a new dogma for entire generations of dudes fueled by copious servings of yellow number five.

I do not share the rosy Zoltar’s fortune of those that would say the genre’s destiny is secure. I see developers drunk on the excitement of initial successes that breach expectation, pushing product to the market to exploit a moment as opposed to laying cement for a foundation. There are several troubling trends I see developing, and they need to be addressed.

First, a question springs to mind. Where are the original games? Man can not live on bread alone, and nostalgia is certainly the comfort carbohydrate of gaming. A new Marvel game, along with remastered revivals of old favorites, aren’t going to be getting handwritten hate letters, but we need more on our menu than being fed snippets via Twitter in order to excite us, allowing Capcom to gauge interest in a new Darkstalkers game.

This is not a genre with a deep well from which to dredge. It is a shallow pool, and from it you must harvest material that is equally appealing to both the gamer that mentions Street Fighter in the same breath as UFC: Undisputed and the otaku that transplanted the gel-formed breasts from his anime mouse pad onto his fight stick “for wrist support”. We need more than the same basic mechanic with different characters. 
Tempting a Roman crucifixion... do we really, truly need time and resources to be spent on developing a next generation Power Stone? Better, instead, to create something that uses what we know and combines it with what we've learned since the days of the Sega Genesis. Fighting games are fun, but there could be so much more to creating them for the modern age than taking the old formula and slapping glossy varnish to its sides. Social media, online multiplayer, new peripherals; there are so many avenues to explore, and none of those things were around the first time you stopped staring at gawky girls long enough to learn to throw a dragon punch.

Now is the time to create. There is an important opportunity here, massive and slow, just waiting to be brought down and have its succulent meats feasted upon. Now is the time to draw in a new legion with the genesis of a beloved new franchise. Maybe even two. How reliable is the presence of the larger community in our corner of the marketplace when the games we have to offer are, at their very core, all the same game?  

If you can think it, it’s probably been done. Now more than ever, developers have to get creative in order to stave off bed sores for the genres within which they work, especially within the genres on the more narrow end of the scale. When everyone you know has looked down the barrel of a gun from the first person and fired away at Nazis and aliens, it’s time to swipe some RPG elements, toss them into the mix. Then you can watch astounded as you create a new form of digitized heroin delivered via molded plastic, leaving behind only the red-eyed souls of the damned to forego sleep in order to “prestige” and start Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill once more. Fighting games need their Modern Warfare moment.

Here’s a line that sounds like it should be uttered in a sterile conference room, but we will not survive the rigid adherence to traditional dynamics. It is no longer sufficient to take two characters, place them on a plane of two dimensions, give them a handful of input commands, and lord over the proceedings with some form of unique gimmick mechanic - a cancel/combo extender, comeback mechanism, or some combination thereof. In order to cement the presence of an audience that is increasingly afflicted with attention spans better suited on adolescent boys, more has to be offered as reward than the simple dopamine generation of winner versus loser.

It may seem common sense to say that the best way facilitate long-term health is to, surprise, create content that people want to engage with long-term, but apparently, conventional wisdom fucked common sense’s boyfriend and now the two just spend the day making their mutual friends feel awkward by finding new ways to call each other fat on Facebook. In order to keep people interested in these things, we need to be given a little heroin of our own.

Looking at Marvel vs. Capcom 3 reveals that someone in Capcom HQ realized this. There a lot of little unlockables lurking behind corners, but the presentation is being fed strawberry-infused air at an oxygen bar when you’re starving. It’s pleasant, and there is certainly something going on, but you need so much more. Why implement a system wherein I earn points for my match performance when I’ve achieved all I can with those points after casually playing around with the game for an hour?

Here we collide teeth first with the divide between western and eastern design philosophies while somehow managing to get quagmired in the awful common ground between them: infinite amounts of energy for wasting time creating more of the same. Breaking out of the mold of tradition and doing a bit of genre bending would be a great start to putting down some insurance on the longevity of our new-again hobby. What if you could unlock an alternate costume for Dante by landing a 100% combo? What if using Magneto’s super to land a knock out 50 times allowed you to change some of the properties on that super? What if you could design a custom logo to plaster on the side of your Sentinel? Just because I would draw a huge penis on Sentinel’s arm doesn’t mean everyone would. Incorporating aspects of other genres: exploration, gathering, upgrading, those present true possibility for increasing viality.

Compounding the frustration of sweaty-palmed eagerness to grope beneath the shirt of games we loved when we were teenagers and antiquated design concepts is an inability to effectively leverage the strengths of the modern feature list. The spotlight of broad appeal is shining brightly on our corner of the universe, but how long will it remain when we are being given games whose multiplayer support is so poor you would have an easier time finding a good fight online playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters on your NES?

Having a ready opponent with just a few button presses feels like the day you stumbled across masturbation: when it works, you’re left wondering how anyone did anything other than this before. Instead, we are given bad interfaces, unintuitive options, and poor netcode. I would be remiss to allow any reader to think this is a Japanese problem, lest they forget the upper decker NetherRealm gave us as a gift. Fighting game developers seem incapable of fathoming the mysteries of the internet. Did the team responsible for the online mulitplayer component of Smash Brothers: Brawl become a journeying torture squad available for contract work at major development houses?

You’re going to have a hard time remaining relevant in an environment where the primary mode of competition - and in some cases, the only functional one - is face-to-face play. Yes, fighting games really do belong in hotel ballrooms, being played by two people sitting side by side in uncomfortable chairs. What are you supposed to do the rest of the time? Well and good to create a game requiring constant social contact for players in a place like Southern California. Something altogether different for the same game lost in the wilds of Montana.

It is for these gamers, the players without ready access to arcades and the quality of competition such settings breed, that it becomes so important to embrace innovation and foster re-playability. Losing the interest of players whose options leave them seeking the games that perform better in their native habitat - the perpetual puppet show of racism and homophobia that is Xbox Live - is another efficient method of engineering doom.

Finally, lest I sound contradictory for spending time arguing the case for features that do more to integrate casual gamers, care needs to be taken to assess just to whom the offerings are being targeted. Yes, we need Johnny Q. Ritalin in order to bolster our ranks. There is, however, a lingering inevitability. No matter how well things are handled, even if Aksys developed a game where the “booby ladies” stepped out of the television and into your lap, there is going to be population attrition. We stand a good chance of losing players no matter what happens.

The current titles making the rotation in consoles and arcades are well-designed from the perspective that they are equally adept in pleasing both casuals and crusty farts. No man is ever in danger of becoming demoralized by more skilled opponents when there is an X-Factor left to triumphantly activate with smug self-assuredness: here comes five bars of jump back Akuma hypers, asshole.

However, there is a large contingent of the faithful, those bleary-eyed morlocks that remained true to the arcade during the Ides of March between CvS2 and Street Fighter 4, that see comeback mechanics and lose interest. These players must not be pushed aside in favor of the arrival of fair weather consumers. The conversion of these come latelies into dependable fans should rightfully be priority one. Following closely behind on that task list is designing games so as to not run off the people that fed you quarters when everyone else slow danced with Master Chief. If America’s new love affair with dive kicks runs its course, who will remain? When Street Fighter II sparked off an over-saturation that eventually saw two dimensional fighting games demoted to novelty status, a core group of fans were the link that allowed these games to return to prominence. Running those very same fans off now means that should we go back to being the video game equivalent of opening for Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth at a county fair, there won’t be a third chance at glory. The guys that kept the homefires burning moved on to... who even knows what a Third Strike arcade goblin does at home.

There is a lot of promise on parade. Quality games are being made. The community is growing. But allowing things to continue as they are will see things slowly fade away, and I don’t think that’s anything anyone wants. Not in the least. Whether you’re one of the folks that would love to see fighting games featured alongside Starcraft or Counter-Strike on the world stage, or you’re a guy that simply wants to have a steady supply of fun fighters until the day you die, we all have an interest in the years to come.

It will be, however, almost impossible to cultivate that potential without addressing the issues at hand. Consider this an intervention. It is 2011. Your game should have the internets, and they should be good. You can’t expect to attract new fans and keep the attention of old ones with a steady diet of dinosaur eggs. It’s time to stop eating the seed corn and put some of it in the ground.

Now, please, someone grab that silver crucifix and help me seal Boon back in his tomb.

 

Reader Comments (27)

"I see developers drunk on the excitement of initial successes that breach expectation, pushing product to the market to exploit a moment as opposed to laying cement for a foundation."

No shit. Great article.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiga-Oh

I hear someone doesn't like MK.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHatman

So what exactly are you proposing: (1) Unlockables/customization; (2) Better netcode/online features; and (3) welcoming newcomers, while not alienating veterans? Developers are aware of all three goals, but many veteran players would dispute the value of points one and three. I do agree that there is a real threat of oversaturation leading to quantity over quality.

And I too am concerned about Boon's ominous revivial, but at the same time morbidly curious.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPB&J

>Social media...there are so many avenues to explore,

lol


>Fighting games need their Modern Warfare moment.

What? "Modern Warfare moment"? Considering MW did almost nothing to make a better FPS but ended up wildly popular because a bunch of frat boys looked its way, I guess you should look a few years ago: SF4.

>unique gimmick mechanic - a cancel/combo extender,

I like how something that can actually add to the possibilities for pressure, mixup, combos, mindgames, etc is a "gimmick" but some shitty unlocking system is "innovation". Cool story, bro.

>if you could unlock an alternate costume for Dante by landing a 100% combo?

Who would care?

>What if using Magneto’s super to land a knock out 50 times allowed you to change some of the properties on that super?

RPG grinding in a fighting game. Fantastic.

>even if Aksys developed a game

I'm pretty sure Aksys just localizes stuff.


Rather well-written, but holy shit you have terrible ideas. We need real innovation, not spewing around some bullshit about RPG mechanics, "social media" and whatever other "JUST ADD WATER" miracle bullshit.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFersh

The only problem I see with the ideas proposed is most of them are already things that seeping into fighting games. They are just in their infancy at the moment.

RPG Elements? Having ranking that tracks win-loss and turns that into player ratings are akin to gaining levels in an RPG. Unlocking titles further serves that same purpose.

Social Media?
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition (Which is going to need a nice acronym for when I have to say the name of this game to my friends aloud) is adding youtube functionality to allow players to share videos with their friends and more.

Building non-traditional fighting game experiences (not two people in a 2 plane with life bars):
-Not expressly, but many would argue Smash Bros is a non-traditional fighting game where the point of the game has been shifted from life to trying to push another player off of a platform--not to mention that it is four players.

So I don't think the ideas as they are invalid they are all, in some form or another, already taking root in the genre but I don't know if they will move as quickly as say FPS games may as the FPS genre has been strong for a good while longer (and the market bears much more of those titles as well as is more welcoming to risk taking).

Also as far as making brand new games as opposed to old games--it's a hard sell for companies when games cost as much as they do to make. Capcom has said in the past that they don't believe an RPG without a deep pedigree can be marketable and that is why they aren't currently planning to do anything with Breath of Fire (which heck, had five games in the series). If you look through the entire gaming industry and not just fighting games you'll find that nearly all the big titles coming out now are sequels/prequels or related to a bigger IP. Not that a new IP can't work, it's just not a thing many companies want to risk.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOverworld

@Fersh

I was feeling the same way you were and thought it was a valid thoughtful response until you channed it up and then insinuated that there's such a thing as "x-factor mindgames" or even "x-factor mixups." Have you played more than 5 rounds of Marvel3?

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjmz

An interesting article, and I think I agree with the sentiment, but sortof light on specifics. It's a lot of calling out, but not a lot of real suggestions.

I do have to admit though, that while I completely meh about SF3:3sOLE, the Youtube integration is a BRILLIANT idea that I hope everyone copies. This whole "Buy a video capture device and hook your laptop up between your 360 and your TV and..." nonsense is absolutely holding us back.

We actually HAVE seen a few honest to goodness NEW entries in the fighting game space in the past few years as well. Okay, Arcana Heart isn't precisely "new" but it's a far cry from doing a Sequel to Darkstalkers, and BlazBlue is at this point only 3 years old and a pretty dang solid game after the last update. None of this stuff is breaking crazy new ground - I still think that the BIGGEST thing keeping the fighting game space from attracting a meaningful amount of new players is the ridiculous "QCF" and "Dragon punch" motions. Most new players aren't really interested in spending hours and hours practicing their execution just so they can beat up their friends online. These motions are dinosaur holdovers from the original Street Fighter (2) where the idea was to suck quarters out of people while they figured them out. They really have very little place in the modern console fighting game, but there are far too many crusty old veterans who would ruthlessly trash any game that dispensed with these (though MK has managed to get away with it a little bit, opting for generally simpler motions) so I don't really know what the options are.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAirk

very well written article. i agree that to preserve and expand the playerbase companies need to improve online gaming.

"Social media, online multiplayer, new peripherals"

By new peripherals do u mean making a complex Bushido Blade style game and duke it out with the Wii controller? If they made the controller and mechanics very precise to reward players with good execution and reflexes and yomi then sure that would be very innovative but not sure the technology is there yet.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhentailogic

Mac hipster alert!This guy ideas are outragious. I feel like im reading an article written by a 40 year old gamestop manager... Kappa

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShitStainedShorts

lol interesting read as always Darry, btw you guys are reading far to much into the Boon thing he was simply pointing out that Ed Boon was basically left for dead and not heard from at all when the 2d fighting game crash happened, and then once the fighting game revival of 08 hit here he is all of the sudden. I mean for real who even knew Ed Boon was still alive till about 2 years ago?

June 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterSpiron

The writing in this article is overly dense for the topic at hand. Really, "the Ides of March between CvS2 and Street Fighter 4?" The word "drought" would have sufficed. Phrases like "the presentation is being fed strawberry-infused air at an oxygen bar when you’re starving" make the article sound like a forced vehicle for the writer's clever wordplay than an article about fighting games.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterisra

This is really about branding. The lack of original games comes from fear that all the time and money put in to a completely new brand will fail. And at this point in the video game industry, there isn't a lot of room for failed experiments.

And with fighting games there aren't a lot of different factors that you can use to distinguish yourself from other games. The most logical choice is to take your strongest existing brand and dominate market share, which is what Capcom, Namco, and WB have done.

Fighting games area niche market. and they go against current gaming interests. Such as being able to play with as many people as possible. Look at what EA is doing with FIFA or Madden. They're trying to mimic the social aspects of going to actual sporting events.

This is what fighting games need to do. Mimic the social aspect beyond a group of friends sitting on a couch. Which is what I think most makers of fighting games are doing.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmplified_Sample

Getting rid of QCF, DP or any special motions is nuthin but dumping down the system. These special motions "use" a portion of human concentration, like when you are buffering for Ultra, DP, option selects...The fact is these motions take significant time to complete is the very foundation in a game like SF4, even if doing Hadoken motion only takes few frames. Easier motions like back+punch specials would lower skill ceiling too low and would result in unexciting entertainment. Many professional sports have casual versions of rules, dumbed down so to speak and nobody wants to play with dumped down rules for long. E-Sports might make it real big in future and if fighting games wants a part of it, developers need to make quality titles with high skill ceiling, not base the foundation on X-Factors for fucks sake. Or would it be more fun playing ice hockey with football goals so there is no need for physical qualities anymore. Fighting games are exciting because of physical execution, if you take away the possibility of a fuck up, like screwing up a combo, there is nothing exciting anymore. Someone has godlike execution but his strategy, footsies and mix-ups suck, while other player has poor execution but is a genius in mindfucking opponent, that creates exciting match because different players have different qualities. Take away that shit and you got monotonous tournament play and online play.

But

I fear developers are already oversaturating the market, they are milking every last drop of fighting game semen already. SF4, year after SSF4, year after MvC3, few months after SSF4:AE, few months after SF3:OE, SFxT is pretty much guaranteed to come in a year and there is already rumors of Super MvC3(and don't forget all the handheld versions for iPhone and 3DS+Vita confirmed)......WTF Capcom this looks like they are copying what Activision did with Guitar Hero. Then what about other companies, T6, BB, MK9 and many more. New Soul Calibur is cumming, possibly TTT2, BB2, possibly new GG, Darkstalkers will cum Capcom is just trolling with it, Namco will release Tekken x SF....and that's only the "BIG" ones. After the fighting game LOAD that cums from SF4 till 2013-14, I see Dark Ages coming, most of the now potential buyers will then own 1-2 fighting games and won't be buying the "SUPER" versions anymore since they've learned it's a neverending shitloop.

I'm fuckin done, now let me tier-whore with Yun.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNOCOMMENT

Agree with Isra. The meaning of this article is obscured by the language used. Keep at it though Darry, your articles are good excuses to have meaningful discussion.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTRobb

I'm inclined to agree with Fersh.

Firstly, while I think innovation and going in new directions would be interesting, look how badly it is looked down upon. Mention Smash Bros. to any street fighter player and you'll likely hear the snobbiest bullshit ever about how it's 'not a fighting game' cause it doesn't work like them. The fighting game community seems completely opposed to anything beyond a new mechanic in an overall familiar system.

Secondly, any sort of grinding is a terrible idea. I think the whole appeal of fighting games is playing against your opponent, not the character. Tier lists aside, nobody wants to lose cause their opponent plays 12 hours a day and has upgraded all his abilities. Not to mention, at a tournament you would lose all these.

Now, allowing visual customization is fine and dandy. Tekken and Virtua Fighter have been doing this for a while, and I like it cause it adds room for some personalization without effecting the core mechanics. (there are a few item moves in Tekken, but they are largely terrible and just for show)

Also, I'm already worried about where the whole industry is going. I feel it's going the way of television... just getting dumber and more fast-paced to keep attention. FPS games, you just sit in a corner for 5 seconds and regain all your health, auto-aim, all this bullshit. RPG's are ditching actual RPG elements and 'streamlining' everything. Fighting games are ditching links and timing, going for just chains and comebacks. I'm not saying things have to be arbitrarily hard with bad interfaces, but give us some fucking credit, we're not morons.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterROGER KLOTZ

A lack of innovation...the problem stems from more than the developers. They give what people want. Really, why we're getting more of the same is because we wouldn't receptive to new ips. The biggest criticism to Blazblue is asking, "Where's Guilty Gear?"

Fighting games themselves are so...character personality based, I think to the point where it overshadows everything else. All those stupid threads on the internet devolve into character want lists. Fighting games are evolving according to that. Mortal Kombat 9 is the best game ever because you have a story mode to learn your favorite character's motivations and personality traits. And now we have bald guy from Grand Theft Auto 4 in Street Fighter x Tekken as a guest character. However, there's a weakness with character rosters as the main appeal. There's only so much you can do with characters. Developers try to make the next sequel with, the same cast plus maybe 4 new faces. It's really easy for people(who aren't looking at the gameplay) to get sick of it.

For a game to truly innovate the genre, it needs to be more than just "street fighter in a different skin". As far as the competitive community is concerned, we aren't willing to try shit outside of Yoshinori Ono's new games, so if there is some game out there that blows it up and becomes Call of Duty status...I think it'll be outside of our personal wants and needs.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDryEyeRelief

Darry, holy fuck dude - you don't need a metaphor in every single sentence.

Just figure out what you're trying to say and say it. That was really painful to read.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMLIOOBE

I agree 100% with Mlioobe. This article probably has some really poignant ideas and observations, but seriously... I could only get through half of it. This article reads like a book in the King James version of the Bible.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersoftfloormat

Stupid ideas in a wall of text?

Pass.

KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. STUPID.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter

Uneducated motherfuckers wouldn't know good writing if it bit them on the ass.


Superb.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

@JMZ

What the fuck? Not all cancel mechanics are x-factor. I'm talking about things like Tag cancel, Rapid Cancel, FADC, Max cancels in KOF, HD Cancel, etc etc. I would never defend significant comeback mechanics.

He didn't say "x-factor", he called any cancel/combo extender a "gimmick". I don't give a shit about marvel, i'm more talking about how calling SF x Tekken's tag cancel a "gimmick" is hilarious. More like "something that adds a new layer of depth to the game."

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFersh

i 100% agree with this article gamers have settled for less this gen u can blatantly see there isn't an appetite from hardcore gamers or pro's for a brand new fighting mechanic, i have several ideas they might seem ridiculous but bear a thought to the ps, dreamcast era think how many crazy fighters came out then and what do we have now? rehashed games. To an earlier poster i have this to say easier or intuitive controls doesn't mean less skill it actually makes games more fun to play if u add depth to your game skill will always come into to play. some of the best games i've played this gen had intuitive controls, also i am a big tekken fan but i stopped playing t6 cause they added nothing to make it a better game just look at the innovation from t1/t2/t3 each game had an amazing jump in terms of game mechanic, graphics and controls t5 was the culmination of those three games. I put the question to peeps out there.. who would be willing to play a new fighting game if ...
1:they were only a cast of ten but the characters had a vast array of moves and incredibly subtle animations?
2:interactive backgrounds that actually didn't look like shit
3:giving people options to toggle things like permanent damage to limbs or being able to turn juggles on and off to avoid alienating peeps?
4:why hasn't anyone made a decent kung fu game? with all the various fighting styles ? i mean it has a certain flow to it when u watch the movies and u play similar characters in games (they have awesome fights) why not push that?

just my two cents great article and gamers shouldn't settle for these games as great as they might be because it's not exactly encouraging these old devs to come up with something new and fresh.

oh and capcom netcode is ass

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteredrigo

Adding retarded RPG mechanics would make a fighting game no better than some garbage MMO (or FPS, Modern Warfare prestige garbage) where you need to invest dozens or hundreds of hours of time to remain competitive.

You know what the first thing competitive tournament organizers do in the face of RPG grinding elements? They ban them.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterderp

Nicely written article, though a bit verbose at times. I loved the BSG reference, however!

I agree with your general point, as I feel that the FG market is heading straight into saturation and another drought, but there are some specifics I really disagree with.

"What if using Magneto’s super to land a knock out 50 times allowed you to change some of the properties on that super?"

No, no, no. A thousand times no. The great thing about fighting games is that no-one starts the fight with an innate advantage over the other. This would be the MMORPG equivalent of grinding for gear, something that most sane people hate. "Grinding" in a fighting game should only be about making your execution better, figuring out match-ups etc.

There's something else I saw in the comments:

">if you could unlock an alternate costume for Dante by landing a 100% combo?

Who would care?"

I would. So would many others. Customization is always a good thing. Although, hasn't VF4/5 already done this to an extend?

This article makes for good food for thought, all in all.

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErdalion

Well written does not equal more similes and metaphors. That was freaking ridiculous. I'm a grad student and I found myself skimming for actual points halfway through.

Someone needs to call an editor, stat.

Gamers have been spoiled by the continual evolution of the media form from the last 40 years. Imagine to live in a time where pong->pac man->SF2->Metal Gear Solid 2->Heavy Rain are each 10 year jumps.

Well, most of the gameplay options have been explored, much like book plots or movie premises. Only small things are truly new, and then publishers have been trying to play with gimmick input devices. Don't worry too much 3D Movies and TV's are doing the same thing.

The fact is that the simple things are enjoyable forever. I can still play mario brothers and have fun. Street Fighter 2 is still fun to play (the revisions though). What made SF4 so successful was that the apple didn't fall too far from the tree (see? sparing use of metaphor)

Same could be said for Mortal Kombat. The gameplay mechanics work. And they are fun and competitive. The author is semi suggested we should all get into the next generation Wii Boxing or something.

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenegade

You bring up some interesting points for discussion. I'm a little LTTP but I'll throw in my 2c.

SF4 is much like Halo: CE if we are going to compare genres. It revived a scene for the new generation and helped bring new people in. What did it really do to innovate the genre itself, though? Nothing. It kept things simple, went back to basics. The PC had 10 years of shooter evolution, with titles like Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Tribes, Counterstrike... How could you innovate in a space with these titles? Bungie proved that in order to bring a new generation into a genre, you have to go back to basics. Halo: CE paved the way for a title like Modern Warfare. Much like SF4 is paving the way for future entries into the fighting genre.

Do we need a whole slew of unlockables and an RPG-like system to keep this genre alive? No. I feel that our innovation and evolution is coming at a steady pace. SFxT will have co-op fighting (not confirmed, but look at how it's designed, why wouldn't it?), what kind of innovation would competitive 2v2 fighting bring? (Mortal Kombat already has this, but imo its poorly implemented.)

I'm not saying we keep looking at Capcom for our evolution, either. They need competition in order to fight for our dollar. You can already see that companies recognize a market rich for exploitation, the new UFC game is going to focus on tournament level gameplay. It's a double edged sword, though. Too much competition and you risk over saturation (again).

On the topic of quality netcode and features - I dont think this is something that needs to really be discussed in full. There are going to be missteps in games (MvC3 online, ugh), its how developers grow. I'd also like to say that the industry is not short on ideas, its short on suits who value those ideas. The biggest way we can show companies we care is with our dollar. Want GGPO? New IPs? RPG unlockables? Invest in these ideas with your dollar.

Is the fighting game scene ready for Modern Warfare success? Do we really want it? More importantly, can this genre even have that level of success? There are valid arguments for both answers to these questions.

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEzekiel Xerxes

This article sux. No information... no suggestions..... minority exploitation and did you guys notice how many food references there are in this? Dude I can paraphrase your whole thing in one sentence here. "Me don't know what gaming industry is....also cake and uh make a gay joke and uh carbohydrates."

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDBP Jaedpact
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