Do fighting games fall into a vicious circle?


#1

Street Fighter 4, an unicorn, a myth, a hope for the whole beatem up players community.

Years of waiting but Capcom doesnt even announced a new version of its famous game.

Sf serie was one the best success in the videogame history, it changed the genre and it gave Capcom international fame and huge profits.

Then why the Japanese software house refuses to produce another version of Sf?

The answer is complex.

After Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, players/customers asked for more, they wanted a new game that had to be spectacular. The solution was easy: combos and more combos.

Sf Alpha was born. Anime graphics to attract younger audience (and fresh money) and a gameplay redefined. In St specials, supers and combos were hard to pull off due to small inputs windows. So strictly timings were abandoned and it was introduced a new combo system based on chains. The players only needed to mash rapidly the buttons to perform large combos, previously very complicated to achieve.

Combos focus gameplay changed it all.

That philosophy was followed in the X-Men beatem up, the first of the Marvel serie. Cartoon looking of the characters, super motion movements simplified, development of chains and introduction of complex air combos (juggles use was an innovation of the Mortal Kombat saga).

The peak of combo-centric games was reached in Killer Instinct. To finish the game it was imperative to be able to remember and mechanically execute complicated movements that led to long combos formed by dozens and dozens of hits.

Capcom had to adapt to the combo coolness and released Sf Alpha 2. People asked for more powerful and easy to use characters? The unbalanced Akuma became directly playable. Chain combos were removed? Instead of them players obtained a new method to customize their own combos. Of course this system defined the base of the gameplay.

Maybe Killer Instict showed the limits of combo abuse, anyway Capcom decided to get back to beatem up roots.

Successful three-dimensional games demonstrated that people liked realistic fights, in other words hand to hand combats.

Fireball centric gameplay (never adopted by Snk) was abandoned. Projectiles lost speed and power. The game was slowed down, Ryu and Ken (theorically) werent the main characters, a new protagonist (with charging moves, no fireballs and even a 360 super!) and a new final bad boss.

A new beginning which was obtained with a return to past. Only one pickable super, even air hurricane gone. And most important no more custom combos.

However the reality was more complex than the appearances. Custom combos remained in a characters unbalanced super art. And combos were not only still there but a new step in their evolution was reached: the possibility to cancel a special into a super. Another huge innovation was the parry system, useful to eliminate any fireball temptation and essential in a hand to hand gameplay.

The qualities and limits of Sf3 had already shown in the first issue of the serie. Why try to hit if everything, even the most powerful attacks (as Daigo will demonstrate years later), were beatable? Besides, because of the introduction of dashes (a Snk inspiration), there was no need to jump in anymore. Therefore the game became a mid-light punches/kicks festival: high priority blows, the only ones quite safe, connected with supers.

Nothing really changed with Sf3, and Sf Alpha 3 was the evidence of it. Custom combos were improved and transformed into v-combos and the related mode became the essence of the game. V combos were only counterable with other v combos and the Alpha counters were used, maybe remembering Killer Instinct, as combo breakers. The discovery of techniques that allowed to overcome the juggle limits made the situation worse.

Sf3 evolution didnt get better, St balance was a lost chimera. In Third Strike, the definitive issue of the serie, Akuma came back but gamers preferences changed. Aside Ken (thanks to his three easy to combo supers and his many options, gained since St, in hand to hand fights) and Yun (who could abuse his v combo super without fearing any type of counters) the new public favorite was another comeback character, Chun Li, with her excessive ranges, insane priorities and a powerful kick super.

In the Capcom vs Snk, the final step (until now) in the combo structure: the possibility to cancel a super into another super. V combos werent forgotten and for the umpteenth time they acquired the lead role in the game.

The previous analysis can help to understand the actual beatem up situation. In order to sell or to draw the attention of arcades players (at least in Japan, where arcades still has a decent part in markets) a new fighting game has to present an outstanding aspect.

Aesthetics first, the graphics have to be amazing, the special effects are fundamental to be noticed even if they create confusion. And the graphic design has to improve with every generation. Guilty Gear and 3d beatem ups are clear examples of this conception.

Apart from design, even the gameplay has to be awesome: therefore it has to be based on combos. The longer the combos the better visibility.

But from this point the problems arise.

Years ago combos were a plus, they were important but not the essential part of the game. The fact that Killer Instinct only lasted two issues was not an accident: excessiveness will always be punished.

But the example was forgotten and software houses took the easiest path without considering that a fighting game which relies too much on large combos risks to become mechanical and, most important, boring.

Casual gamers who are unable to execute long combos cant be competitive even at low levels. Then they will abandon the game or they wont even try to play it.

And experienced players who potentially have the skills to learn complicated combos but they dont accept the exaggerated robotic combos mentality are excluded too or, in other words, they refuse to play.

As a consequence the game will lose audience or buyers, it will be considered a bad investment and the software house will avoid a new version or it will change genre.

The vicious circle presents the worse effects especially in 2d sphere, since these games cant rely on realistic moves or photorealistic graphics (pretended by the majority of players nowadays) that 3d fighting games have.

Therefore its not astonishing the absence of a Street Fighter 4. And its not even a surprise that Capcom decide to release, forgetting the arcade market (another sign that time goes by), a remake of Super Turbo, whose only innovation is a questionable cartoon graphics in high definition to please younger customers with their brand new consoles and big lcd or plasma displays.

These days a videogame has to be updated even before the first launching: St is still played professionally in its original 1994 form. The Anniversary Edition only served to remember the hard path towards the semiperfect balance between different types of characters reached by St, the fifth version of Sf2. No excessive combos or juggles allowed. Precise and inflexible timings that make difficult to execute not only the supers but also the special moves.

In conclusion substance instead of form, a lesson that nowadays seems forgotten.


#2

To be honest the reason that SF4 doenst exist isnt too complicated: The rights of the game are now by Capcom USA, so thats it…

But whats the point of this? are you saying that the only way that the genre can “resurrect” to the mainstream public is by making a ultra-easy combo system? because thats sounds too lazy.

All fighting games got unbalanced things (even Super Turbo), but what the hell, the competitive feeling is still on the air even to these days.


#3

No. The reason why SF4 does not exist is because no one really cares about 2D fighters anymore, besides the small niche groups.

If Capcom thought the majority of gamers out there wanted to see it, and it would be a cash cow for them, they’d have made it long ago. That is not the case.


#4

why the hell do people keep asking for sf4


#5

Thats kinda contradictory since Japan sees all kinda fighters nowaday. Probably because the development talent has spread to the four winds and Capcom is focusing on next gen. Theres always Basara tho…


#6

STORY


#7

This is my pet peeve, as well. Capcom can make new 2d games (Basara) that have nothing to do with SF and they’ll do fine.

Why do character have to be re-used before somebody is interested in the IP? I applaud Capcom for going a new way. I, personally, don’t care if I ever see SF4 as long as there are other good 2d fighters.


#8

My pet peeve is that every new fighting game must play like 3rd Strike…

:confused:

If you want to play 3rd Strike,then play 3rd Strike dammit!


#9

Too bad they all play like Guilty Gear…:rofl:


#10

in reality the world doesn’t care about street fighter 4,only the U.S cares.


#11

Aren’t we waiting the same way everyone did between SFII (and its multiple iterations) and SFIII. People got happy: “SF3 is here!”. Then we got more iterations of SFIII (considerably less than SFII did, thank God), and now we wait again. The cycle is made up mostly of the wait. We’ll never like the wait, but it’s gonna be here for a while (99.723423% chance SF4 will come out eventually)…


#12

I can has sf4?


#13

lol at the join dates of everyone in this thread discussing the history/follies of 2d fighting. the emphasis on “combos”(especially citing killer instinct as the main example) is grossly overstated in this loose-ended diatribe. if you look to any game that is viewed as combo-oriented you will find that controlling space on the screen becomes a more important factor than landing a hit that leads to an eventual combo. not to be overly harsh on OP… you do have a lot of points correct, but viewing all of the titles you tried to tackle so one-dimensionally will lead to a lot of dissenting views on what each game is really about(seeing as mostly everyone will claim that their fav. game on the list is either misunderstood or inherently better/deeper than everything else). all in all… next time you try writing on this topic i’d suggest approaching it more like a term paper, otherwise you are just asking for shit from all angles.


#14

I play fighters and shmups exclusively. They’ve been my two favourite genres since I was old enough to peek over a control panel and see an arcade monitor.

Both suffer the same fate: hardcore vs casual gaming. The hardcore crowd want games to be more and more complex, with more difficult input, more skill required. Look at shmup companies like Cave who essentially aim only at the hardcore crowd, delivering games like Mushihime Sama:
[media=youtube]ho_vR6gaIDA[/media]

Average Joe Sixpack doesn’t stand a chance. I’ve got mates who refuse to even try that game,

ST, as mentioned, requires tight timing and lots of practice. There’s rarely a GOOD ST player who hasn’t had quite some years of practice behind them in ST, or similar games (many of us made the jump from HF to ST back in the day, having all the experience of the previous game already).

The problem with that is hardcore games alienate casual gamers. And like it or not, money is not made from the 1% hardcore crowd, but from the 99% casual crowd. If you can’t make a game that is easy to pick up and rewards gamers within a few minutes/hours of gameplay, chances are in this fickle, zero-attention-span ADD-stricken world that your game just simply won’t get play time, and that means no money, and no more games in the future.

I certainly don’t like the way fighting games are headed, but I can at least understand why they are headed that way. The almighty buck rules developers and publishers, and that’s where the games are focussed - at whichever crowd bring in the biggest bucks. Most here would laugh at Soul Calibur III, and there’s the typical anti-SSB on these forums all the time. But like it or not, those games at a retail level are pulling in the big bucks compared to more “obscure” titles.

Doujin and homebrew titles can sometimes fill that void. Certainly for shmups they do. But it seems that new homebrew fighters are all becoming very much the same (everything seems to be yet another Melty Blood clone at the moment on the Doujin scene).

Being a hardcore gamer in a limited genre is tough. The world doesn’t cater to the likes of you. It caters to the EA-sports playing button mashers who really don’t want to try hard to enjoy their games. That’s not intended as an insult either. Each to their own. But simply put by sheer volume, the casuals outweigh the hardcores by a massive amount, and that’s where the talented programmers and publishers are going to try and make a living.

While I don’t like it, I certainly can’t blame them. I’ve got kids and a mortgage too, and I work not because I love it, but because I have to.


#15

^^^

You are correct sir.


#16
:pray:	:pray:	:pray:

Everything important to say has been said. The analysis is, albeit simplified, perfectly true and covers most if not all of the issue.

Thanks, I missed clever posts.

On a side note this post is a thread killer (well, except for trolls, scrubs… and bored srkers :rolleyes:)


#17

You sure do, Billy.


#18

And really…whats the point?

“Oh look, it’s a new street fighter game where half the cast is unplayable due to complex moves! Half the gaming public will be scrubs, only three characters will be top tier and only Japanese gamers will master the entire damn branch”

Thats how it’s been with most street fighter games and quite frankly I think thats enough. Practically EVERYONE loves Smash and Marvel fighters due to it’s open accessibility to all characters where as SF games require specific timing as the SF games are such huge turtle fests and most of the characters moves require EXTREME timing to get them right or else you get to eat a lovely combo.

Sometimes I think thats the reason it’s better off that we dont have an SF4, it’ll grant the same things with little innovation while removing some things people liked (or just put said things to certain characters IE V-ism to Yun and Yang alone) and fans’ll probably bitch about the new characters and get stuck on one while a few shoto’s who play like Ken majorly will get more game time than the rest of the cast.


#19

3rd Strike is perfectly balanced. Therefore nobody wants SF4 and just wants to play 3S forever.


#20

With all due lack of respect, Your Trollness, I have a few objections.

  1. If it requires extreme timing how the fuck does your opponent performs the lovely combo…:rolleyes:

  2. Either you talk of Marvel Nemesis (who knows…) or you’ve never played ANY 2D marvel or you’d know they are certainly not the most accessible games ever and they more or less have the same timing requirements as other valuable 2D fighters.

  3. I love KMGP for its relative accessibility and its rewarding aspects whether you’re a beginner or a cancelling bitch… yet I hate Smash. I do admit it’s far from being a bad game but I just don’t find any appeal in it and I certainly don’t find it intuitive when it comes to playing beyond mashing, but then again I fail at normal life :looney:

  4. SF games are not a turtlefest I’m afraid, they are simply games (like 90% of valuable fighters) who punish heavily those who don’t want or know how to guard, which must be your case given your speech. It’s true guard is for weaklings and oily bastards taking advantage of a lag in your overall mashfest :arazz:

  5. Do you get paid for being exploring unknown levels of retardness?