Balance became a hot button topic with SFIV and SSFIV, some claiming that in pursuit of balance Capcom was damaging the game. The debate over this raged on, and then took a very different turn when Ono was reported having said this:
And the debate rose up again.
Recently I came across notes from Zhan Ye, a leading game designer who runs Free-to-play games in China. His job essentially is to not only to get people to play games, but to get people to pay for what is otherwise a free game. He illustrates some “old and outdated” notions that need to be abolished so this can be actively achieved, one of these being Fairness.
Now I have never had the liberty of living in an area that had a viable arcade, but can easily see the correlation between arcades and pay-to-play games. At the very least, the designer has the same role in both: how do I get someone to continue to pay to play this game, or pay to play it in the first place.
This design philosophy of intentional unfairness has lead to a great success in China for Zhen, but, does this work in the arcade setting as well? And what of the competitive community, much of the complaints about the lack of powerful and exciting options in SSFIV, thus leading to a boring game might stem from the apparent lack of conflict that the inherent fairness has brought, according to Zhen’s design ideas.