Fighting games as a whole still have serious design flaws that need to be addressed


Long time reader, first time poster.

I really enjoy fighting games and I’m sure most of you reading this do, too. (If you don’t, then I’d really like to know why you’re here.)

Anyway, it frustrates me to see developers making the same mistakes over and over in their titles. So I’ve outlined them all here:

It’s a bit of a read, but I think you’ll find it to be accurate and worth your time. Not only does the analysis highlight several problems of the genre, but it also provides realistic solutions developers could easily implement into their titles.

"After years of absence, the fighting game genre has triumphantly recovered from almost dying out entirely. "


You’re not a long time reader :confused:

This statement killed my expectations, I’ll read the rest of it for the fuck of it.

Good read for although commonly well known points, should be more obvious to FG developers for sales.

This is some entry-level shit that is glaringly out of touch. Your article is about marketing and not design. Go register on some other website to fish for blog hits.


Like X said, You fail to acknowledge the large number of fighting games that came out during SF’s absence.

Your credibility was ruined from the very beginning of the essay.

Well it’s not like that actually has a bearing on the rest of his points, which are really fairly conservative.

“Like X said, You fail to acknowledge the large number of fighting games that came out during SF’s absence.”

I thought about including more commentary on Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Dead or Alive, Smash, and Soul Calibur, and while they have all been commercial successes, I have found that few of them have gained the widespread attention Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and the Marvel Vs titles have. EVO’s biggest titles were these three, so I made them the focus.

I would content that the same problems outlined (poor job at teaching players the game, failure to include gameplay modes that have less pressure) apply to all these titles as well.

Nobody who isn’t super into fighting games gives a shit about 99% of those. The whole point of the article was that it’s tough to get into fighters as a noobie because of the huge learning curve and amount of dedication / research that’s involved. Basics should be explained explicitly. The whole “shopping cart of moves” point was spot on.

Same could be said about any Genre of games taken to a competitive level.

All I saw basically was…

  • Make fighting games a dumbed-down E-Sport.
  • Have developers and programmers be the best players of their own games in order to make high caliber tutorials.
    Which is a statistical impossibility with fighters with more variable combos like MB, GG, MvC, and the like. While on the other side, is just plain old busywork that bites into actual development with most 3D fighters and ruins the illusion that the majority of moves you have aren’t be purely situational.
  • Everything should have Co-Op, everything.
  • MK brought the innovation of 2v2. Its not like Fatal Fury did Co-Op first and Capcom has had 2/3v in Alpha/EX/Marvel/vsSNK since FOREVER.
  • The implication that all of the doujin/indie scene was not relevant until Skullgirls.

And the best part is that fighting games as a whole are ALREADY dumbed down.
I see lack of competent single player from more major companies being a problem but most of it is just the exact opposite problem, shrinking down the bar in a competitive game.

EDIT: Wait wait wait, if you fuse Melee and VF4, that’s basically your ultimate game, yet you think all of the lesser known titles have the same problems?


Popped into the Chess thread awhile back; still don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Also, I fail to see why 2v2 is relevant. I have yet to see a 2v2 MK9 tournament. It doesn’t help you learn the game and most competitors would rather play solo in an competitive environment.

I have no interest in reading that article once I saw what it was about, but one thing, that I feel is pretty important, is that this is a false statement:

They really, really don’t. Nothing about fighting games is comparable in comprehensive knowledge to competitive RTS’s. The more advanced FPS’s that are worth talking about tend to have really esoteric and complicated strategies going on. Fighting games are very simple.

What is true is that, at low average joe levels, they require more knowledge than your opponent to beat them. Two guys who don’t know what they’re doing can mash against one another and be competitive with one another. Two guys that have looked up combos on youtube and understand 2-in-1’s, reversals etc. can still be competitive against one another. However, in a good fighting game, if one guy knows more basic information than the other, they stand a greater chance of winning. This is depth, and the sign of a good game. Afterall, how ridiculous would it be if the more knowledgable, better player didn’t have an advantage.

I mean, take SF2. That game predates the massive amounts of resources available on the internet, but it was still stupidly successful and popular in its day. Its because people could still have fun within their local arcade scene, and if someone had exclusive knowledge they could teach it to you.

The fact is that it has never been easier to learn advanced strategies in fighting games, and combined with relatively low execution barriers in modern fighting games, true newbies, people who have no idea how to play, get mashed into paste. The average non-competitive random is probably way better in SF4 online than a SF2 arcade.

There’s also the question: does the average random SF player want to know move properties and intermediate strategies? Or do they want to mash buttons and win roughly 50% of the time and have a good time? Because the thing is, if you want to get good, there’s more than enough resources available.

The developer’s job is to make the best game he can make and the marketing guy’s job is to make it sell, not the other way around.
If the game itself needs to change (and it’s usually for the worse) in order to be more marketable, it’s a “marketing copout”. It’s basically ‘cheating’.

I got the impression that in some Japanese companies they have a team for the game itself (they make arcade games) and a different team responsible for porting the game and making a console version. So they make the mods and the casual crap without butting in in the crucial stage of designing the core game.

Gentlemen, here is a thread containing a link to my opinions.

What the FUCK are you talking about? All of these things are still problems on the design level, because the issue is essentially just that the games aren’t accessible. People are having bad experiences playing the game; solving that kind of problem is basically all a designer does.

I’d like to take a moment and reply to everyone’s comments.

The new tutorial modes aren’t aimed at teaching players to become good at a “competitive level,” just enough so they can enjoy the game at an entry level.

I’m not sure how you came to this conclusion. Although I made an explicit comparison to SCII, I did not endorse the dumbing down of any gameplay mechanics and gave no endorsement of input shortcuts or the changing of any fundamental gameplay mechanics.

Not exactly. I’m not suggesting high caliber tutorials, just basic ones that explain the game. I use Phoenix Wright as an example–his mechanics, particularly his gathering of evidence to reach different modes, is not explained to the player at all. But character-specific explanations aren’t the only thing lacking. Why doesn’t the game explain what the difference between a cancel and a link?

I feel fighting games should include it as an option, yes. It shouldn’t be the main feature, but I feel its presence would be beneficial for the genre as a whole.

I did not imply anywhere that MK9 did that. I stated it was the first major title in recent history to include it, but note that Smash and DOA as earlier examples.

I’ll admit, I didn’t play Fatal Fury or SF EX or Vs SNK. I honestly have no idea how I forgot Alpha’s co-op options.

The tag options in Marvel don’t apply here, as its always ONE person controlling ALL the characters per side.

The team play isn’t really for tournament or high level play, but as a “learning area”.

I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure how you reached this.

Yes, that’s mentioned in the write-up.

I’ll admit, the opening about fighting games “dying out” entirely may have been a tad overly dramatic, but the titles released during that “drought” period didn’t seem to make a big a splash with the general public as large as the recent “return of the genre” has.

pretty telling that “Slamtastic” liked the OP post lmao

“HEY GUIZE, THIS MY FIRST POST!!!1” Nobody gives a fuck. And I stopped reading what you wrote after I saw that.

I’m going to attempt to be constructive. Fair warning, I’m blunt.

"No Pressure"
Check out VF4 Evo Quest Mode. This mode is my favorite single player thing in a fighting game outside of a sound test. It tries to emulate real life by giving you “arcades” to go to play other “players”. I think the AI was based on human players to an extent. There was a lot of stuff to collect and unlock (stickers, prizes [G or items to wear], orbs, in game challenges) and they had a few different modes outside of the standard VF play like SeeSaw (both opponents start at half life and you gain life when you dealt damage), lightning battle (game was faster and moves cancelled into other moves).

It’s great because isn’t typical “story mode”, it tries emulates the VF arcade experience.

"The Lives of Others"
Interesting. I would bring up team battle and team tourneys but you seem to be talking about playing together at the same. You’d probably know what I’ll mention about how fighting games are meant to be like “1-on-1” fights like boxing/bloodsport/martial arts/etc. but that’s not really a reason. I’m not saying not to try, but the genre is not like RTS or FPS where it’s inspired by squad/military, which are naturally cooperative.

"Simon Says"
VF4 Evo solved this, Skullgirls is going to do it again.



“Every title in the ‘Super Smash Bros’ franchise, including the humble Nintendo 64 debut, contains a short instructional video that covers the basics of the game. Why hasn’t the competition done the same?”

What? That little demo showing what each button does and special actions was in some (most?) arcade fighters. It’s a shame these kind of died, I still like to leave a game running at the “PRESS START” screen to see if there’s any videos. Console games come with manuals in the case (I’m guessing I’m one of the few who still read/look through them before putting the game in system).

"Fight For the Future"
Obvious statements are obvious. Yes, we’ve pointed out that fighting games are like the last genre that don’t include anything tutorial and probably the genre that needs it the most and yes, it’s been pointed out there is much in the way of casual appeal.

Tacked on MP in shooters is annoying, I hate the “shooters need MP” thing people believe. Multiplayer is great but single player experiences are great too.

My own opinion on this “design flaws”:

Half of VF4 Evo should be the standard in terms of tutorials/instructing users.

Casual fluff would be nice, like character profiles, unlockable art, sound test (<3), challenges, story mode, etc.


Online needs to improve cough GGPO cough. Still seems like online is put in as an after thought or consoles+fighters+online is just not mixing right now. We’ll see when Skullgirls drops, a game made to be played on GGPO from the start.

Next gen, I’m hoping FG developers pressure MS/Sony to allow them more freedom. I really like how a GGPO lobby is set up, where you can challenge or spectate whoever is in there. It would cool to make a room with like 8/16/24/32 people and be able to challenge who ever is free or just chat up. Maybe we’ll see this in the near future though…