Fighting Games Radio Interview and the future of fighting game Expansions

So I while listening to the Fighting Games Radio Interview, UltraDavid made a very interesting comment/observation of fighting games that secretly or not so secretly impact all of us. I’m paraphrasing, but his comment was basically about fighting game companies feeling obligated to change the way every single character plays to justify people buying their next expansion. This is done more so on the casual level, because if a player could play their character the same way between both iterations, they would feel they were paying for essentially the same game. The side effect of this is that people’s favorite characters, and/or characters the community feels are very solid on a competitive level end up getting massively changed every iteration of the game, whether that change is warranted it or not.

Normally this would not be considered an issue, any old school player will tell you that’s simply how the way things have always been. However the new phenomenon of more frequent updates, and drastic changes is having a larger impact on the competitive scene more than ever before. I don’t think this is affecting any one game, it’s definitely noticeable in Street Fighter, Marvel, Mortal Kombat, Tekken and now Blazblue is getting a new balance update, so hopefully this thread is in it’s proper place.

Anyway, I really want to know how players are reacting to this trend, how they feel the rate of the changes is helping or hurting themselves, their games, or the future of fighting games in general. I personally was hoping that designers would eventually reach that strong level of balance and then stop, and possibly move on to another project. However that ideal doesn’t seem to be profitable or even realistic anymore. How do you guys feel?

I’ll probably have something to say about the issue but I want to listen to the whole podcast 1st.

I hear Viper hasn’t changed much.

From a competitive player stand point, it will be much harder to be high level in multiple games at the same time. With the amount of competition now, compared to 2008 and even before that, you are going to see even more specialists and less playing multiple games at a high level. Of course, specialists have always outnumbered multi-game players, but there were players that were high level in multiple games. Now, it will be a lot harder to maintain that level across multiple games.