Future of 2D fighting games

Heres an article i wrote awhile back, which created some pretty heated discussion. Anyway i thought some of the flamers on here might enjoy ripping it apart. I honestly can’t say if i will reply to anything said, as i spent way too much time last time defending it so i might just let you guys have last laughs. I know this has been done before, but the thread i was looking to post this is has been closed.


When you ask people “What do you think is the future of 2D Fighting Games?”. The Reply you’ll most likely get is Guilty Gear. Thats a perfectly reasonable answer. At the moment Guilty Gear is having alot of success. It’s the most popular 2D Fighting game in the arcades in Japan, and hardcore fighting game players all over the world are starting to jump on board. Also new 2D fighter’s are adopting the same style as it, fast paced, combo heavy, overly complex, anime graphics/visuals.

However I can see problems going down this path. This new breed 2D fighter may work in the Eastern part of the world, where anime is cool and massive player bases. But in the western world i think these overly complex fighters are scaring people away.

Take Guilty Gear for example. It has such a complex game system, its not the sort of game someone new to it can just pick up and play. Take the total fighting game noob (someone who never really played any kind of fighting game at all), they see Guilty Gear they think it looks cool, wouldn’t mind giving it ago. You’d probably scare them off before you even got anywhere past explaining all the gauges on the screen and what they do. And the worrying thing is, i can only see Guilty Gear getting more complex overtime, with new updates. And its little friends will also no doubt try and stay on top of the competition.

I like to think that 2d Fighters has kind of reached a peak with complexity by now. Fighter’s have got more and more complex over the years, cause they have needed to. After the SF2 games era, games got a lot more combo heavy, to the point where the games go ridiculous such as mvc2. So games like Guilty Gear had to change the psychics in thier games from previous fighters to stop things like infinites. Which makes the game more complex, as the player has to think of new and interesting ways of continuing to combo thier opponents.

But this sort of fighter really isn’t doing us any good as far as attracting new players, these complex fighters only really cater for the hardcore scene. Players who have been playing fighting games for years and need something new and more complex to challenge them and keep it interesting. Now this is not a problem in Japan since they have a very healthy arcade scene with many players. But when it comes to western world, our scenes are really small when compared. With each new game coming from Japan less and less players are playing it, as they are not catered for us. Even though anime is popular here, anime by most people in the Western World is just looked upon like another cartoon, something for kids. Then the games are extremely complex, instantly making people think “WTF is this all about? this game looks weird and is too hard”

I often play Tekken with a casual group of friends. They got little to no idea what the hell they are doing, just the next step beyond random button mashing, i guess you would call that educated button mashing. But the point is they get alot of fun out it, without ever the need to really learn the game. Now i know this is what seperates us from the casuals gamers, but if a game is so complex in the first place to not get many casual players, then the only real place players are coming from are from other fighters. Leaving us in a state of just recycling players over and over again. But players get older, they get more important things in their lives to do and drop out of the scene. Will this continue untill no one is left?

Lets go back to the days of SF2. You could jump, move forwards, backwards, and crouch. You had 3 punch buttons and 3 kick buttons. You could block and you could throw. Its the sort of the game which is easy to play, but hard to master. Games like Guilty gear are hard to play, and even harder to master. You could probably sit down with a total fighting game noob, and teach em how to play SF2 in 2 minutes. “Thats your health bar up, This is how you block, this is how you throw, and this how you do that special move”. Then take guilty gear “thats your health bar, thats your tension bar, thats burst gauge, thats your…” Interrupted by noob “hold on a sec what are these other 2 bars”. You haven’t even gotten to what the buttons do yet.

But its not like these complex fighters are the only ones avaliable. There are other fighters being which are nowhere near as complex, such as NGBC. But why arent we playing it? Well one theory is that if the Japanese aren’t crazy about it, then we aren’t playing it (I realise people do play NGBC in Japan, but its nowhere near the scale of say GGXX and 3s). Players in my eyes, are far too worried about what the japanese are playing rather playing what they like. But hey, Japan is a credible place to copy. They got the heathliest arcade scene, they got the best players, there are loads of match vids of them so we can steal thier tactics, so why shouldn’t we play what they are playing.

Now comes the tricky part. What do tournament organisers run at events. It’s hard for them to decide what games should be supported. Do you go with what you know will get good turnouts, or do you go with something abit risky, but has the potential to attract a load of players…

What you fail to mention is that you don’t have to understand every aspect of a game to start playing it. In the case of guilty gear, just tell the noobs how to move around and what buttons do what. Tell them they have a health bar and a super bar. Let them start playing and get use to only those things.

Now after awhile you tell them about bursting. As more time goes by and they feel more confident you tell them about faultless defense etc etc etc.

I’ve seen some casuals play guilty gear and they seem to have fun with it. They just have no chance at all against anyone who knows how to really play, which is like most fighting games.

Also, I’m not sure about others but I don’t follow japan blindly. I play what I enjoy the most.

By the year 2010, every game even remotely associated with the fighter genre will only be:

  1. 3-D
  2. Guilty Gear or a GG clone
  3. Smash or a Smash clone
  4. Button mashing Shonen Jump manga game #1230243

Agreed. I’ve just recently gotten back into Guilty Gear. I have fun with it, despite not having nearly the mastery I do with any given Capcom or SNK game. The fact that I use Chip primarily speaks volumes. If you don’t have any nearby high-level players, the chances are you won’t be playing at a high level yourself. If you are, you’ll dominate, and that’s perfectly fine, too.

I don’t see a lot of problems associated with complex gameplay being available to you, especially when you can still play without being a pro right off the bat. GG is accessible to the average gamer. It’s not nearly my favorite, but I’m glad it’s there. I’m glad it might generate interest in a genre which is largely dead. The idea of someone playing the latest SNK fighter and likening it to GG isn’t so repellant to me.

I think there is going to be a trend towards less execution-intensive games. That doesn’t mean technical depth, but it means more stuff like Smash or Soul Calibur (not that these games lack depth, but they are less execution-intensive) then games like Guilty Gear. I’m starting to see the beginnings of a backlash against GG-type games locally- that may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but who knows.

The reason casuals get into GG is due to the anime stuff though- generally, the fighting game casual fan and anime fan do cross-mingle a lot. Look at anime cons if you need proof- hell, I’ve seen a few legit top tier players at anime cons. I think the anime stuff does more good for GG then bad.

I think SNK games will always be a haven for those who think fighters have gone too far. Sure it’s closer to being the things that Capcom fans dislike (anime, some effeminate characters) but it tends to retain a lot of oldskool fighter philosophy.

Also who knows if you told people when SF2 or Mortal Kombat 2 came out that this was the types of things that would permeate (games like Arcana, Melty and the like) they’d laugh at you. So in the next ten years there’s all kinds of chances that the trends will swing and different types of games come out.

These threads were entertaining up to the 20th time I read them.
Please continue.

Some good points so far. I had a bad feeling i was gonna get flamed like there was no tomorrow. I may have to do a follow-up at this rate.

This phenomenon has been discussed and analyzed at length with regards to pretty much every game genre. It’s the ongoing challenge of the videogame industry.

sf is anime and has girly characters

As fucking stupid as this sounds, I hope ST HD does well.

Well this is what it is…

I know, I agree with you, but most complaints I hear about loli, and characters like Ash come from Capcom fans, so I’m thinking that they don’t consider it the same as how it’s utilized in non-capcom games.

Kick in the ass for the 2D genre or Street Fighter’s last gasp? We report, you decide.

Really, the 2D genre is a 90s anachronism. This IS the future of 2D fighting games–a niche market with constantly waning support in the industry.

Not that I like it. It sucks.

Arcana Heart.

Sengoku Basara X

its only a niche market in america

hell guilty gear is one of the highest selling ps2 games in japan, let alone one of the highest grossing in arcades. most 2d fighters make the top 100 in sales in japan per year that are good on console, and a lot of them are the highest grossing small cabinet games. sf3 is something like the 6th most profitable non gimmick game and its 8 years old.

Where do I begin? 2D fighter’s aren’t “dead”, but they are “dying”, in a sense. The market is in the state its in because of the developers. The fanbase is there.

Hell, the 2D genre is alive and kicking, thanks to games on handheld platforms, and then even the Nippon Ichi titles like Disgaea, etc. Then you have the Doujin groups and companies, still pumping games of all types in 2D out. Then theres the arcade market (much stronger overseas, obviously) for the 2D Shoot-em-ups. So, 2D in itself, is far from dead. It’s the fighter’s that are in trouble, and have been in trouble for years now.

2D fighters won’t last long as long as developers continue to do what they are doing now. Someone needs to tell Capcom USA, that releasing a “pretty” port of an old ass fighter for the 20th time, wont do much for us in the long run.

I disagree with saying with that “overly complex” fighters like guilty gear are scaring people away. First because I don’t think any fighting games have really gotten to the point where they are overly complex, I think a game like guilty gear is just catered to a different audience. Saying guilty gear is “overly complex” is trying to fault the developers of the game rather than ourselves; just because we want easier, simplified gameplay. Also the modern “casual gamer” is rather shallow when it comes to video games, we all know the snes and genesis are full of classic games but tell a “casual gamer” to play Actraiser and they’ll laugh at you because its 2D and doesn’t offer online multi-player. Fighting games take time, patience and lots of practice to get good at; the “casual gamer” just wants to be able to spam buttons and win, they want to be good at a game without have to put forth any effort.

I think the bigger problem is the lack of exposure fighting games get outside of arcades. Just as an example I had never really been interested in fighting games up until about last november, before then I had no idea there was even a third Street Fighter; if you would have asked me about the King of Fighters I would have given you a blank stare. It’s not like I haven’t ever played a fighting game before, I had owned SC2, and GGX for the ps2 and before that I had a copy of sf2 for my snes. My ignorance of the fighting games can be contributed to the fact that there are no arcades within a reasonable distance for me to play at nor was there any major coverage of them in the gaming magazines that I read. In general 2d fighting games don’t get any attention outside of arcades and websites and communities devoted to them. Just compare how much attention fighting games get versus high profile titles like Final Fantasy or Zelda?

To hell with guilty gear, Hokuto no Ken 2 is the future! Whenever the hell it gets released.

Hopefully in addition to non-broken gameplay we’ll also get: Shu, Ryuga, Juuza, Sanga, Seji, and Falco as new characters! Maybe reina to just for the sake of adding another chick to the cast.