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…