Seeing the current hype around the various dota clones/sequels these days, makes me sad that FGs emerged from the arcade/console world, and thus doesnt have much of a culture of proper mod support.
Sure, we have some hacks of the various PC versions, and rainbow edition SF2, but nothing like proper, easy, official, modular, mod support that other PC game genres have.
When we see that mods like Counter Strike and dota have created entirely new subgenres of games that top companies have tried to emulate, its clear that mods are a powerful way to rapidly explore different ideas and balance/mechanics tweaks.
Even more than that, mods are a powerful way to deliver these ideas to an audience - with word of mouth, a mod for a popular game (with proper mod support, auto-downloading etc.) can spread far faster than a seperate game or a hack/patch.
Whilst 2D FGs are a fairly mature genre (and there are enough FG creation tools / accumulated knowledge out there to make games like Vanguard Princess and Melty Blood possible), I think theres a lot of lost potential in the newer subgenres of fighting games, where we find games like Virtual On, the PS3 Naruto Ninja Storm games, the Gundam vs Gundam games, Powerstone, Smash/Melee, etc. Even Demon’s Souls, Devil May Cry, etc.
Especially in the case of the Naruto game, where we have a solid engine, netcode (japanesebad netcode, but nevertheless), a large cast with good animations and other content, and a reasonable range of game mechanics. All crippled by some serious design flaws that could have been easily fixed with a mod.
And its a fairly new style of gameplay that needs to be explored in more depth by a variety of different mods experimenting with ideas and changes. Something really new and great might have been discovered.
What makes me even more sad, is that now traditional PC game genres are being drawn into the console world, and losing their once-mandatory modding features…