Seth Killian comments on the current state of fighting games... from the past!


Since Seth is so respected around these parts (deservedly, I might add) I thought I’d investigate what he might have to say about the present day scene were he not a Capcom mouthpiece. I found a number of quotes that seem eerily applicable to the current scene and one extremely popular game in particular!

On systems

“Here’s a simpler idea: throw all this garbage [system gimmicks] out. Ask yourself a simple question: What existing problem in previous SFs were these “innovations” designed to solve? The answer: None. They were just thrown in to the engine willy-nilly to attract new players, in the hopes that we’d find them “real cool”. In large part, this has worked. It has attracted new players, although it has done so at the clear expense of gameplay. If anything was wrong with ST, it was precisely throw-softening (not a huge deal), and supers.” - 1998 (

“The problem as I see it is that the SF2 engine does not (gameplay-wise) demand any of the new SFA additions. They are put in to attract new players as newfangled “features”. In theory, I have no problem with that. In practice, it happens to suck.” - 1996 (

On gameplay

“Throw softening was an example of … trying to cater to the scrubs.” 1998 (

“[In XvSF] attackers stun is often longer than the blocker, which is one of the more ridiculous turns of events in SF games ever.” - 1996 (

“I agree [reversal DPs getting stuffed is] stupid.” - 1998 (

On the state of the scene

[In response to the claim that Capcom can only achieve ST’s greatness again by appealing to novices] “This is just false. Achieving greatness does not mean appealing to everyone in videogames any more than it means appealing to everyone in any other area. Not everyone who plays videogames is a good judge of what is or is not a good game.” - 1998 (

“No one is confused about the economic factors influencing Capcoms decisions. But they are making weak games.” - 1996 (

“I’m sure [Capcom] think[s] they are catering to expert players. I’ve decided it’s just naive to think that Capcom would or does have any interest in producing a seriously great game” - 1998 (

“Do you constantly go out and try new foods, or do you find yourself eating some of your favorites most of the time? Is chess a worse game than some newer game on the grounds that it is extremely old? A good game is a good game, no matter how old. A bad game is bad, no matter how new.” 1996 (

“If [your objective] is to make the best possible SF game, then catering to novices is obviously going to get in your way.” - 1998 (

AGSF2 is a goldmine!

Let's Talk About "Accessibility"

His philosophy seems to have done a full 180, it seems

Now he’s all about “catering to the novices”

But is it him speaking personally or just a transmission of Capcom’s new philosophies/the modern games industry’s overall status quo? Hard to tell


I wouldn’t want to make out like I know the answer to that, but I’d imagine that Seth has probably gotten less angry over the years as we all tend to. At the same time, it would be naive to assume that everything that comes out of his mouth, as a Capcom employee, is representative of his personal opinion. Perhaps he takes the perspective, shared by many here, that we’re lucky to be getting any new SF at all, to which I would respond that some of the game-damaging concessions which I speculate Capcom deems necessary to appeal to the casual audience are, in fact, based on totally imagined ideas of what casual players want.

I feel I should note that I don’t begrudge Seth for doing what he’s done at all. He’s been given the opportunity to work for a company whose games have been a big part of his life for a living, something I think many of us would not be able to turn down. And from what I’ve heard from dudes who’ve talked to him without his PR mask on, he’s still fighting for the interests of the competitive scene within Capcom. Still, we should be realistic and accept that, in any official context, he is a Capcom employee first, member of the community second.


Could be either, after all, most of the above was written during the height of fighting games popularity whereas now, he probably thinks that there is a need to get novices into the game (more more precisely, into the genre).


The most resounding impression I take from this is that dudes back then didn’t know how good they had it. Even if SF got progressively more junked up with silly systems at least those games still (largely) observed the basic rules of SF.


In other words he grew up.


Nobody here wants SF to not appeal to casual players, they just don’t want it at the expense of what makes SF good competitively. What’s frustrating is that Capcom seems to think fucking up the game for the purpose of casual appeal is a necessary evil when it’s really not, at least not the extent of fucking up they’ve done with SF4.


These newsgroup posts are really interesting, seems that SFA’s introduction of airblock was a love/hate thing just like parries were

Decades pass, times change and people cling to their games making the same arguments

“Objective qualities” exist and can be pointed out, but to me, ultimately seem like a way to validate personal preferences and bias towards the game that got you to obsess over FGs first, whatever that may be to you


It’s a lot easier (and more comforting) to dismiss the traditionalist perspective as a closed-minded failure to change with the times, rather than examine and seriously consider the arguments being put forth as to why the old games are better. I don’t feel like digging up any more posts but Seth (among others) has, across several posts, produced a pretty coherent explanation of why later SFs fail to match the earlier games in quality; typical reasons being increased homogenization of characters, introduction of gimmicky systems that provide novelty but don’t enhance the basic gameplay, and the nerfing of various gameplay elements (fireballs and throws being two of the most obvious over the years; in SF4 even meaties and crossups fell victim) which were already perfectly balanced in the first place.


But let’s not act like “it’s what I like best so it IS the best” isn’t a real phenomenon, even amongst players intelligent enough to understand the concept of cognitive bias


shrugs people don’t like change…what else is new?

i really don’t get where hes going with the food thing? i like trying out new food all the time?


Mmm I don’t know. I think when I lot of people say a game is “the best” they don’t really mean it on a deeper level than “I like it the most.” I think the people you describe are an extreme minority.

It’s not about not liking change. I certainly don’t think Hyper Fighting is a perfect game, even though I think it’s the closest SF ever got to the platonic ideal SF game. It’s the nature of the change that is the issue; specifically, fighting games ever since HF have been generally trending towards more homogenized characters, less balanced systems and a gradual nerfing of anything good in older games.


But isn’t this operating under the premise that every game with “SF” in the title must build upon what HF/ST/Whatever established? These changes, gimmicks or not, are what gave each SF series posterior to SF2 their own unique flavor and style. Alpha, EX, SF3 and now SF4 - Maybe one can’t get what they like in ST from some of these games, but likewise, one couldn’t get a lot of stuff from these games in ST. Some of the gimmicks actually stick and make for interesting gameplay elements

Each new SF series is like a fresh start, usually the last game in each one of them is the most refined iteration…SF2 fans had the unique chance of actually building upon ST with a decade’s worth of feedback (HDR), which is still part of SF2 and should have been the chance to come up with the ideal successor to SF2’s legacy


Agreed, at least Seth is able to back his points up with well written arguments. Then again, the guy did teach philosophy didn’t he?

Yes, learning these new systems is part of what I look forward to in a new fighting game.

Also, on his comment on reversal DPs being stuffed. I’m of the opinion that this is a good thing in the context of Super IV where everyone and their grandmother can still reversal. A tighter window would have been better, but at least the current solution allows you some form of pressure on knockdown (then again, I’m biased as I main Juri and her jump in fp is pretty much the bane of those who love mashing reversal DPs).


Think of it this way: How many of the Alpha series’ new features have stuck around and been well-received by good players? Guard crush probably comes the closest, but even then many feel it hurts a lot of the games that used it (e.g. CvS2, SC4). Custom combos make an occasional appearance with individual characters, but they’re done as a universal mechanic. And from there it only gets worse…alpha counters? Auto-blocking mode? You get the picture, and the same is true with SF3.

These gimmicks just didn’t fit with the SF engine, which is why they were dropped from the following series of games, and I see the same thing happening to focus attacks and ultras.


to be pedantic here, there is no one “street fighter engine”, which is why each series have their own gimmicks


It’s also a lot easier to criticize a new fighting game based on everything about it that is different than the one you play the most than judge each one on their own. And most people, regardless of which era they began playing, will do the former.


I don’t get why everyone always bashes SFIV for being a bad game that appeals for casuals. For starters, the game is loaded with 1-frame links, and I haven’t met the casual gamer yet who stuck around long enough to perform one correctly. As for being a good game, I strongly believe that it is. I won’t go as far to say that it’s the best game in the Street Fighter series, but I think it’s far from the worst and is still a good representation of a competitive fighting game.


just thinking here, but i was thinking recently, that this whole fetish of making games trying to simulate real life, aka 3d graphics instead of 2d is some component that is also contributing to the nerfing of content in the sf genre. it would be another example of catering to general public. typing on ps3, see ya!


SF4 is in no way trying to emulate real life.