Do we want to understand why fighting games lost their top-tier popularity over the years? As a self-avowed fighting game advocate, addict and promoter I dedicated years of my life promoting fighting games. From Street Fighter in the 80’s arcade, running tournaments in the arcades in the early 90’s I continued to build a scene for fighting games for over 20+ years. Personally building from the ground-up or involved in over 100+ tournaments produced over the course of those multiple decades.
Today I played MvC3 on PS4 and would rather played a FPS…. How low have I sunk? Did I leave fighting games or did fighting games leave me? I hope MvC:I can change things…
I know developers, players, and even I have a hard time understanding how fighting games left me and why many people prefer other games to fighters. And I worry for my first-true-love of gaming, fighting games, that they continue down a path unsure how to solve the two issues I keep addressing, player-accessibility and player-stickiness.
As I played MvC3 I wondered to myself, why? Why would I rather play a FPS right now? Because I want to help fix it for our beloved genre fighting games. Can we talk respectfully to one another to explore this taboo issue? Because if we can figure it out for myself perhaps we can help fix it for fighting games. I’m no different than your average joe, and the reason I wanted to play another game was really simple.
This was the reason why I turned off MvC3 and went to a FPS:
I was frustrated that I could not access the moves I wanted.
Ya see on a FPS I want to shoot, it happens. I want to perform a super-move it happens. I want to run it happens.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played on a joystick for decades for fighters. I also played on a PAD for the past couple of years to get used to it.
MODERN-DAY players who purchase a console 99.999% of them are not sold with an arcade stick. Sorry to break the news to us, 99.999% of the population plays on a PAD. And fighting games that sell 1 million copies 80% of those copies over 800K are the everyday players like me. We are never going to compete at high level tournaments. However we want to have fun at the game.
No fun when you can’t access the move you want.
Fighting games don’t exist in a vacuum, they have to compete against other game offerings, such as FPS, strategy games etc. And the offering is that other games allow the 80% of everyday-players the ability to access the move they want to perform.
Most responses I get when I talk to hardcore players is, well fighting games will never be able to lower the bar of player-accessibility. Sorry you have to learn the complex inputs to play that is the BASICS of fighting game play. Part of the game is the skill to perform the move (Yes for the hardcore but not for us everyday-video-game-players the 80% that buy the game) Or hardcore players try to make the argument something its not, that is im not trying to change the game for the hardcore, I’m trying to include the modern players of todays world. Trying to expand the appeal of our game to new people, but the hardcore just won’t have it.
Ok. You win hardcore. Fighting games will continue their high player-accessibility bar, and I’ll just move on to games that welcome me and the modern players of today world. We as a community of FGC are going to continue to loose players to games that are more accessible.
It’s especially sad because I’m SURE developers want to sell more copies, in a perfect world developers would have a perfect offering. That perfect offering would be a product for the hardcore tournament players and the everyday-players such as me.
And this perfect offering can be achieved! There is no single silver bullet. However a robust feature-offering that enables everyday players access to the moves they want to perform easily can be included at no expense to the hardcore tournament players.
Can we not be obtuse about the ability to have two competent offering in the same game? Many games today have a PvP offering and a campaign offering, such as The Last of Us, Call of Duty, Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid… But fighting games now just cater to the PvP aspect and no PvE offering.
It’s not all negative, fighting game companies realize that a healthy PvP environment has to be continually nourished, new additions, updates, new characters. A step in the right direction to be sure! However ignoring the PvE aspect, no campaigns (NAMCO used provide campaigns), and these PvE aspect also need to continually nourished… However this is not even been conceptualized for fighters in the modern world. It’s like talking about a aliens, not even a real concept to people and if you talk about it your crazy!
Am I the only one that feels that some important aspects of fighting games are stuck in the past? That some of these aspects are not even addressed? Such as:
Simple-mode was a step in the right direction for MvC3, but it did not go far enough. Stylish mode for Guilty Gear was the step in the right direction but it did not go far enough. (Yes macros for special moves should be allowed for everyday-video-game players/casuals) NAMCO used to offer side scrolling “campaigns” for their fighting games… no longer. Competing for high-scores used to have a level of fun and respect. Survival mode was a fun challenge and could be improved. (But computer A.I. is never addressed to be built upon and improved) And my biggest gripe of all fighters never developed a team aspect that could laser-focus a solution for “player-stickiness” that again is alien to the community and the genre. Fighters used to be progressive in new features, but now give the hardcore exactly what they want, scared to try something so new and radical that it offends the hardcore and thus hurts their product.
I write this as a hopeful fan, enthusiast, a person who loves fighting games and I know if positioned better fighters can have a revival!
I have answers to these problems, so do other people in development, and other people in the community. I would hope this just gets the discussion going.
This is not an attack on the hardcore, I consider myself hardcore for over 20+ years… but the things that drew me to fighters, specifically progressive additions to game-play and progressive features, are no longer the normal, they are the dinosaurs. Today it’s only about the PvP aspect, an aspect I will continue to enjoy and play. But I do so with my eyes wide open to how other products on the market are providing solutions and features that broaden the appeal and deepen the game beyond just the deep game-play mechanics.
Please don’t hate, I don’t hate, or go ahead and hate, that’s fine too. Because sometimes things don’t change unless there is a fight. Hopefully this at least will have discussion and help change things somewhere out in the ethos… that ethos being MvC: Infinite. As they are obviously trying to solve the player-accessibility issue, I say to that bravo.