FGC pros and youtubers are asking developers to stop making fighting games easier

Teh_Lurv

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,976
Over the last couple of months, various fighting game pros, youtubers, and commentators have been expressing their opinions on the cusp of the next console generation that the trend this generation of fighting games simplifying mechanics or making them casual friendly has gone too far, leaving many current fighting games the worse for it. Pro-player Daigo spoke on how he would like comeback mechanics done away with for Street Fighter 6. Pro-player Momochi spoke on his opinion on how easier fighting games don't become better fighting games. Commentators Ultra-Chen and the EventHubs editorial staff added their own thoughts to Momochi's opinions during their respective podcasts.

Maximilian Dood last week posted his own commentary which I'm including in this thread as I feel it best summarizes the points brought up in prior videos:


The video is worth a watch to understand the details of his reasoning, but for those who are unable to watch his video, Max's main points are:
  • Gameplay mechanics don't sell fighting games; Presentation, character roster, and graphics move copies.
  • Easier mechanics will never close the skill gap between casuals and veterans.
  • Easier mechanics ultimately result in shallower, less interesting fighting games.
The third point has been a topic of contention in online discussions of Granblue Fantasy Versus and Dragonball Fighter Z. Both games have slick presentation, but there are a lot of complaints that the simplification of mechanics in both games ultimately result in repetitive and boring gameplay.

This subject and these videos have been circulating within the FGC community, but I wanted to post a thread about this in ERA general gaming to bring greater awareness and discussion about this topic. Does gameplay complexity really matter to you when picking up a fighting game? Are the current generation of fighting games too simple or have developers hit the right balance? Let's hear your thoughts.
 
Nov 13, 2017
4,452
This whole "stop making _____ games easier" thing is just exhausting at this point. It's starting to feel like the ~cool~ stance to take when you want some gamer clout and attention from the same crowd that likes to bitch about "censorship" when their 20000 year old dragon goddess' tits get "nerfed" from a triple z-cup to a double z-cup.

Sure, there are a ton of valid reasons as to why this particular argument is being made, but the timing is just fishy.
 

FluxWaveZ

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,830
  • Easier mechanics will never close the skill gap between casuals and veterans.
  • Easier mechanics ultimately result in shallower, less interesting fighting games.
The third point has been a topic of contention in online discussions of Granblue Fantasy Versus and Dragonball Fighter Z. Both games have slick presentation, but there are a lot of complaints that the simplification of mechanics in both games ultimately result in repetitive and boring gameplay.
Okay, I'm not going to watch the video right now, but what exactly does "easier" mean if Granblue Fantasy is being included here?

One button special moves? When that's tied to its cooldown system? What exactly is wrong with that?

There can be a case to be made regarding dumbing down mechanics. But there's also a case to be made about making mechanics overly complex for the sake of it when there's no real purpose for it.
 

Ferrio

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,398
Counterpoint: Samurai Shodown. The game is one of the simpler fighting games out there right now, even moreso than the games you listed, but it doesn't detract from it.

That said, too many developers are trying to chase customers that aren't really there. Better to target the people that have been rabidly buying your series for the past 20+ years.
 

TheJackdog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
549
  • Gameplay mechanics don't sell fighting games; Presentation, character roster, and graphics move copies.
    • Probably correct! Feature sets Id argue do too
  • Easier mechanics will never close the skill gap between casuals and veterans.
    • This is known, but you need casual players to buy your game
  • Easier mechanics ultimately result in shallower, less interesting fighting games.
    • Also agreed. But it also results in more approachable, more widely played fighting games yes?
My only problem with this is it ignores the reasons devs are doing it. They want more sales. Right now the best way to do it is make it approachable right?

Basically to ensure fighting games have deep, rewarding mechanics, I think you need to convince publishers a small number of sales is acceptable. Or more acceptable. People dont want to plop 60 bucks down and just have their ass kicked and be confused the whole time.

Maybe things like game pass can help out with these games.
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
6,751
I agree. A good player will always kick your ass no matter how simplified the mechanics are, and reducing the skill celling will only make sure the game's lifespan will be much shorter. The only way to make a Fighting game accessible for everyone is to basically do what Smash did and be more of a party game than a fighting with a lot of randomness and even then it's often not enough to close the gap. Plus, even Smash has very deep mechanics so letting you do a 20 hit combo by mashing square is not the solution.
 

fontguy

Avenger
Oct 8, 2018
942
I just wish more fighting games simplified user input. Not everything has to be Super Smash Bros, but memorization of combo strings and special moves is the worst part of the fighting game experience.
 

John Omaha

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,164
They are all correct. The casual player will still get destroyed by an amateur or higher level player even if you make the game easier and/or add comeback mechanics. All this approach does is make the game less fun to play for enthusiasts and less interesting to watch for spectators.
 

DGenerator

Member
Oct 26, 2017
857
Toronto, ON, Canada
The constant battle between the FGC's want for exclusivity-driving complexity and the lack of capital going into fighting games (whether through sales, money to develop fighting games or money into prize pools) is a fascinating tug of war.

I will never buy a fighting game because the barrier of entry is like an MMO; you need dozens and hundreds of hours to learn the building blocks for good play across the genre and hundreds of hours more per game just to hang online in a fulfilling way. And you need to be an early adopter or it's already too late for most fighting games.
 
Oct 28, 2017
2,485
Counterpoint: Samurai Shodown. The game is one of the simpler fighting games out there right now, even moreso than the games you listed, but it doesn't detract from it.

That said, too many developers are trying to chase customers that aren't really there. Better to target the people that have been rabidly buying your series for the past 20+ years.
I really don't think you'd see people settle for a DBZ fighting game where one or two hit combos are a thing. Even the casuals wouldn't want this.
 

TimeFire

Avenger
Nov 26, 2017
4,111
Brazil
Really interesting video.
Counterpoint: Samurai Shodown. The game is one of the simpler fighting games out there right now, even moreso than the games you listed, but it doesn't detract from it.

That said, too many developers are trying to chase customers that aren't really there. Better to target the people that have been rabidly buying your series for the past 20+ years.
Please watch the video. SamSho is literally the first game he mentions.
 

Zippo

Member
Dec 8, 2017
4,832
I can see both sides of the argument here. More accessible fighters will potentially sell better, while deeper/more complex fighters will keep enthusiasts interested for longer, but could turn away newcomers. It's really not an easily solvable problem.
 

SageShinigami

Member
Oct 27, 2017
14,235
He's not wrong. I realized long ago that while I have the time to get better in fighting games, I don't have the inclination. I sit there in "the dojo" trying to memorize BnBs on Injustice or getting comfortable with someone in Soul Calibur and it lasts like 30 minutes before I realize I could be playing something where I'd actually have fun.

And yeah, for FGC peeps that is fun. I get that. I feel like that when I test decks in Yu Gi Oh or Shadowverse. But I don't feel like that with fighters, and short of a genius figuring out how to make it fun, I never will. So I don't think it's worth it to make fighting games "easier". You'd be better off doing what NRS does and stuffing it full of single player content people can play through and feel like they've gotten their moneys worth even if they don't take it online.

Sorry I'm at work, I don't have time for a 20+ minute video. I liked it when forums actually were about posts and not just posts to tell you to watch a long ass video.
Yeah but in this case the thread is ABOUT a video. Forums also used to be about engaging with the OP in a meaningful fashion and not just popping in to drop off a +1 to their post count.
 

ScribbleD

Member
Oct 28, 2017
581
Counterpoint: Samurai Shodown. The game is one of the simpler fighting games out there right now, even moreso than the games you listed, but it doesn't detract from it.

That said, too many developers are trying to chase customers that aren't really there. Better to target the people that have been rabidly buying your series for the past 20+ years.
Has that helped it sell more copies, and has that helped it retain its player base versus a more complex game? I think that's the point some people are getting at here. If it caused a lot of people to suddenly get into fighting games, or stick around longer, that'd be great, but there's no evidence that it has actually done that.

So if the core audience for fighting games are still the only ones buying fighting games and sticking with the ones they buy, does it make sense to keep altering the games to court an audience who isn't interested?
 

MegaMix

Member
Oct 27, 2017
613
The issue is that companies and casual players think that "the gap" is due to complex control schemes and the like. But in reality it's due to players just not wanting to "git gud". It doesn't matter if it's Marvel 2 or Fantasy Strike. If you are a casual player and aren't going to bother to learn the game you will get your ass handed to you over and over again.
 

Ferrio

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,398
Has that helped it sell more copies, and has that helped it retain its player base versus a more complex game? I think that's the point some people are getting at here. If it caused a lot of people to suddenly get into fighting games, or stick around longer, that'd be great, but there's no evidence that it has actually done that.

So if the core audience for fighting games are still the only ones buying fighting games and sticking with the ones they buy, does it make sense to keep altering the games to court an audience who isn't interested?
That's yet to be seen, EVO and how interest levels are after will be interesting. I honestly don't believe anything will ever cause fighting games to grab a casual audience unless you trojan horse it like Nintendo does, which I don't think any other developer could do.

Yeah but in this case the thread is ABOUT a video. Forums also used to be about engaging with the OP in a meaningful fashion and not just popping in to drop off a +1 to their post count.
Oh ffs, the OP even included a section for people who couldn't watch the video currently.
 

Kyora90

Member
Apr 15, 2018
1,857
  • Gameplay mechanics don't sell fighting games; Presentation, character roster, and graphics move copies.
  • Easier mechanics will never close the skill gap between casuals and veterans.
  • Easier mechanics ultimately result in shallower, less interesting fighting games.
That's pretty obvious, I mean I'm still surprised that people think otherwise. But fighting games definitely shouldn't be over bloated with mechanics though (looking at Guilty Gear).
 

Twenty7kvn

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
802
Why don't more fighting games have a special tournament mode, where this comeback mechanics are turned off and the inputs are " traditional"?
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
508
Rochester NY
I wonder how much people are put off of fighting games due to losing online against seasoned players. Is it really a big component of turning people away, or is it only a problem when games lack single player content as well? I guess someone like Max would argue that even with enough single player content, the lack of complexity would make the game boring more quickly and prevent people from continuing to play the game and/or future installments in that given series.
 

CountAntonius

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,576
Riot and whatever they are working on will be the only ones who will be able to really test this out. If that games get's big then fighting games will change no matter what anyone thinks.
 

skillzilla81

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,459
Why don't more fighting games have a special tournament mode, where this comeback mechanics are turned off and the inputs are " traditional"?
The games are designed around comeback mechanics, and motions aren't ever a barrier of execution for better players.

Riot and whatever they are working on will be the only ones who will be able to really test this out. If that games get's big then fighting games will change no matter what anyone thinks.
I mean...MK11 is one of the best selling games this year and is chock full of difficult-to-learn mechanics.
 

Sianos

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,420
i think a distinction needs to be made between difficulty arising from systems complexity and difficulty arising from mechanical complexity

simplified mechanics and game systems don't put players on an equal playing field, they only accentuate the difference in fundamental skills like positioning and reading your opponent because there are less options to mitigate OR capitalize on any given mistake

but locking fundamental aspects of gameplay behind precise mechanical execution imbalances the game and generally leads to people spamming a low risk strategy that is mechanically difficult to counter

or to put it simply, the frame perfect execution should be saved for swag juggle combos, not bread and butter combos and ESPECIALLY not aspects of defense

and my opinion on comeback mechanics is that all but the most absurdly imbalanced comeback mechanics don't even actually help less experienced players as much as they help more experienced ones! it's just that people will remember the few times that an underdog pulls out a crazy upset win against a top player over all the times that the top player uses the comeback mechanic to prevent someone from ever gaining a foothold against them

fighting games should have balanced offensive and defensive options that are not just balanced in terms of effectiveness, but in terms of difficulty of execution
 

Regiruler

Member
Oct 28, 2017
5,391
United States
Fuck games with an execution barrier on their moves. It's why I like Pocket Rumble so much: consistent, easy to understand inputs.

And I like comeback in Pokken a lot (Wii U: not sure if the system changed in DX).
 

DrArchon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,696
Fighting games need to have stuff for brand new players to do other than "Go online, get your ass beat, repeat ad nauseam until you magically learn how to win". That shit ain't going to fly in a 1v1 game where you can't ride on the coattails of better teammates occasionally.

There are lots of complicated games out there that are super popular that people put up with because you can win while learning the mechanics. You don't get that with a lot of traditional fighting games.
 

Gundato

Member
Apr 21, 2018
205
Why don't more fighting games have a special tournament mode, where this comeback mechanics are turned off and the inputs are " traditional"?
For the same reason MK11's tournament mode renders most of the variants and even moves pointless. If you provide "tournament mode" then people are basically being told "play this or be a filthy casual" and you tend to lose out on the fun casual stuff


We basically saw this happen with FPSes a decade or two ago. Every game started having more and more "tournament friendly" modes to the point that it split the communities. And the end result was stuff like CoD with ridiculously low time to kill.
 

Jaded Alyx

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,221
I just wish more fighting games simplified user input. Not everything has to be Super Smash Bros, but memorization of combo strings and special moves is the worst part of the fighting game experience.
There are more and more fighting games doing this. Almost every other one that's announced touts such features.

And it's still not going to help because "combos and special moves" are not the reason why people are good or bad at fighting games.
 

Kyra

The Eggplant Queen
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,515
New York City
This is a conundrum. There is no solution here. Unless a game can finally accomplish the task of making losing fun and engaging.
 

crazyfunster

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,346
the comeback mechanics are the real issue. SF5 had very braindead comebacks to the point it made things unfun (also very boring oki game)
 

Mesoian

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,557
Riot and whatever they are working on will be the only ones who will be able to really test this out. If that games get's big then fighting games will change no matter what anyone thinks.
Man, I'm really getting to the point where I think that game was shelved.

It's been so long and we've heard nothing.

The only thing I think should stay on the same trend is easier inputs. Fuck pretzel motions, fuck 360's, they were never good. You can have interesting gameplay with easier imputs or shortcuts, the GBVS beta or things like Rising Thunder are evidence of that. Outside of that, I'd like to see comeback mechanics reduced significantly as well.
Divekick is GREAT, though much like one punch man, it sort of became the thing it attempted to Lampoon.
 

CountAntonius

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,576
The games are designed around comeback mechanics, and motions aren't ever a barrier of execution for better players.



I mean...MK11 is one of the best selling games this year and is chock full of difficult-to-learn mechanics.
My bet is still that Riot will never release a fighting game. People will keep saying this same thing for years.
Man, I'm really getting to the point where I think that game was shelved.

It's been so long and we've heard nothing.

The only thing I think should stay on the same trend is easier inputs. Fuck pretzel motions, fuck 360's, they were never good. You can have interesting gameplay with easier imputs or shortcuts, the GBVS beta or things like Rising Thunder are evidence of that. Outside of that, I'd like to see comeback mechanics reduced significantly as well.


Divekick is GREAT, though much like one punch man, it sort of became the thing it attempted to Lampoon.
The discussion has always been that mindgames are the best part of the genre that most casual players will never get to experience because of the many hours of practice it takes to learn the execution. They think removing the execution hurdle will let people experience what high level players love about the genre and hook those players that never would have been before. Remains to be see if that will be true.

I don't necessarily agree with them but this was always Seth and the Cannon's vision. Sirlin is trying but doesn't have the backing of Riot to get more people to try his game.
 

Ferrio

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,398
This is a conundrum. There is no solution here. Unless a game can finally accomplish the task of making losing fun and engaging.
That has always been the issue, we're never going to work around it. Due to the nature of the genre, you will generally lose 50%+ of the fights you participate online, no matter your skill level. For most people that's discouraging to the point they will shelf it.
 

Syriel

Member
Dec 13, 2017
5,219
  • Gameplay mechanics don't sell fighting games; Presentation, character roster, and graphics move copies.
  • Easier mechanics will never close the skill gap between casuals and veterans.
  • Easier mechanics ultimately result in shallower, less interesting fighting games.
Disagree on point 1. As for 2 and 3, it really depends on if he is complaining about controls or actual mechanics.

Anyone complaining about "easy" controls is just going for clickbait. If inputs are your only measure of skill, then you're not really playing the game.

Chess has stupid easy inputs. Yet it is an incredibly complex game of skill.

Fighting games should have simple, direct inputs, with complex gameplay mechanics.
 

Jaded Alyx

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,221
Riot and whatever they are working on will be the only ones who will be able to really test this out. If that games get's big then fighting games will change no matter what anyone thinks.
The argument against this is that the seasoned players will just have easier mechanics to learn on top of already having the fundamentals that actually matter when it comes to being good at the genre. The skill gap remains.
 

Wamb0wneD

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
13,758
This is the same thing Smash players are talking about ever since Brawl came out. Melee was perfectly enjoyable for everyone, including casual players. Then Brawl came along and suddenly there was only one crowd left that found it enjoyable. There was no sense in doing it, but they did it anyway.
  • Easier mechanics will never close the skill gap between casuals and veterans.
    • This is known, but you need casual players to buy your game
But they don't buy these games because they are easy, they buy them for the cool characters, stages, music and overall presentation.
I can see both sides of the argument here. More accessible fighters will potentially sell better, while deeper/more complex fighters will keep enthusiasts interested for longer, but could turn away newcomers. It's really not an easily solvable problem.
Sorry but where? These games aren't getting advertised as accessible. Tekken 7 is still pretty complicated on a high level, but the presentation and stuff like clutch slow motion moments make it fun to watch and interesting for casual players, too.
 

Dinjoralo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,021
The FGC is staunchly insular. I've seen people commenting that Street Fighter V should have one-frame mechanics all over the place like IV, as if that would make it a better game.
 

CountAntonius

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,576
The argument against this is that the seasoned players will just have easier mechanics to learn on top of already having the fundamentals that actually matter when it comes to being good at the genre. The skill gap remains.
I don't think it's ever been about reducing the skill gap as much as lowering the entry barrier. At least in the eyes or Sirlin, Seth Killian and the Canon brothers.
 

DrArchon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,696
The argument against this is that the seasoned players will just have easier mechanics to learn on top of already having the fundamentals that actually matter when it comes to being good at the genre. The skill gap remains.
That's why the games need great matchmaking so new players don't get stuck with killers all the time. Who cares if the skill gap remains if the seasoned players aren't fighting the brand new ones?
 

ScribbleD

Member
Oct 28, 2017
581
There are more and more fighting games doing this. Almost every other one that's announced touts such features.

And it's still not going to help because "combos and special moves" are not the reason why people are good or bad at fighting games.
This.

You can't make a fighting game "easy" enough to get into that it's going to sell gangbusters and retain a huge playerbase, because the newcomer experience is still going to be buying the game, going online, and getting destroyed relentlessly for a few hours and it won't be because of how easy or hard the mechanics or execution of the game is.

If all you needed to do was to get people into fighting games was reduce complexity, Divekick would be one of the best-selling fighting games of all time.
 

skillzilla81

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,459
That's why the games need great matchmaking so new players don't get stuck with killers all the time. Who cares if the skill gap remains if the seasoned players aren't fighting the brand new ones?
I see people say this all the time. What game is matching "seasoned" players with brand new ones? Outside of the first week or so where everybody is the same level because there's no way to rank people that haven't played a game and the ranks sort themselves out, how is this happening in fighting games?

What measurement are you going to use so that you don't match seasoned players with new players?

People don't want to get good at fighting games. That's really all there is to it. People don't want to lose in fighting games, and it's different from other genres because you only have yourself to blame. People don't like that, don't like losing, so they quit. It doesn't matter how easy it is. How simple the mechanics. A new player isn't going to beat me at anything I play because I take the time to learn the nuances, and that's it. Removing execution barriers just means I get to the other parts quicker.

NRS has it figured out. The content, the roster, the graphics...that'st he lesson people need to learn here. Maybe out of those millions of people buying it, a few thousand more will want to hop online and keep playing, but making games easier isn't going to have much of an impact on retaining players because the people that want to learn fighting games will always be there, winning.
 

muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
6,811
a sunken pirate ship
i think a distinction needs to be made between difficulty arising from systems complexity and difficulty arising from mechanical complexity

simplified mechanics and game systems don't put players on an equal playing field, they only accentuate the difference in fundamental skills like positioning and reading your opponent because there are less options to mitigate OR capitalize on any given mistake

but locking fundamental aspects of gameplay behind precise mechanical execution imbalances the game and generally leads to people spamming a low risk strategy that is mechanically difficult to counter

or to put it simply, the frame perfect execution should be saved for swag juggle combos, not bread and butter combos and ESPECIALLY not aspects of defense
I agree 100%. There's a lot of cruft built up in fighting games over the decades since SF2 and it makes them less fun than annoying. I, at least, never learned what X-ism and V-ism are
 

Mesoian

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,557
Fighting games need to make people feel like the win even when they lose.
I think the only way you can do that is if there was a game that had a team fight meta so you could still blame others for your loss.

Fighting games are so crushing because you have no one to blame but yourself when you lose.
 

Wamb0wneD

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
13,758
I just wish more fighting games simplified user input. Not everything has to be Super Smash Bros, but memorization of combo strings and special moves is the worst part of the fighting game experience.
1. Smash Bros Melee is probably one of the most complicated fighting games input wise. Shit can give you tendinitis.
2. A lot of devs are already doing what you're asking for, and it did nothing because combo string inputs and special moves aren't why pro players and people who put time in a fighting game are better than those who don't.
 

ScribbleD

Member
Oct 28, 2017
581
That's why the games need great matchmaking so new players don't get stuck with killers all the time. Who cares if the skill gap remains if the seasoned players aren't fighting the brand new ones?
This assumes new players are buying fighting games and sticking around for more than the first week.
 

ZeroDotFlow

Member
Oct 27, 2017
339
Disagree on point 1. As for 2 and 3, it really depends on if he is complaining about controls or actual mechanics.

Anyone complaining about "easy" controls is just going for clickbait. If inputs are your only measure of skill, then you're not really playing the game.

Chess has stupid easy inputs. Yet it is an incredibly complex game of skill.

Fighting games should have simple, direct inputs, with complex gameplay mechanics.
Comparing Chess to Fighting Games is remarkably absurd, but the closest comparison would be like removing the restrictions on where you can place your pieces. Over time, your game goes from Chess to Checkers and loses mechanical complexity which only exists because of restrictive rules.

It's the same thing with fighting game inputs. Complex inputs are important because they restrict what you can do and make you think about your options. You have to buffer grabs as Gief for example because otherwise you jump. It's also important because it means it places pressure on the player for consistency, if shotos can simply press a button and have a free anti-air then that leaves less opportunity to punish and less pressure on the player.

You can go too far in making complex inputs but the simple inputs is not the way to go either.