Last year, Gamespot’s Maxwell McGee put together an incredible feature called the Fighting Games Symposium, which gathered responses from a variety of notable faces (Seth Killian, Michael “Mike Z” Zaimont, James Chen, Haunts, Katsuhiro Harada, etc.) about the then current state of the genre and where they saw it heading in the future.
Earlier today, Gamespot posted the first installment of McGee’s 2013 edition of the symposium, featuring another handful of industry luminaries discussing what makes fighting games enjoyable, their evolution over the years, and more. Killer Instinct creator Ken Lobb, Toshimichi Mori of Arc System Works fame, Mad Catz’ Mark “Markman” Julio, Community Effort Orlando organizer Alex Jebailey, and Omari Smith of Mane6 each weigh in on a variety of topics, so we’ve included short excerpts from each interview below for you to check out.
Make sure to visit Gamespot for McGee’s full editorial and stay tuned for insightful commentary from five more figures associated with fighters and the community that surrounds them.
How have fighting game mechanics grown in the past 20 years, and what impact have longer, deadlier combos and memorization had on their design?
In speaking of mechanics, there’s what’s been added and there’s what’s been refined, and both are equally important. I’d like to believe we added a few things to the lexicon with Killer Instinct: top (overhead) attacks, combo breakers, ultra combos, auto doubles, etc., and we refined and borrowed a lot from those that came before: super meters, input conventions, etc. This is what has been going on with fighting games pretty consistently over the years. Build, add, refine, tweak, and play, play, play!
That was the point of combo breakers in KI–to allow longer combos and keep the game engaging for both attacker and defender–and we continue to refine that for the new KI. When do you break? Are they going to bait me with an auto and bluff? How do I fish a lockout out of them? Do I risk going to max knockdown value to cash in all my potential damage, or end it early? I believe that everyone loves long combos and doing a lot of damage, but when you are on the receiving end of that, you should be able to read, react, counter, or combo break. There should always be options.
Where do you see the fighting genre heading in the next five years, and do you agree with that trajectory? If not, where would you like to see the genre go instead?
It might not change much over the next five years, but like I said earlier I think it will try and incorporate more excitement, which I think will bring more complexity to it. I personally would not want to see the mechanics and gauges getting more complicated as a result of that, but as long as the fans continue seeking more excitement, I’m afraid it can’t be avoided. Take BlazBlue for instance, “Drives” are one of the great examples; there are powerful “Drives”, but there are even more exciting upgraded drives called “Overdrives.” One other thing I foresee happening is more uniqueness in the characters themselves.
Mark “Markman” Julio
What impact will the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have on future fighting games, and what needs to happen in order for fighting games to succeed on mobile and tablet?
It’s that time again: the passing of the torch from one set of consoles to the next, and while I think that the current gen has many more years of great fighting gaming life left, it’s undeniable that the shift has already begun. If next gen titles like Killer Instict, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- are any indication of hype and excitement I can only imagine what kind of joy the new iterations of our favorite Namco, NetherRealm and Capcom fighting game titles will bring!
What will it take for fighting games to reach the runaway popularity enjoyed by StarCraft II, League of Legends, and Call of Duty–and is this something fighting games need to strive towards?
I’m pretty sure fighting games are popular on their own. Look at Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat: still extremely popular franchises that influence pop culture all the time. While it seems PC gaming will always have a bigger draw for events, fighting games have such an amazing community on their own that’s still growing, we don’t need to strive towards anything other than being welcoming to new players and fans that enjoy the characters from fighting games we’ve all grown up loving. It’s also great thanks to social media a lot of the companies behind the games have become much more interactive with their respective communities, and when you have great support like that it’ll only help everything get bigger.
How would you compare the experience of playing a fighting game online versus locally, and what do these games need in order to improve their online modes?
The experience of playing online vs. locally grows more massive the deeper you are in the tournament scene. Currently most fighters use a style of netcode that causes inputs and [performance] to lag in horrible ways that hinder players who are becoming more and more frame perfect. There is a very particular style of netcode that’s finally starting to gain traction (GGPO) that all but removes these hurdles, bringing online and local play more in line with each other. In the end, nothing will ever replace the joys of local gaming, where execution is perfect, everyone can share their pizza and banter, and routers failing will do nothing to the fun times.
Source: Gamespot, tip via King9999