Button Mashing is Fun, but Core-Friendly Fighters Aren’t
Let’s face it; when put in a perilous fighting game situation, we do the first thing that comes to mind: hit ALL of the buttons. Katsuhiro Harada, the creator of Tekken, agrees, and says that while there’s definitely a market for hardcore fighters, there’s an even bigger market for us fellow button-mashers.
“It’s interesting because the evaluation depends on the group, whether it’s the hardcore or just your average gamer, and it can be very different,” said Harada in an interview with GamesRadar. “If you just wanted to satisfy the core fans — the tournament going crowd — there are only a few elements that you really need to focus on.”
According to Harada, the elements that need focusing on for tournament-goers are balanced characters, emphasis on technique and knowledge of the game, and above all a reliance on quick reflexes. It definitely won’t cater to gamers who pick up fighting games out of fun and curiosity.
“If you make a game where if you’re good at all these elements, where you’ll win consistently as a high level player, that group would highly rate that game,” said Harada. “That doesn’t mean it will be popular among the mass though.” He also brought in Yoshinori Ono and the team behind the Virtua Fighter title, saying that they also struggle with the same balance issues.
“The game needs to give players the sense that they can beat the higher-level players at least some of the time. It’s a game, so it has got to be entertaining. It’s actually easier to make a game that just appeals to hardcore fans because you know exactly what you need to put in it.”
You can’t win with everything though. While it’s definitely easier to cater to the whims of the hardcore fighting players, Harada says that making such concessions will impact sales and reception in a horrendously negative way. Using Street Fighter III as an example, Harada pointed out that games that require such finesse and dedication instantly restricts the game to a much smaller audience.
“[Street Fighter III] was very well received among hardcore fighting game fans,” said Harada. “If you really get it down, where you know the knowledge and the reflexes and the skills involved, it’s a game where you can win 100% of the time.
“It’s funny it was Ono-san’s game, and when Street Fighter IV came out, people were like ‘wait, there was Street Fighter II, now IV, where was Street Fighter III?’ We laughed hysterically at that, but Street Fighter IV sold a lot more than Street Fighter III.”
Via VG 247.