'Lowering the skill barrier of a fighting game isn't what sells units' - Maximilian rants on mechanics, myths, and making games fun

Fighting games should focus on feeling good, being satisfying, and fun

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 8, 2019 at 9:23 a.m. PDT

It still feels true that you'd be hard-pressed to find many modern gamers who couldn't identify Street Fighter's Ryu or Mortal Kombat's Sub-Zero at first sight, but still somehow the fighting game genre finds it harder than most other eSports entities to garner as many active players. Such a sentiment is old news as the community has been discussing the issue for a while, usually ascribing the discrepancy to the genre's traditionally high barrier of entry thanks to intricate and technical mechanics.

After getting nice and acquainted with the latest Samurai Shodown, Maximilian has some fresh words to share on the matter of fighting game accessibility, namely that the idea that increased accessibility translates to increased sales is a myth.

While we've seen a clear movement toward simplification and ease of introduction in many modern titles, (Street Fighter 5 probably being the most visible of these) there are a few franchises that have done just the opposite and are still seeing healthy growth in player bases.

Nintendo tacked on a few more intricate mechanical properties in the evolution of Super Smash Bros. as the franchise moved from Smash 4 to Smash Ultimate, and yet the latter had no problem quickly becoming the best-selling fighting game of all time just five months after its release.

Developers at NetherRealm Studios made it a point to make Mortal Kombat 11 more mechanically intricate and thoughtful than its predecessors, and their latest appears on pace to surpass Mortal Kombat X, the company's highest-selling title.

He delves beyond what games like SSBU and MK11 didn't do to discuss what they did do that perhaps helped them soar so high. There's plenty more to the discussion and you can get the whole rant right here.

Thanks to Karakeesh, MotorGrader, and MotorGrader for sending this in.

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