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The dangers of artificially closing the skill gap in fighting games

EventHubs Podcast episode 137

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • January 6, 2021 at 6:13 p.m. PST • Comments: 26

With the much anticipated refresh of the New Year we're heading into 2021 with our eyes on the horizon. We're expecting Guilty Gear Strive to drop this year and have our suspicions that we'll be hearing about other major fighting game franchise entries sometime in the span of the next 12 months.

With this in mind we're revisiting the touchy topic of developers designing fighting games to be more accessible to newer players. There are extremely important do's and don'ts when it comes to accessibility, and artificially cinching the skill gap is absolutely a don't.

We explore the "why" behind that last statement in this week's episode as I dive into a bit of the psychology behind our innate appreciation for competition. What is it that's truly behind the goosebumps we all repeatedly get when we watch things like Michael Jordan dunking from the free throw line or BST|Daigo pulling off EVO Moment 37?

While rightfully hesitant about the dangers of giving undue skill points to those who haven't yet earned them, we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Fighting games very much have had a relatively poorer retention rate when compared to other genres, and there are things developers can and should be doing to try to wipe that discrepancy away.

Before getting into all of that, however, we have a few words to say about Capcom's breaking news early Wednesday morning about their new video content policy. Content creators on platforms like Twitch and YouTube have been in turbulent waters when it comes to the kinds of content that are kosher to use in streams and videos, and this more formal presentation/update to the rules looks to rid us of gray areas.

Finally, Catalyst has some interesting thoughts on the potential for modern technology and big data gathering to level up fighting games in general unlike we've ever seen before. Check out the full episode via the player below or on most major podcast apps. If you like what you hear, please subscribe, review, and tell your friends.


01:58 - Capcom's new video content policy
09:42 - Accessibility in fighting games - necessary, but dangerous
17:30 - The foundations of competition
24:40 - Ono's 2020 statement that makes me wary
31:58 - Legit ways to make fighters accessible
38:21 - Modern technology and big data can make fighting games better than ever

Editor's note: We've noticed the timestamps appear to change depending on the medium you're using to listen. The ones above may place you a few seconds before when each respective topic actually comes up.

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