The fighting genre needs new players, or it will be dust again.

I love the fighting game genre. It's probably my favorite genre, especially for competitive gaming. I have to admit, when I say fighting game genre, I'm really referring to Capcom fighters. I went through a phase when I was young where I really enjoyed Tekken 3, but no fighting game has come close to captivating and engulfing me as much as SF2, Marvel Super Heroes (in the Ci-Ci's Pizza arcade), MvC2, and SF4/SSF4 each did.

That's why it makes me sad to see Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 offer little to no support for new players. Simple mode doesn't count. It's just a waste of space that would've have been much better suited to be filled by a tutorial for normal mode. Considering that normal mode is the actual game, and simple mode is half of it, it just seems like it's almost made to make the line between good players and new/bad players even more visible. Simple mode is a completely different control scheme and basically a different game. It seems like it would be even harder for someone that used simple mode to to transfer to normal mode. Not to mention, there's no tutorial for that either. So I guess they intended it to be the "press buttons" mode.

I know much of it was because of the name alone, but SF4 was a revolution. Somehow it brought fighting games back to their peak in one release, and it was amazing to see. The world felt like an arcade again. Me and my friend, who lives two states away from me now, that have played SF2 for a decade met up just to play SF4 straight for nearly a week. And at parties at my house, even when there were people there I didn't know, I could say "Do you guys remember Street Fighter? Yeh, they made a new one". And in minutes, our big screen TV would be lit up with hadokens from random people I haven't met, and I would kick their ass with Dan.

Now with the release of MvC3, It seems like that revival is on a downward spiral. We live in an age where for a game to be successful (and I'm using that word purely in financial terms) it needs to be able to capture the hardcore and the casual audience, and It's like they are pushing away the casual audience from them as far as possible. If anything, the casual audience is MORE important these days than the hardcore. With games like Carnival Games selling bank on the Wii.

There is no assistance for new players other than the manual, and there's a reason why those things are 3 pages long now in games like CoD and AC. Because casual players don't want to read them. And yes I know this has been mentioned a thousand times, but the lack of spectator mode really puts a hurting on the arcade feel that fighting game fans and generally everyone that enjoys these games love so much.

Please note that this is not about the quality of the gameplay in MvC3. I love this game to death, and I've probably put in more hours than you have. But that's the reason why I hate this. I want more. I want maybe a Darkstalkers revival (I never got to play the original). I want continued support for MvC3 and SSF4. I want the world to be engulfed in fighting games again.

A good fighting game is just a thing of magic that not many other games can replicate, and the more that experience it, the better. I know there are going to be people that say "we don't need scrubs and newbies in this game", but the fact is, these days, we do need them, and it's about time that we accept that we are outnumbered. Capcom these days needs as many people playing it's game as possible for it to be successful. Not just the ones that loved MvC2 or other fighting games, but people that have never thrown a hadoken in their life. But it doesn't seem to have a good strategy for gaining these people.

I'm not saying dumb down our fighting games, hell no. I'm saying offer a hand for new players to try to get into them. Let them know what the magic series is. Let them know what Hyper combos are. Let them know what assist types are. That way they can get a taste, and decide for themselves whether they want to continue the trek or not. Instead of being face to face with a brick wall that says "Hardcore only."

I'm sure these games will be a success with the community and survive at tourneys, and for some people that's all they need. But I want complete success, because it leads to more success, and more games/content for us to sink our teeth into.

20 Comments
20 Comments
Edited by durden77

I love the fighting game genre. It's probably my favorite genre, especially for competitive gaming. I have to admit, when I say fighting game genre, I'm really referring to Capcom fighters. I went through a phase when I was young where I really enjoyed Tekken 3, but no fighting game has come close to captivating and engulfing me as much as SF2, Marvel Super Heroes (in the Ci-Ci's Pizza arcade), MvC2, and SF4/SSF4 each did.

That's why it makes me sad to see Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 offer little to no support for new players. Simple mode doesn't count. It's just a waste of space that would've have been much better suited to be filled by a tutorial for normal mode. Considering that normal mode is the actual game, and simple mode is half of it, it just seems like it's almost made to make the line between good players and new/bad players even more visible. Simple mode is a completely different control scheme and basically a different game. It seems like it would be even harder for someone that used simple mode to to transfer to normal mode. Not to mention, there's no tutorial for that either. So I guess they intended it to be the "press buttons" mode.

I know much of it was because of the name alone, but SF4 was a revolution. Somehow it brought fighting games back to their peak in one release, and it was amazing to see. The world felt like an arcade again. Me and my friend, who lives two states away from me now, that have played SF2 for a decade met up just to play SF4 straight for nearly a week. And at parties at my house, even when there were people there I didn't know, I could say "Do you guys remember Street Fighter? Yeh, they made a new one". And in minutes, our big screen TV would be lit up with hadokens from random people I haven't met, and I would kick their ass with Dan.

Now with the release of MvC3, It seems like that revival is on a downward spiral. We live in an age where for a game to be successful (and I'm using that word purely in financial terms) it needs to be able to capture the hardcore and the casual audience, and It's like they are pushing away the casual audience from them as far as possible. If anything, the casual audience is MORE important these days than the hardcore. With games like Carnival Games selling bank on the Wii.

There is no assistance for new players other than the manual, and there's a reason why those things are 3 pages long now in games like CoD and AC. Because casual players don't want to read them. And yes I know this has been mentioned a thousand times, but the lack of spectator mode really puts a hurting on the arcade feel that fighting game fans and generally everyone that enjoys these games love so much.

Please note that this is not about the quality of the gameplay in MvC3. I love this game to death, and I've probably put in more hours than you have. But that's the reason why I hate this. I want more. I want maybe a Darkstalkers revival (I never got to play the original). I want continued support for MvC3 and SSF4. I want the world to be engulfed in fighting games again.

A good fighting game is just a thing of magic that not many other games can replicate, and the more that experience it, the better. I know there are going to be people that say "we don't need scrubs and newbies in this game", but the fact is, these days, we do need them, and it's about time that we accept that we are outnumbered. Capcom these days needs as many people playing it's game as possible for it to be successful. Not just the ones that loved MvC2 or other fighting games, but people that have never thrown a hadoken in their life. But it doesn't seem to have a good strategy for gaining these people.

I'm not saying dumb down our fighting games, hell no. I'm saying offer a hand for new players to try to get into them. Let them know what the magic series is. Let them know what Hyper combos are. Let them know what assist types are. That way they can get a taste, and decide for themselves whether they want to continue the trek or not. Instead of being face to face with a brick wall that says "Hardcore only."

I'm sure these games will be a success with the community and survive at tourneys, and for some people that's all they need. But I want complete success, because it leads to more success, and more games/content for us to sink our teeth into.

Posted by ThePhantomnaut

I hope something like MK's Challenge Tower will send a message to other developers including Capcom of what can be done to a tutorial system to help more people play it in long term.

Posted by Hailinel

BlazBlue:  Continuum Shift already has a pretty thorough tutorial for newcomers.  Learn to play from the very basics, all with Rachel arrogantly deriding your self-worth at every step.

Posted by chrissedoff

we all figured it out without the internet. capcom could be doing this way better than they are, but people who care about learning will be able to do that real easily.

Online
Posted by StaticFalconar
@ThePhantomnaut said:
" I hope something like MK's Challenge Tower will send a message to other developers including Capcom of what can be done to a tutorial system to help more people play it in long term. "
Unless the MK challenge tower actually tells you when is a good time to throw a fireball and jump, etc, that mode is just an expanded version of what Capcom's been doing. Here's some moves, do some more moves. Do this match without using the punch button, no fireballs, etc. That's been done in SF4, but abandoned in SSF4 for some reason. Unless the MK tower has been expanded to something more then the 3 minute video I saw of it, its been done ever since Soul Calibur's weird single player mode.  
 
Overall a bit of fun, but its not a substitute for an actual tutorial system. 
Posted by DarkShaper

While I do think that better tutorials would be a good thing, I don't think they are as necessary as people are making them out to be. Plenty of new people will get into fighting games anyway, take me for example I never played a fighting game besides Smash Brothers for more than a few days, but since Tekken 6 and Street Fighter 4 came out I have been playing a fighting game in one way or another almost every day since. I picked up on a lot  just by playing and loosing and the rest I got from the internet. 

Posted by Troispoint

You get all the help you need through tutorials on the internet. So I dont see how that lack of in-game tutorials would kill the genre. They've already made strides to make it more accessible in terms of gameplay too. Now if only they could have a decent netcode for once.

Posted by thehuntsmen5434
 I love the fighting game genre. It's probably my favorite, especially for competitive gaming. I have to admit, when I say fighting game genre, I'm really referring to Capcom fighters
 
I guess you don't love it that much if your only referring to Capcom fighters.  Weird statement.
Posted by GetEveryone
@thehuntsmen5434 said:
"  I love the fighting game genre. It's probably my favorite, especially for competitive gaming. I have to admit, when I say fighting game genre, I'm really referring to Capcom fighters
 
I guess you don't love it that much if your only referring to Capcom fighters.  Weird statement. "
Not that weird... 
 
I love fighting games, but I specifically love Capcom fighting games.
Posted by Jayzilla

Capcom's tutorials are garbage. There are skill combos in SFIV they don't even show you the proper way to pull them off and sometimes the combo is totally different than the control scheme provided. This is why you don't get a lot of new blood in fighting games and the reason I really didn't get into SSFIV. THe tutorials limit how good a new player can get. The community for fighting games is just a notch lower on the "jerk" scale than shooters too. I played my fair share of fighting games, and Capcom would sell a lot more units if they included proper tutorials. Just read Jeff's reviews of SFIV, SSFIV and MvC3. he totally thinks so and it is reflected in his reviews.

Posted by kingzetta

I think it's more of a problem that MVC3 has very little content.

Posted by Kratch

Good post.  I agree with you.  I just got into fighting games a few years ago, and I still feel like a total scrub.  If I didn't love them so much, I would have given up a long time ago.  There was a good chunk of time there where I felt like I was hitting my head against a wall playing SFIII and then SFIV.  I don't think that people who have always played fighting games, or people like me who came late to the party but who fell in love with them immediately, realize how intimidating and frustrating it can be for the average player to learn these games.  I've been playing MVC3 and I feel like I'm back in front of that wall, hitting my head against it.  I love the game, and will keep playing it, but it can be pretty rage-inducing.  It would be really groundbreaking if someone figured out how to make an actually helpful, interactive fighting game tutorial.  I might have to check out the BlazBlue one, just to see how well done it is.

Posted by OneManX

I can see the problem with games not ofering more in-depth tutorials being a problems. As new-ish players who want to get better, basiaclly hit a barrier where either A. The game doesn't set you up in the right scenario (Character A vs Character B with these parameters)  or B. They dont go far enough when they do offer chances to get better (not being able to filter replays)
 
 
While the fighting community has done more than enough to usher in newbs and get them caught up to the basics, it just feels like, why couldn't the game relay that to me better?

Posted by Cameron

I think the biggest step would be to make the online mode more attractive to casual players. People don't want to get called a noob, or worse, simply because they aren't willing to sink hundreds of hours into mastering a game. That's just not fun. This problem could be solved with better matchmaking, which would help with attracting new players. Put me up against someone I have a chance of beating. Have offline skill tests so that I don't have to suffer through ten or more fights before the matchmaking system at least tries to match me up against someone of a similar skill level. Something, anything, so that I can play against people who also just want to mess around and have fun. I know there is no perfect system, because, quite simply, people are assholes, and they will find ways to grief others regardless of any systems designed to stop them.
 
So, while I think an improved tutorial system would be good, its not enough to bring in the casual audience. Capcom would need to make the game fun for them. Frankly, I'm not sure it can be done. Fighting games are very complex and there will always be crazy people who are willing to spend a huge amount of time becoming good at them. As time goes on, there are more and more great players, and fewer and fewer poor players, which makes it very hard to get into the game. It's like a complicated RTS, sure, you can play online, but you are going to get destroyed if you only play the game casually.

Posted by thehuntsmen5434

besides my previous trolling comment,  I dunno I think they have been making the VS games easier.  They went from 6 a button combat to 4 button combat.  And Tatsunoko vs Capcom and Mvc3 could be argued that they are 3 button combat.  Yes they don't offer much in terms of tutorials, but it's almost always like that.  If you played Blazblue the special edition came with a DVD with combos and advanced tactics for every character.  The problem that stemmed from that was that online you'd see those tactics and combos over and over.  Sometimes its nice when people aren't told what to do and they develop their own strategies.  And you see a Sentinel zoning you out, one trying to close combat air combo you to death, and one using a mix of both.  Fighting games boil down to mix-up and mind games once combos and execution is established.  That's something a video really can't teach you about.

Posted by Hizang

I'm not to hot into fighting games, I bought Marvel VS Capcom 3 because I'm a huge Marvel freak, the game is ok, but I am really not very good online so Its not a game I play to often. But I do admit, fighting games make good games to play with your friends in the same house, thats really good. But I think I'll stick to Super Smash Brothers

Edited by Catarrhal
@Jayzilla said:

"Capcom would sell a lot more units if they included proper tutorials."

A baseless assumption, though I wish it were true. Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution featured arguably the greatest training mode of all time, regardless of genre, and the series continued to wallow in obscurity (in the United States), despite critics' unanimous praise. Hell, Greg Kasavin was so impressed with Virtua Fighter 4, he was inspired to wear a suit & tie for the video review, calling it a "momentous occasion for fighting games." Not only that, Evolution launched with a mere $20 retail price. Obviously, Street Fighter's resurgence owes largely to other, additional factors (i.e. mainstream familiarity), and no evidence suggests an ongoing lack of extracurricular features would adversely affect sales.

Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution's tutorials provide a great example, though; there are those of us who'd been following the series since its inception who--were it not for the training mode--could scarcely have imagined the hidden depth and complexity afforded through advanced play. Most players will never understand the "evading throw escape guard." It may surprise no one that Sega opted not to include any sort of training mode in Virtua Fighter 5 (or subsequent spin-offs).

Ultimately, it would be great if more fighting games offered extensive in-game tutorials, because having to do internet research makes the whole process seem overly academic, bordering on mathematical.
Posted by thehuntsmen5434
@Catarrhal:   Yea most fighting games do offer very good modes for learning the game besides Capcom fighters.  Unfortunately most people prefer Capcom type fighters for one reason or another.
Posted by rmanthorp
@ThePhantomnaut said:
" I hope something like MK's Challenge Tower will send a message to other developers including Capcom of what can be done to a tutorial system to help more people play it in long term. "
It looks so amazing! I love all the special fights it lets you do it seems like it could just be a gimmick, but I see it adding so much replay potential!
Moderator
Posted by thehuntsmen5434

Fighters have a lot of Subtle things that put casual and hardcore players separate from one another also.  Things like the TC mentioned that aren't explained well.  This isn't just fighters though.  Sports games and racers can be guilty of this also.  Since there's numerous systems in place that really can't be understood fully without tons of practice, or online research.  Do they really need to though?  Most of the complex systems like drifting, reading a defense in football, or wave dashing still would have a hard time getting across to people even if you explained it to them.  I understand how to do all three, but performing them in game almost seems impossible at times.  These systems will never go away, and putting in a tutorial for people explaining them still won't help because there will always be a disconnect between knowing and executing.  Everyone wants to be competitive with as little effort as possible, but the reality is it's impossible because the meta-game will always exist.