(Continued from Part 4)
Part 5: Super, and the Counter-Counter Argument
An XBL friend asked me the other night if I was excited about Super Street Fighter IV, and I had to say, no, overall, not really. Finally adding lobbies and team play (which should have been in the original game) will mean I’ll definitely get it and very likely enjoy it purely because I enjoy social & co-operative play so much. If they actually completely changed the netcode to a GGPO/HD Remix style that would also be a godsend, but it sounds like there’s very little chance of that. However a simple connection filter option that would allow players to avoid bad connections easily altogether is something that looks like it could happen. I’m also hoping that the character additions and move changes might enable characters I enjoy playing (Guile, DeeJay) to stand a competitive chance. Any improvements to any of the problems I’ve covered here would all help too, especially gameplay elements and ranking and matchmaking. But still, the very design goals of SSFIV, like SFIV before it, mean that it only stands a chance at good-but-not-greatness.
One obvious response to all of my points in my SFIV commentary (especially execution complexity) is that I’m just standing in the way of progress, and I might sound like I don’t want to play a new game anyway. You might very well say to me “Why don’t you just play SF2?”.
Well, of course, for starters, I do. 😉
However I do want a new Street Fighter (or another fighting game) with expanded character rosters, better graphics, better balance AND variety, more interesting but relatively simple to execute (but still with SOME execution level) moves, more viable moves, and I especially want one with better netcode, better ranking systems, better matchmaking, better teamplay and co-operative modes – in fact almost much the stuff that was starting to happen in HD Remix; I just want more of it and more besides. I want HD Remix Remix Remix essentially. I’d want a game that is patched, re-balanced and improved on an ongoing basis (which I’d happily pay for on a subscription based model) perhaps adding new (thoroughly playtested and as balanced as possible initially) characters or new moves to it every year or so to mix things up.
I feel that something like this is what would really add and build something in the world of fighting games and gaming in general. In short, I want more of the direction of HD Remix and (hopefully) Starcraft II – competitive games that are so good they can become as standard as sports and last for decades as competitive e-sports. I’d much rather be paying a subscription for this kind of service to the games developers directly, than paying a subscription for XBox Live Gold status. However, it’s pretty clear from everything from design goals to sales model, that stuff like Super Street Fighter IV will be a far cry from my dream of ‘Subscription Fighter’.
Unlike Street Fighter IV, I’d find such a game INDESTRUCTIBLE!… Gonna take to the pie shop baby! INDESTRUCTIBLE!.. And buy you lots of tasty pies!
Fortunately, whilst Subscription Fighter is still not on the cards, Capcom’s Super SFIV cover has been blown –
.. and if none of these games ever happen, at least I’ll be able to console myself with a nice cup of coffee.