Future Capcom Fighting Games To Teach Players Basic Strategies Better

By Ishaan . July 31, 2012 . 10:30am

While fighting games have made a bit of a comeback in the videogame market these past few years, they’re still a little too complex for the average player that isn’t willing to spend hours of training time with them. You might love playing Street Fighter IV, but may not have the time and dedication required to learn how to dash-cancel or perform the lengthy, impressive combos often on display at fighting game tournaments, effectively meaning that you miss out on half the game.

 

Over on Capcom USA’s forums, one user brought this concern up, pointing out that, while he loved Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he was no good at the advanced maneuvers in those games, and that there was no effective method in place to teach him how to learn more advanced playing techniques either.

 

Capcom USA’s Senior Vice-President, Christian Svensson, replied to his concerns, and his message gives a bit of insight as to what Capcom’s thoughts on the future of their fighting games is:

 

“We try to take into account non-competitive level players so that they can enjoy these games too. I’d say we have varying levels of success in making sure there’s enough content and fun in the mechanics even if you don’t know how to plink, FADC or DHC. SFxT was intended to be a bit more casual friendly and frankly, I think with the introduction of so many new systems (gems, pandora, etc.) I think we probably overcomplicated things and it worked against that objective.

 

More to the OP’s point, I strongly agree that we have not done a good job of truly teaching new players about the basics of fighting game strategy in our current crop of titles. This has been a hot button conversation with the producers in the past and some have embraced it. In the case of SF3: Online Edition, we tried to put in challenges and trials that would have explained a bit more of the "why" as opposed to just the "how" in traditional training modes but we probably didn’t go as far as we could have.

 

In future titles, this is an area that I hope that our teams will take more time with as I view them as critical to the expansion of the fighting game audience. I know some competitive players will scoff, but the vitality of the scene is linked to how successful we all are (I say all because the community needs to be accepting of new players too) in these efforts.  "Scrubs" are just players who don’t yet have the same experience or knowlege [sic] that you do. And remember, once upon a time, you were a scrub too. I am the perma-scrub (ask Seth [Killian], he knows).

 

We need to provide the right tools for new players to learn enough that they’re motivated to take the "next steps" in their developing love for fighting games. I’d like to think we can do better in the future.”

 

Capcom have not yet officially announced what their next major fighting game will be, but rumours and hints suggest that they are working on Darkstalkers 4.



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  • http://www.thejaystack.com/ Jon Stachewicz

    I like this.  Even the trials designed to teach proper execution of combos and strategies pose a huge barrier to entry.  Most of them assume that the player already knows the basics of fighting games, which isn’t always the case.

    • Mike Pureka

       Played the BlazBlue tutorials? ALL the basics are there.

  • SirRichard

    As someone whose ego still smarts a bit from not being able to fully finish BlazBlue: Continuum Shift’s tutorial, let alone actually getting anywhere in the stories or what have you (those were some humbling weeks), I’d fully welcome any and all attempts to make it easier for people to get to grips with mechanics.

    • cj_iwakura

      Continuum Shift’s tutorial starts you out from the absolute basics, and has the most comprehensive one around. If you couldn’t learn from that, I’m not sure what could be done.

      • SirRichard

        Thing is, being comprehensive doesn’t really help when I’m doing the current move/combo (which was start a combo, double-tap the D-pad or something to interrupt it with some red symbol and go onto another combo to finish up) and even after 10-15 minutes of doing the move, same animations and even speed as the tutorial video, it still wouldn’t let me move on.

        • cj_iwakura

          You probably weren’t fast enough. I think I know the one you mean. You have to be FAST.

          • Mike Pureka

             The problem is that the game doesn’t make any effort to tell you whether you’re too fast, too slow, or what.  It’s up to you to diagnose what you’re doing wrong, and there are a LOT of possible things you can do wrong.

            It’d be GREAT if the game looked at what you did and said “You performed move X too quickly; As a result, move Y hadn’t finished yet, so X couldn’t come out. Try waiting a moment before doing move X”. But to date, NONE of them do, not even the much-trumpeted Skullgirls.

    • Tee Niitris

      BlazBlue isn’t the hardest fighter around, but it’s certainly isn’t child’s play either. Don’t feel bad if it feels tutorial can’t be done; ArcSys fighters tend to lean on the difficult side.

  • XiaomuArisu

    I approve of this Idea!
    And darkstalker ftw!

  • http://myfigurecollection.net/collection/ashgail Ashgail

    In my humble view, advanced techniques will always require hard work and determination, hence the term “advanced”. In terms of Super Street Fighter IV, 1 frame links are very difficult and plinking only increases the number of frames by 2 or 3. There is just no shortcut to achieve this, and even professional players drop their combos. Not to mention that most of the advanced manoeuvres found in fighting games are the result of exploits found by players.

    I agree that maybe, just maybe Capcom or anyone can probably create a better tutorial which lets the players experience the situation themselves, just like Skullgirls’, but the path to mastering them will take practice. Loads of practice. Fighting other people will improve your skills as well. 

    Also while talking about SF3:OE, I can’t agree that the game’s trials were designed as “why” as opposed to “how”. There were no very little explanation on what each trial did and the amount of trials which require VERY strict timing is aplenty.

    As for me, I think teaching the theory behind advanced techniques will be very wordy. Alternatively, just go to specialist sites like shoryuken or dustloop to learn more about everything.

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    As with the other comments here so far, I’m all for this, too. I’ve suffered through Street Fighter Alpha 3 and the entire SFIV series because Sakura happens to be my favourite character, but her bread-and-butter damage almost exclusively relies on combos that can be really hard to pull off. 

    I’ve been playing Sakura for a long time, and while I am better with her now than I was a year or two ago, I’m still in no position to be competing with players that use other characters and have the ability to really punish you for screwing up. 

    It kind of defeats the purpose of the game if so many players find themselves completely cut off from the intricacies of it. There are definitely ways to make advanced play more accessible and easier to learn as well.

    • http://myfigurecollection.net/collection/ashgail Ashgail

      YOU! I’LL TEACH YOU HOW TO PLAY SAKURA WITH 4 EASY STEPS :<

      ^ Of course this is meant in a aggressively friendly way. Gotta save myself from being lynched.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        Four…easy steps…? 
        I don’t believe it!  I’ve heard the horror stories about you from Kris and Code. 

    • cj_iwakura

      Sakura’s a low-tier character, sad but true. I main her as well, and the likes of Tsubaki in BB. It’ll always be an uphill battle, but that makes it all the more rewarding.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        Warmed my heart to see a Sakura make it into EVO finals this year, heh.

        • Tee Niitris

           So much love for Sakura in the thread. ^_^

        • Anime10121

           Yep, Sakura’s one of my favorites too!  While she may be a weak character and whats referred to as a “low tier fighter”, she’s just a blast to play with and has some really wild attacks :)

    • zferolie

      Sakura is my favorite character in the SF series as well. She is hard to use, and I agree that the games don’t help you get better with her and her difficult to use combos.

      It seems the characters I always pick seem to be the harder to use/low tier characters(Tron Bonne, Roll, Poison, Asuka, Pyrra Omega, ect)

  • Locklear93

    This is something I’m pleased to see.  I’m non-competitive, and can finish story modes and such (using quite a few continues on characters that don’t suit my playstyle…), but the training modes in fighting games are terrible.  My favorite example is of a combo with a link in it, from Ibuki’s tutorial in SSF4:

    Standing MP
    Standing MP

    …that’s all it told me.  So I’d hit MP once, get credit, hit it again, and nothing.  “WHYYYYY???” I shouted.  Because it was on two lines, that’s why.  The game assumed that that would tell me there’s a link between those MPs.  A link means you have to hit it once, wait for the exact right frame in the animation, and hit it again on that frame (or selection of frames).  Too slow, and the opponent is out of hitstun, no combo.  Too fast, and nothing happens at all, because MP doesn’t cancel into itself.  This wasn’t communicated at all, and if I hadn’t had access to a more serious fighter player to ask, I’d have thrown the controller.

    I don’t want to see mechanics simplified to attract new players at all.  I don’t mind “easy combo modes” as options, but I like the complexity: it just needs to be explained better.

  • Ooh Bee

    They need to stop caring about what competitive players think. Simple as that.

    • DCBlackbird

      Come say that to my face! No jus kiddin im not a ken or eddy spammer

  • Tee Niitris

    It’s nice that this was brung up.

    “…SFxT was intended to be a bit more casual friendly and frankly, I think with the introduction of so many new systems (gems, pandora, etc.) I think we probably overcomplicated things and it worked against that objective.”

    I had no problem with Capcom trying to make SFxT a casual-friendly game. For one of the biggest crossers in quite some time, why wouldn’t Capcom want to make a game that appeals to the hardcore and casual alike. The problem is that they made the game casual friendly by hampering with the gameplay mechanics instead of making the game easier to play for the average gamer.

    (I really hate those two terms, so I’m not using them for the rest of this time).

    Comeback mechanics and power-up gimmicks isn’t what makes a fighter more assessable. It’s the ability to make a gamer say “I did something really impressive; this is fun,” even if they don’t necessarily “know” what they’re doing.

    I heard that P4A has more “button macro” commands that perform moves/combos than most other fighters. BlazBlue for PSV has “Stylish Mode,” allowing players to perform moves/combos without needing the insane execution that goes with it. DoA for 3DS allows you to use the command list screen and press the command you want executed. It’s those kind of things that makes fighters easier to play.

    Speaking of, people can say what they want about DoA (and MK to a lesser extent) being noob-friendly games; their easy pick-up-and-play nature make them appealing games in it’s own right. The same can’t be said about fighters that may be more “technically sound” but isn’t as inviting to new players.

    “…I strongly agree that we have not done a good job of truly teaching new players about the basics of fighting game strategy in our current crop of titles…”

    I agree with the notion of better fighting game tutorials. but I also think this is slightly overrated. Most people don’t want to use tutorials for various reasons (not only because they are noobs who think they’re better than everyone else when they aren’t). They just want to have fun playing, or defeat (or team up with) a family member or friend, or play and learn things about their favorite character(s). These tutorials would educate people on how to become better at fighters in general, but this would mostly apply to those who are interested in being a tournament-level player. I’m not so certain that someone who just wants to know “how the story unfolded” would really care about that. Better tutorials are always welcome, but they’re not the “cure-all” that some may think they are.

    “We need to provide the right tools for new players to learn enough that they’re motivated to take the “next steps” in their developing love for fighting games…”

    Here’s a start: don’t “lock” characters in discs (I couldn’t help mentioning that). But on a serious note, characters/people are one of the most important aspects in any game. Seriously look at KoF XII (and even XIII), SC5, SFxT (without the DLC), MKvDC, MvC3 (and Ultimate to a lesser extent); there’s one thing they have in common and that’s leaving out characters that people like. Most all gamers look at things like that. Devs need to take a deeper look on what the average gamer considers a great video game (much less fighters), which is characters, accessibility, and overall value, not just the mechanics. That’s how the genre would grow.

  • OatMatadoQuatro

    As a kid I was never able to perform Guile’s and Charlie’s super moves. I had to hold always back which was kind of annoying

    • Anime10121

       Those were easy to me, to me, it was and has always been Zangief that gives me all the trouble.

      Dem 360 degree circles :(
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twV2L-kMbqU

      • Locklear93

        Seriously.  I’ve never been able to play a grappler because 360s are so common. >_<

  • zferolie

    I love fighting games so much, and love playing characters like Sakura,
    Tron Bonne, and others, but the games makes little effort to teach how
    to do the combos. They show you a combo, but say nothing on the timing
    of button presses, that you need to move forward or back during it. How
    high into a jump you should go, and many other things. I improved my
    Sakura a lot wince starting, but I am still no master of the game(even
    though I’m better then all my friends, I get destoryed if I go online or
    tournies.)

    Skullgirls had a good start, and I hope their patch expands on it, but
    it could do more. Like have training to just get the motions of the
    stick perfect, or learning how to correctly press the buttons and not
    press them way too fast, or teach how to plink or wavedash. Things like
    that are very hard for people to learn without someone teaching. And
    just reading on a forum will only work so well.

  • Natat

    I agree with this. I’ve been playing fighting games ever since SFII so by now I have no problems, but if we want the FGC to keep growing we need new players that  feel motivated to get better at the games, and not feel overwhelmed by the game’s mechanics. 

    I feel that teaching them how to play the games is much better than giving them tools to play better without actually putting effort (like easy-modes, or the dumb reversal windows and autocorrects), since pretty much 100% of the time they won’t help them improve their game, and will still get stomped by good players, and then they will feel that they cannot get better and stop playing the games.

    I, for one, felt that the Blazblue Tutorial was on the mark as to how tutorials should be, it was great, and went from really basic stuff to the more complicated ones. And although it may not have been that useful for CT players, I’m sure it must have helped a great deal to new Blazblue CS players, other fighting games should have tutorials like that, maybe going even further, like teaching about linking, crossups, tick throws, frame traps and data, etc. There’s just  a LOT of things to fighting games most players don’t know, so they are always on the disadvantage against veterans.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      Wait we have a FGC when did this happen :>

    • Tee Niitris

      Teaching players to play the game does help much more than providing crutches for less experienced players, but I do believe a healthy compromise can be made.

      As you pointed out, there are a lot of things that most players of fighting games don’t know. So even given those aids, a lesser experienced player will still find defeating a more acquainted player rather difficult.

      Also, providing those tools will help acclimate someone to how a fighter looks and plays. Whereas some people will quit the minute they find out they’re not that good, others will use it as motivation to improve their game and take off the training wheels. But the less accessible a fighter is, the less new blood there will be, which of course is not good.

      It was like with racing games (for me anyway). I always was better then my friends and family in racing games. However, I always raced in auto-transmission. When I learned that I wasn’t that good because of that (of course I learned the hard way), I trained to learn to control manual-transmission. I guess the fighting game equivalent would be “using auto-moves/combos” (which is how I first played KoF ’99 for PSX).

      I’m actually not familiar with BB:CS tutorial, but I did hear good things about it. Realistically speaking, most people find fighters difficult and intimidating to play. But what if a fighter was easy enough to play so that a gamer’s boyfriend/girlfriend (who may not be interested in competitive play at all) could join his/her partner and be halfway competent. Yet that game could still be structured well enough so that the best are the ones who have complete control and knowledge of the the gameplay. That’s why I believe that “easy modes” aren’t such a bad thing at the end of the day.

  • MrJechgo

    Give me tutorials just like in BlazBlue CS, the option to display hitboxes and hurtboxes just like in SSFIITHDR and the option to display frame data and such just like in Virtua Fighter and Dead or Alive… and I’m good.

    Furthermore, what they should do is this: in Challenge mode, give an option to examinate the said challenge step by step, with slow motion, pause box displays, etc. Why should I wait until this attack connect before press the button ? What do I need to do to link 2 normal attacks correctly ? These kinds of question would be easier to answer with such an option.

  • James Smith

    Seems about time, it’ll reduce some of the introduction issues.
    Skullgirls already helped a lot there. But a big change for the genre?
    Call me cynic, I think this is a noble goal but not one that will accomplish that much ultimately.
    The complications that stop most people from really getting into fighting games  are inherent to the combo system.
    That’s why SMASH series has been so widely successful and why every fighting games that aims for a mainstream appeal like Jump stars or the new sony smash games does without combos or multi button attacks too.
    And hardcore fighter fans will never accept such games, maybe a game that tried to be serious and similar to old fighters but with a formula similar to smash’s could get average players and some less hardcore fighter fans though. But I wouldn’t expect something like this from Capcom.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      “And hardcore fighter fans will never accept such games, maybe a game that tried to be serious and similar to old fighters but with a formula similar to smash’s could get average players and some less hardcore fighter fans though.”

      This is kind of not true, in my opinion. Just look at how many “hardcore” players insist on trying to treat Smash Bros. as a fighting game, even though Sakurai and Nintendo go out of their way to make it clear that they aren’t interested in that direction.

      The only way fighting games will “break out” of their limited market right now is if someone does start thinking about how to stop letting the “tried and true” conventions get in the way of accessibility. The trick is finding the right balance to that—making the accessible, but also retaining the complexity.

      • James Smith

        Well, yeah, I know that smash has a big hardcore community and if you consider it a fighter then they do qualify as hardcore fighter fans that love smash.
        But what I meant is that the older fans, the fans of the more conventional fighting games in general do see it as an outsider unworthy of the fighter status or their time. Now I don’t know why many of them react like that, if it’s because it’s a Nintendo game or because it’s different or because it’s not so hard to learn but that’s just what I’ve seen whenever many of these guys get together, all fighting games will be welcome but do not mention smash around them.
        That’s not all fighter fans, just the ones I’ve seen, but it’s something to consider.
        Oh and I agree completely that trying  a new  approach to the genre with both complexity and accessibility in mind could be a great path.
        It’ll take an innovative and pragmatic approach though.

      • Locklear93

        “Just look at how many “hardcore” players insist on trying to treat Smash Bros. as a fighting game.”

        Tell me about it.  I recently had one get seriously insulted because I consider them a different genre.  Fellow got very defensive, very fast.

        As for breaking out of their limited market, I’m not sure how much I want that, but I’m prepared to admit that some of that may be because every attempt I’ve seen has been a really bad game.

  • http://gamgambit.tumblr.com/ Thespian Treasure Hunter ♢

    When I saw the thumbnail I thought “What? Punch in the boobs?”

    Haha kidding! Regarding the article Im actually happy that someone actually put this into mind, as a non competitive player Im looking foward to this!

    • Davide Costa

      More like “Abort Punch”. 
      The creepy thing is that Yun is happy while doing that. ._.”

  • Istillduno

    As long as it is just teaching and not messing with systems to make it easier I’m all for it.

  • xxx128

    All capcom is doing these days is screwing their long time fan base over in favour for the dumb mass market where the money is. Shame on you caps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Kizer91 Richard Medina

       yes, shame on them for catering to the current generation of gamers instead of the older, aging one that would not and could not keep their company afloat.

  • Jonathan Keycross

    Strategies? Just follow the flowchart…

    Damn those shotos…

  • Hinataharem

    This is the best article I have read in a long while. Like, it totally makes so much sense.

  • shindoihayato

    I think what Capcom needs to do with their future fighters is what Tekken does with their technique tutorials.
    1.) Show the move input.
    2.) Hit select to see the move displayed (both timing and button inputs)

    I’m way more into Street Fighter than I am Tekken, but Harada and Namco have gotten everything right where Capcom keeps dropping the ball. I think Capcom needs to take a look at what Ono is doing in terms of Free DLC (characters and costumes), especially if they’re going to release “Upgrades” every year or so with a “Super” or “Ultimate” prefix. When Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom was release, I was quite shocked to see that you still had to pay for Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath…

  • Göran Isacson

    Agreeing with some of the comments here: I think that the inherent complexity of most fighting games with stuff like hitboxes, frame counting etc makes it so that even if they explain, those kind of games are never really going to appeal to the mass-market that plays Super Smash Bros. I wish that there was a way to create more “party brawlers” that weren’t just anime-licenses but that were just about fun party-fighting for the people into that. Surely the market must be strong enough to support both the advanced and the party-fighters, no?

  • Haohmaru HL

    even though i’m good with this genre, but feel sorry for those who gets the game and gets absolutely nothing about how to play because Trials in challenge mode just dump you in a box and tell you do stuff (and i still hate how it shows move names instead of actual commands), a brief tutorial like in blazblu for example or virtua fighter would be a nice addition to help the beginners and if they want to develop their skill further-they can move on to guides like bradygames or whatever. i’m also against making games more casual as they did to sfxt, instead leave it complex but teach us to play.

  • BadenBadenPrinny

    You just need a fraud detection warning
     

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