Warning: long post + more of my life story ahead.
TheXev wrote:IMO, its the genre's fans that are killing the genre. Hardcore fans have scared me off from fighting games... most recently Melty Blood. I don't want to play now that all the hardcore guys are playing. There is nothing rewording, you can't play casually to compete now. If you can do 20-40+ hit combo's, you can't compete now.
Its sad, but its the truth i feel. Hardcore fans are killing the genre. The quality of the games be damned.
There has to be more to it than that. Every genre has a hardcore base, not just fighters. Hell, FPS is one of the most competitive genres, but still manages to hold on to a large casual market in the West. Though I can somewhat understand what you mean, I don't think the problem stems from the hardcore fanbase so much as a lack of casual fans. Afterall, an FPS pro will waste a FPS n00b, an RTS pro will waste a RTS n00b, and a Racing game pro will waste a Racing n00b, but all of those n00bs (or newbs, if you prefer) have a large pool of other players around their skill level to play against, so they don't have to worry about getting good if they just want to screw around, yet still have a chance to get better by playing many different people. In fighting games you don't have that so much (outside of Japan anyways); pretty much everyone either is a pro or just stopped playing because either a) they didn't like the game, or b) they thought the game was cool but got discouraged because they never stood a chance against anybody they played. It's a vicious trap - there isn't a casual market for these games, which discourages the creation of a casual market, and new players.
drizzt_rocks wrote:What u guys are saying is true to an extent but blaming the hardcore gamers is going over the top. I think what's really killing the genre is that games are evolving. Other genres have tons more to offer than plain old one on one fighting with a crappy story. What used to be good isn't always still good...
I think that's a big reason that there isn't a good casual market right now. Other games offer more than just competitive gaming - single player modes with engaging(ish) stories, and a kind of gameplay that can't be found in a multiplayer scenario. With a strong single player mode, a player can still have fun playing by themselves, and afterwards they have that cool feeling of just finishing a really fun game, and they want to play some more. That in turn leads to the birth of a strong casual multiplayer market, which helps create more gamers who may eventually decide to put enough time to compete against the hardcore fans. However, most fighting games don't have that kind of single-player experience: the AI is usually mind-numbingly dumb, either falling for the same move over and over, or being impossibly precise, with reaction time and precision that would be impossible in a real match (yet still being mind-numbingly dumb). And the lack of any story or gameplay variety doesn't help either. So unless you have somebody else around your skill level who for whatever reason is willing to play with you, there isn't much of a reason to play any new fighting game.
I realize that's important because, now that I think about it, I probably wouldn't be into fighters now if I hadn't gotten into Melty Blood while living in Japan, in the same circumstances that I had. I first heard about Melty Blood after watching the Tsukihime anime, then googling it because there was a bunch of stuff that didn't make sense to me (go figure). I didn't think much of Melty Blood when I first saw it, but I ended up exploring Evospace's giant website of Tsukihime lore. And, well... I thought it was really cool! Even though I hadn't read Tsukihime, and only read a small portion of his enclycopedia, I got really into it, and at that point decided that I'd give Melty Blood a try. So I ended up downloading it (yeah I suck, though I ended up buying it shortly after), and I liked it, but more because I had an attachment to the characters rather that me loving the intense CPU action. After the initial adrenaline rush of story started to fade, and I was starting to lose interest, something else important happened - Act Cadenza was released in arcades. That's when I started to begin my plunge into the world of fighters; now that I had a whole metropolis of people to play with, I had a reason to keep playing the game. Although I got my ass handed to me the first time I played in an arcade, I wanted to get better, so I bought an arcade stick and practiced. And while in the beginning I got discouraged and thought that there was no way I was going to get to a competing level, I eventually learned I could play people at different skill levels depending on which arcade I went to. So I kept playing, wanting to get better so I could fight in the better arcades, and by the time I left Japan I found that I could take on (some) of the people in my local arcade (Cat's Eye, Machida), and I didn't die as embarrassingly as I did in Akihabara's Club Sega. And even now I'm still playing and getting better (though not as fast since I have nobody to play with).
Umm, that was a long-winded story, but anyways the point I'm trying to make, is that in order to get into a competitive game it first has to be engaging enough to draw the player into its world. For me that was the story of Tsukihime. It then has to have both a strong casual and hardcore base, so that a player has a variety of people to play with, and can hopefully find people around their skill level to practice against. The arcades of Japan were a perfect environment for me, in that I could play people at my skill level, but still look at better people and see what I could do better. If I didn't have that kind of environment I wouldn't be as into fighters as I am now. And the last thing that I didn't really go over too much, is that the game has to be fun on all levels. Even when I was getting my ass handed to me, I was still having a good time watching what others were doing, and eventually learning how to react in certain situations.
From all of this, I see that Street Fighter IV has a lot to overcome in order to breathe life back into fighters. But if it retains its tradition of deep and engaging gameplay, while also emphasizing a good story, lovable characters, a single-player mode that's actually worth playing through, perhaps some innovations to help it stand out against the other fighting games, and maybe some good netplay to allow people to play together (since arcades are really just an ancient fairy tale), then perhaps it can bring in a new market that will lead to the growth of the fighting game genre.
Oh, and if you're wondering why I care about so much whether Street Fighter IV makes it, I just like fighting games in general, and I think that this game has the best chance out of any to bring in some new players, so that I can once again have some competition for me to bring myself to a higher level of play.