Fighting for Dollars

What drives success in the Fighting Game genre? Is it Learning Curve, Style, or Developer? Those three characteristics are the real differentiating factors in fighting games. Originally I had learning curve divided into complexity versus simplicity. But, at the highest and lowest caliber of every games play, there is both complexity and simplicity. The most complex Street Fighter game can be broken down into sweeping and anti-airing. The most basic Dead or Alive game contains frame data and move priority. Style is the most difficult and complex area of division. In all, fighting games can have a similar system style with one degree of difference. But the most defining style difference in the community is 2D games versus 3D games. Lastly is developer. This is an often overlooked quality, but sometimes the brand name can be a major selling point. Case in point, Midway and Acclaim weren’t as good a brand name, and it reflected in the amount of money they had to put into their games. It also affected who would buy and try the games from loyalty alone. But what is seen as success really boils down to popularity and sustainability. Both of these drive sales and sequels. To start, we will begin with a game that had both popularity and sustainability.

Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future
Developer(s): Capcom
Iron Galaxy Studios (Online Edition)
Publisher(s): Capcom
Platform(s): Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s): May 12, 1999
Cabinet: Upright
Arcade system: CPS3
Street Fighter III 3rd Strike is a game that had both popularity and sustainability. As the top played game for 10 years, even during a spree of new releases, 3rd Strike cemented Street Fighter’s top spot in the fighting game community. Its style was customary to its predecessors and it introduced more complexities to a solid fighting dynamic. It is also the only fighting game to be re-released for every console since its flagship release. Though seen as a highly complicated technical and mental game, it’s easy arching learning curve is inviting to new comers and a point of pride for long time players. Lately its fundamentals can be carried into other similar games, making it an easy game to get into and apply in other formats. With its strict timing, innovative parrying system, and easy to grasp fundamentals, 3rd Strike is both a staple game and one still played today.

King of Fighters XIII
Developer(s) SNK Playmore
JP SNK Playmore
NA Atlus
EU Rising Star Games
Director(s) Kei Yamamoto
Platform(s) Arcade
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s): Arcade
JP July 14, 2010
PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
JP December 1, 2011
NA November 22, 2011
EU November 25, 2011
(The King of Fighters-i)
July 7, 2011
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Taito Type X2
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings PS3: 78.11%
Xbox 360: 81.19%
Metacritic PS3: 77
Xbox 360: 79
Review scores
Publication Score B
GamePro 4.5/5 stars
GameSpot 8.5/10.0
IGN 7.0/10.0
Entity Award
GameSpot Best Fighting Game
GameSpot Most Improved Sequel
Suffering from either regional exclusivity or the brand name blues, Hailed as a highly technical and complex game, KOF13 never reached its main stay as a staple fighting game in the US. It was just as quickly picked up as it was put down, in favor of more popular titles. Anything KOF lost in ease of play, it made up for in diversity. KOF13 had a 1v1 fighting system with teams of 3 fighting survival style, with the only life gain coming from how quickly you win. With the 1v1 setup, each player had to learn the individual and varying moves of each character including how special power ups effect those moves. More so, the application of meta game came for the construction and then last minute ordering of your team, not allowing your opponent to know how your team will be lined up until the match is about to begin. This game also introduced “long-cuts”, which meant the game would read you doing one motion and would make you commit to the full motion so you wouldn’t get a different similar move, and wouldn’t cheap the move motion itself. This added to the games unbelievable depth. Where the game was well receipted was south of the United States border, where some of the highest level play would happen. With all its praise and following in the Latin gaming community, it wasn’t enough to carry the game internationally. This all lead to the sinking boat that is King of Fighters XIII.

Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3
Developer(s) Capcom, Eighting
Publisher(s) Capcom
Director(s) Ryota Niitsuma
Producer(s) Ryota Niitsuma
Series Marvel vs. Capcom
Engine MT Framework
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
Release date(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
NA November 15, 2011
JP November 17, 2011
EU November 18, 2011
PlayStation Vita
NA February 22, 2012
JP December 17, 2011
EU February 22, 2012
PEGI: 12
DVD-ROM (Xbox 360)
Blu-ray Disc (PS3)
PlayStation Vita Card (PS Vita)
Aggregate Scores
GameRankings (PS3) 80.92%
(X360) 81.17%
Metacritic (PS3) 80/100
(X360) 79/100
Review scores
Publication Score B+
Edge 7/10
G4 4/5
Game Informer 8/10
GamePro 4/5 stars
GameSpot 8/10
GamesRadar 7/10
IGN 8.5/10
TeamXbox 8.5/10
Entity Award
IGN Best Fighting Game
IGN Best Xbox 360 Fighting Game
Seen as one of the most played, most hated, popular games, UMVC3 is a fun game. Its popularity comes from how vibrant and entertaining it is, but its hate comes from how random is it and the numbers of power ups thrown into the game. There’s a simplistic Meta game that comes with team selection and once someone chooses their team you should be able to tell their style. Unlike other fighting games, which rely heavily on mind games and baiting, UMVC3 relies on taking all the assistants of the games systems and the simplicity of the games systems and use them to create the hardest hitting, easiest combos to win. Eventually all things in Marvel become exploited and then patched until the game reaches a new, temporary balance. And just as the physical system always changes, the style constantly changes as something new is discovered and exploited. What UMVC3 can credit itself with is having a great character balance. There is a group of better characters, but none that are horrible characters, which can bread team creativity in a casual setting. Its simplicity generates a large player base, and its learning curve is relatively even. This makes it one of the two most played games right now, even though it isn’t seen as technically brilliant.

Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition
Developer(s) Dimps/Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Producer(s) Yoshinori Ono
Designer(s) Hirotoshi Shiozaki
Artist(s) Daigo Ikeno
Composer(s) Hideyuki Fukasawa
Series Street Fighter
Version 1.07 (ver. 2012)
Platform(s) Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s)
NA April 27, 2010
JP April 28, 2010
EU April 30, 2010
BBFC: 12
Media/distribution Optical disc
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 91.3%
Metacritic 92 / 100
Review scores
Publication Score A
Computer and Video Games 9.5 / 10
9.0 (3DS)
Eurogamer 10
Famitsu 35 / 40
Game Informer 9 / 10
GamePro 4.5/5 stars
GameSpot 9.0 / 10
GameTrailers 9.3 / 10
IGN 9.0 / 10 9 / 10
X-Play 5 / 5
Giant Bomb 5/5 stars 9.0 / 10
SSF4AE is seen as a sequel to Street Fighter 2 more than Street Fighter 3, but by far is it seen as an upgrade. Taking a different route, SSF4AE has both a Super and an Ultra gauge. Supers come from attacking or being hit. Ultras come from taking damage. Also, you can spend some of your super meter to perform an EX. All these power ups make it an easier game to play without relying solely on fundamentals and prior system knowledge. In addition, there are focus attacks, which block one hit of retainable life while performing an attack, which can be used to counter attacks. Many attacks are also “focus cancelable” so that there is less of a chance to be punished for a whiffing blow. Because of how offensive the game is, but how risky offense becomes, SSF4AE becomes a patient timing and awareness match rather than relying on skill alone. The problem is a button press only registers to the next attack once the animation for the first finishes, which is a foggy thing to time. This leads to buffering, which is 2 close together presses to make a move come out. But in a game of timing and reaction, buffering makes things difficult. With all this included though, SSF4AE has taken a lot of skill from the equation.

Mortal Kombat 9
Developer(s) NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Distributor(s) Time Warner
Director(s) Ed Boon
Composer(s) Dan Forden
Series Mortal Kombat
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Version 1.05
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
PlayStation Vita
Release date(s) PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
NA April 19, 2011
EU April 21, 2011
PlayStation Vita
NA April 2012
EU April 2012
BBFC: 18
PEGI: 18+
Media/distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD, PS Vita Card
Mortal Kombat was widely picked up because of both its simplicity and its revival of the series. All the normals were universal. What the game boiled down to was a battle of special moves and meter using moves. And just as quickly as it was picked up it sank back into the shadows. It wasn’t technically brilliant or unbelievably challenging but it did take high reactions and timing.

These are all the current most played 2D games. What I came to notice with the range of 2D games were that the most technical game didn’t denote that it would be popular, but it did give the game a slower popularity decline. Also, the easiest to play game also didn’t mean it was the most popular, but it did mean a faster increase of players to pick the game up, but a much faster number of players to quit the game. The thing that really controlled popularity was the name attached, and CAPCOM were the 6 golden letters that seemed to mean instant success. Both the most praised and most hated games had success due to the large Capcom fan base in the fighting game community. This is I would talk about the breadth of 3D fighting games, but the problem is they fail to meet a long standing popularity to be even with the 2D games, because Capcom hasn’t made a 3D fighting game and they seem to own the rights to game popularity. What I will do is talk about them in the category they fulfill: Learning Curve.

Virtua Fighter 5
Developer(s) Sega-AM2
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Noriyuki Shimoda (producer)
Yoshihiro Tsuzuku (director)
Series Virtua Fighter
Platform(s) Arcade, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) Arcade
JP July 12, 2006 (Ver.A)
JP July 24, 2008 (R) (Ver.A)
JP May 21, 2009 (R) (Ver.B)
JP November 25, 2009 (R) (Ver.C)
JP July 29, 2010 (FS)
PlayStation 3 Ver.B
JP February 8, 2007
NA February 20, 2007
EU March 23, 2007
Xbox 360 Ver.C
EU October 26, 2007
NA October 30, 2007
JP December 6, 2007
PEGI: 16
Media/distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD-ROM
Arcade system Sega Lindbergh (VF5 and VF5R), RingEdge (VF5FS)
Display Horizontally oriented
Publication Response
1UP A+ 9 out of 10
Game Informer 9 out of 10
IGN 9 out of 10
Eurogamer 9 out of 10
OXM 9 out of 10
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9.5, 10, 9.5 out of 10
Famitsu 34 out of 40
GameTrailers 88 out of 100
Official Xbox Magazine 9.0/10
IGN 8.8 out of 10
Gamespot 8.1 out of 10
Virtua Fighter 5 is praised as one of the hardest, most technical fighting games made for next gen consoles. It has no supers, ultras, ex’s, or any other kind of power up. Character attacks can range from the instant to full body motion moves that can dodge. This, coupled with mid combo style switching, makes the game incredibly difficult, which has greatly influenced its fan base. VF5’s fan base is small and silently integrated in other games, but is fiercely dedicated. Their small size is a because the game is terribly hard to pick up, let alone be good in, and is developed by Sega, which isn’t known for its fighting games.

Soulcalibur V
Developer(s) Project Soul
Publisher(s) Namco Bandai Games
Director(s) Daishi Odashima
Composer(s) Junichi Nakatsuru
Hiroki Kikuta
Inon Zur
Cris Velasco
Andrew Aversa
Tomoki Miyoshi
Series Soul series
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s)
NA January 31, 2012
JP February 2, 2012
EU February 3, 2012
BBFC: 12
PEGI: 16
Media/distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD-DL
Soulcalibur is seen as the Street Fighter equivalent of the 3D world because of its power ups and the newly added supers. This latest SoulCalibur has seen a cosmetic change, swapping in new characters with the same move sets as old characters in order to progress the story. SCV is a game of timing, anticipation, and reaction. You have to learn to read both your opponent and your surroundings and make quick decisions along with planning. Seen as a lower level mix of Tekken and Virtua Fighter, SCV has a juggling system and many open rings for ring outs. But the technical level is low, and so it suffered the same fate as Mortal Kombat. But because it is entertaining and bright like UMVC3 it has a steady enough remaining fan base to make it the top 3D fighting game currently played, trumping Tekken.

Tekken 6
Developer(s) Namco Bandai
Publisher(s) Namco Bandai
Producer(s) Katsuhiro Harada
Platform(s) Arcade, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Java ME (as Tekken Mobile)
Release date(s) Arcade
JP November 26, 2007
JP December 18, 2008 (BR)
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
NA October 27, 2009
JP October 29, 2009
EU October 30, 2009
AUS November 5, 2009
PlayStation Portable
JP January 14, 2010
NA November 24, 2009
EU December 11, 2009
AUS December 17, 2009
BBFC: 15
ESRB: Teen (T)
PEGI: 16
Media/distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD-DL, UMD, Download
Branching off in another direction is Tekken. Remaining constant to the feel of other Tekken games, T6 introduced new characters to show an impressive list. Unlike Soulcalibur, which has vertical and horizontal moves, Tekken’s fighting systems uses high and low mix ups to make reading and reactions a premium. Tekken does feature power ups, which is charging a move or inputting a power up. Both make the original move stronger. Tekken basics are fundamental and can carry you through to the next game in the series, which makes the learning curve of T6 a much easier slope. But the true test of being successful is character knowledge; match up knowledge, and reactions.

Unlike the 2D genre, the 3D genre doesn’t suffer from widely played but hated games, because there isn’t a strong enough developer fan base to drive it. The popularity of a game relies on its ease of play and stability. Games that are too hard or too random often have a short shelf life and are cast aside for more reliable games. All games that do offer a stable experience do receive moderate success though, because the 3D fighting game community is style based rather than developer based.


3 comments on “Fighting for Dollars

  1. Pingback: The King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga Psp Game download | ExtremeConsoleDownloads

  2. I understand that making a game that is custom tailored to the player is a difficult, technical task but this is how they marketed the game. I remember feeling that my ME1 decisions, with the exception of Wrex, didn’t really have an impact on ME2 except for a few casual encounters with Conrad or an Asari communicating on behalf of the Rachni Queen. I really felt like I would feel the heavy weight of my major decisions from ALL three titles. Instead, there were many times when it felt like “Oh yeah, I remember doing that.” The only decisions that seemed to carry sufficient weight were ones that I made in this particular game.

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