We Don’t Need Tight Execution for Our Fighting Games

Street Fighter V is on its way, and in its wake came a large discussion about the nature of execution requirements. To sum up, should combos be made easier or remain as they were in Street Fighter IV (not so easy)? This question has caused quite a bit of division, and here I will share my thoughts on how things should be done. First, we should go over the basis of both these viewpoints.

The argument from those who want more leniency on the combo system is one that comes with the belief that this will make the game more accessible to newer players. Fighting games are primarily about strategy and and quick thinking, but on top of that, there is an execution barrier that exists that prevents players from being able to do more damaging combos. Because of this barrier, a lot of newer players turn to other games that don’t have these off-putting requirements that are necessary in order to function at a competent level. To them, hard execution in fighting games is the equivalent of having to balance chess pieces on top of each other first before being able to make a move. It seems to be an unnecessary restriction whose very design does not seem to be of service to anything in particular.

Those who do support more difficult execution will usually emphasize that making it easier will change absolutely nothing. That bad players will always be bad no matter how much assistance they receive in the “executing ridiculously hard” combos department and that these players are mainly just too lazy to really get invested in fighting games anyways (which is a rhetoric that sounds suspiciously like another I’ve heard used in politics). Another argument in use here is the belief that more difficult combos can be used as a bit of a balancing measure for the more dangerous stuff that can be initiated in a game. Finally, there is a strong sense of satisfaction and pride that comes with pulling off these hugely difficult feats of execution, and an even stronger sense of hype from those fortunate enough to witness such feats.

My take on it, as you probably guessed from the title, is that easier combos are a step in the right direction. At the end of the day, the better player will win in the end, only this way the players won’t have to fight their controllers on top of their opponents. Difficult controls should not be a balancing measure, I vehemently disagree with that assertion, and having easier execution does make an enormous difference. You can see that in the success and rapidly growing scene for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U/3DS and I know this personally from having played Street Fight X Tekken (which has way more lenient combos than Street Fighter IV) and finding way more success in it. The argument of hype is one I can’t ignore however. That is truly important, and I can’t act like satisfaction derived from completing difficult tasks isn’t a real thing, but I will say that there is a trade-off that needs to be made here and that it’s one worth making. It really just comes down to your values as a fighting game player at this point, and I have to say that I find a more accessible game more beneficial to its life than the amount of hype feats of execution it has in store (not to say that SFV won’t have those at all). That’s just my feelings on the matter, and evidently, they’re the feelings of Capcom as well.

Quote of the Day:

“You fought the rest, now try the best!”

Rufus, Street Fighter IV.

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