Before I start this out allow me to say that I love it. I love all of it. I love the concepts, the character choices, the art direction, the UI, the stages, and how it looks and feels. I love everything that you guys have done, but I feel that some of the decisions that have been made can make this game underperform, and i’m writing this BECAUSE I love it and BECAUSE I want to see it do well. I actually wanted to be one of the people who pioneered in making this game a recognizable competitive game, and I simply don’t see it anymore. I’m going to explain why in this document.
In the link above Omar is asked the question that I want to address the most in this document,
“Obviously this game has a party game vibe but also has a serious competition is also key here, so how much effort is put into balancing etc?”
And the response was essentially “It’s super important, but we also want to see interest in this game not just on day 1 but on day 1,000.”
And this is an important part of what keeps a game alive today: competitiveness. In this document I’m going to be expressing why I don’t feel as if the game will have a long life span if no changes are made.
First of all I need to apologize, I was going to make this an argument without using the term “smash bros.” at all, but it’s a vital part of the discussion really. In the fighting game community there are brands of fighters, 2D games, 3D games, Anime games, so on and so forth, and your game is most comparable to smash brothers.
Whenever smash brothers is brought up around the fighting game community, it causes a lot of uproar. A lot of people say that it isn’t a fighting game because it doesn’t have any health system, and it’s really random what with stages and items and so on and so forth. Smash however is still an e-sport that exists to this day, and we can ask why is that? It was because they had enough options that they could mold it into what they want. They were able to select stages that didn’t have random attributes, and take away all the items, to make a competitive game that is both fun to watch and fun to play.
My belief is that most of the time, competitive games are fun to watch if you understand what is going on. My best example would be sports or even someone who plays Starcraft. Jocks may enjoy sports where as a starcraft player would enjoy watching starcraft because they can understand or identify what is happening. The good news is that it’s easy to understand and identify what’s happening in your game, accessibility has been the goal from day 1, but what’s going to carry us to that day 1,000 we spoke of is making sure it can be competitive.
So what is it that ultimately decides whether a game is competitive or not? It’s fairness. But what KEEPS a game competitive WAY after its release? If it’s both fair AND fun.
So first let’s look at your main selling points on the game. It is a party game with a formula that has been known to work, except now with playstation characters. Cool. For the most part you seem to understand who your audience is, younger people. If you had more of older PS1 characters (spike, fortesque, parappa) then you had newer characters (everyone else.) then I would be concerned. People who have been playing video games for that long rarely casual gamers, and if they are, then they probably aren’t as invested in these characters to begin with. As it stands however, the roster is fun and accessible for almost anyone who has ever owned a playstation. However what you need to understand is that your selling point as of right now are these same characters. People who are invested enough into these characters respective franchises to be interested in purchasing a game because they’re in it, isn’t really a casual gamer. They don’t have to be “hardcore” but they aren’t casual.
Now here’s an important note on the gamer: a lot of our friends are online. I understand that the game features netplay, but one of the best parts of brawl was inviting a friend or two over to play it, the couch factor really made it a childhood experience for a lot of people. Now that most of our friends are online, what keeps us playing? What drives us?
For me personally, it’s the friendly competition. Sure I play fighting games because they’re fun, but a big factor is knowing how pissed off my friends will be when I find some new tech. And if it really is a competitive game, we can talk about the results of big tournaments, or see someone play a character a way we never thought of before, and it’s really exciting. It’s fun to watch a game grow and evolve like that.
And so again I say competition keeps games fresh and exciting today. And for one reason, I don’t think your game will do so (as it stands) and it is your scoring system. From a competitive standpoint I would imagine the format would be 1vs1, as is customary in any non-team based competitive game. A system where you can save meter to get more kills, but when you are killed you are dead for 3 seconds, serves no purpose in a 1vs1 game. Sly coopers level 3 for example, is rendered almost entirely useless if you take away 2 of your 3 opponents. So I suggest you find a way to have a competitive mode, one where if you land a level 2 or 3, you are rewarded with more points then landing a level 1. You would also need to eliminate random factors, like the buzz quiz or the hotshots golfers. I don’t think it’s impossible to give us the option to have a competitive mode, but I really hope that this convinces you to do so.
It’s hard for me to accurately say what factors need changing without having played it, so I suppose i’ll either have to wait until release, or keep hoping for a beta key *wink wink*
Thanks for reading guys.