Daishi’s Twitter – Round 8

Weeks 8 and 9 – 12/02/11 – 25/02/11

Went home early today. I was busy this week and couldn’t check twitter. Sorry 😛

Which is the reason this update is late. Daishi got snowed out, went to a dinner party, and didn’t post much of anything else for the third week of February. Thankfully, he started posting again this last week.

@Daishi_CALIBUR When making the new SC, remember the international players please! ソウルの新作成を作る時、日本プレーヤーだけではなく海外プレーヤーも考えてね!

@itsumobasho Off course I’ll be considering everyone fairly. The Japanese players often say the same thing about them.

This is not simply a trade-off between guest characters and arcades.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but a few things are clear: Soulcalibur sells better overseas, and whether that’s from the size of the overseas market or not is probably irrelevant. Namco is, along with Sega, at the top of the Japanese arcade market, as a manufacturer, and as an owner, and while Japanese arcades are still big enough business — pulling down numbers in the $3-6b USD range — Japan itself has been in an economic slump for years.

Namco has included guest characters that are distinctly Western, while still giving Japanese fans something, with bonus characters designed by manga artists.

Tekken does well in Japanese arcades, Virtua Fighter does well in Japanese arcades; in fact, Japanese arcades appear to love 3d fighters. But do Japanese fans want a new Soulcalibur game in their arcades, and do Western fans want to wait 6-18 months for a console port. And there are many other factors to consider, from the gain or loss of marketing momentum, to the distance we may be from the next console generation.

It’s not as simplistic as Japanese fans want an arcade release, foreign fans want a console release and guest characters. When the discussion takes that form, everyone loses. Right now, Namco is on the tail end of a major restructuring, and their absolute priority is to turn a profit as soon as possible, and while they may still be a major manufacturer and distributor of arcade games, and while they may be continually disappointed by how their console releases perform in foreign markets, the choice to have an arcade release is still unclear.

I’d love it, though. ❤ arcades.

LOL too much ! marks @Hennisythedon PLEASE KEEP CHARATER CREATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There’s no reason to think that character creation and customization wouldn’t be in the next game. It’s standard — at least the customization — for modern 3d fighters, even in the arcades.

We’re working on it! @JasonAxelrod me too…better balance for the next game please!

@nomusher I see, there’s nothing wrong with having a hardcore opinion.

Daishi will be swamped with balance requests right up till the game is released, and then patch requests right after. It’s important to keep in mind that whatever balance decisions are made will revolve around the new game, not the old ones. Until we’ve got any idea of what the new game will be, anything more than general requests for balance are pointless.

Daishi is still fielding general fighting game discussions. First up, pacing:

So when you say Soulcalibur is fun, is it because it’s fast paced? Slow paced? Or just right?

Fast paced fighting games are popular but not so if it’s too fast paced. Maintaining the the balance is difficult.

There are small differences in pacing in SC2, 3 and 4. Not attack speeds but damages done and tuning of the 8WR RT @broccoman @Daishi_CALIBUR I don’t think you need to change much on game speed in SC. It’s just right where it is to me from SC2-SC4.

Pacing isn’t as simple as game speed, as Daishi rightly points out. It has a lot more to do with options and damage output.

We will now examine sample high level matches from various 3d fighting games. Objectively.

First up, Virtua Fighter 5:FS. Source: Tournament matches found on Sega’s official youtube channel. Match 1. Match 2.

Things to note: Virtua Fighter has a 45 second round timer, the lowest of all modern fighting games, both 3d and 2d. Both matches went all 5 rounds, and rough math puts the average round length at 37 seconds, including post-match replays, pre-match character and stage intros, and post-match winning poses. The matches themselves averaged out to 3 minutes, 5 seconds each.

Next, Tekken 6. Source: Tekken Crash Season 5 Royal Rumble Tournament. Match.

Things to note: The 2 sets played took about 8.5 minutes, all inclusive, and only 1 of them went to 5 rounds, making the average round over 60 seconds, and the average match length over 4 minutes. Granted, they went back to the character select menu, and Koreans supposedly use a slightly larger health bar, but even if you lop off time for extra character intros and loading times, that’s still well above Final Showdown’s times.

Last, Soulcalibur 4. Source: 8wayrun.com’s match of the year for 2010, Belial vs Rufus.

Things to note: The 3 sets took 8 minutes, 40 seconds, though intros were skipped. That’s 2 minutes, 50 seconds per set, and 40 seconds per round.

What does any of that mean? Nothing, really, except that expectations don’t equal reality, and pace is more than numbers. Is Virtua Fighter a faster paced game than Tekken? Is Soulcalibur? Is pace about speed, or is the more deliberate action of Virtua Fighter what gives the series its reputation? In a general sense, Soulcalibur seems to be aiming for a middle ground between the huge stages and combos of Tekken, and the intimate stages and action of Virtua Fighter.

As for pace within the series itself, the same things apply. Soulcalibur 2 may have been a fast game, but it was also a very safe, very poke-heavy game — and that was partly because of the bugs, while Soulcalibur 3 was a huge damage and ring out game — and that was mostly because of the bugs. Soulcalibur 4 has a slower feel from more unsafe movement and harsher damage scaling. As Daishi said, there’s more to the feel of speed than just putting game speed up to 11; step, safety, and damage are important factors.

You can rely on me! RT @TreSanBan: Well, we’re trusting that as a former tourney player yourself, you’ll do what’s best for the Soul series.

At the time I thought SC1 was balanced but is it still so today? SC2 I thought had too much freedom and also had bugs. RT @YoshiCookie: Soul Calibur I and II were very well balanced.

Here Daishi is likely talking about Soulcalibur 2’s g2 bug, which allowed a player to cancel the recovery of GIs and certain moves, and the easily abused steg-g, which allowed players to sidestep vertical attacks while being safe from horizontals, and gave them huge openings for punishment, which was the best way around Soulcalibur 2’s very safe movelists. Of course, all that was much worse in Soulcalibur 3, but we don’t talk about Soulcalibur 3.

At least Daishi has the balls to acknowledge the bugs, even if he’s only doing it for a game he didn’t work on.

The best thing that can be said for Soulcalibur 5’s hopes in the balance department is that every other fighting game is getting updates with bug fixes now, and Daishi is the first chance Soulcalibur players have had in a long time to demonstrate bugs and problems with a definite chance that someone who can affect things will actually see them.

That’s right, accessibility is impotant too. RT @TriforceBlade:I imagine so. Another difficulty is making the game accessible to newcomers

Just like chess, unless you learn the rules it’s no fun. But I don’t want players to have to “study” the system to enjoy a game. RT @BYS777: I want to understand the system elements while enjoying the story rather than a tutorial

The all important accessibility vs depth debate rears its head.

It’s difficult for a person who knows how to play the game, who has put effort into learning it, to understand exactly what someone who has no interest in learning the game wants from the gameplay, and at the same time, it’s difficult for someone who is more interested in the frills and fluff to know what someone else would want from the game.

Soulcalibur has been attempting to bridge that gap for a while now. As far back as Soul Blade’s console release, Namco has been including more and more fluff options to keep people interested in the game, and fortunately, that seems to be what people want. If the next Soulcalibur ships with a Create-A-Soul, an Edge Master or Mission Mode, and plenty of unlockable concept art, weapons, theatre and gallery options, and a well-implemented Story mode, that will be enough to sell it to people who want those things.

When a player decide to dig a little deeper, that’s where the real problems begin. Easy to learn, difficult to master is a watchword for the genre — for any genre, yet the games that enjoy the most popularity are seldom that: they’re more about what players can aspire to, and the steps they can take to get there, and — this is the most important thing — keeping players interested along the way. There are clearly defined, and expected, plateaus for players to reach, and the balance is in keeping each step vibrant while still making the next step appealing and reachable. That’s what Soulcalibur should be aiming for.

What can be said in Soulcalibur’s favour is that it’s able to give most players the flash and instant gratification they want. Big, showy moves are all over the place, and easy enough to execute. The problem is that as you progress, you realize that big, showy moves are rarely ideal; that small, safe moves are what you need. That is what hurts, because who wants to get better only to have their options reduced?

Tekken has combated this by putting the show into the juggles, something that everyone gets to do, even though the general options and pokes atrophy as skill increases. Virtua Fighter prefers to level everything out, giving the player a large variety of viable moves, but with fewer that stand out. If Soulcalibur wants to keep aiming for the middle ground, it will need something new to shake things up. And that would lead us back to Daishi talking about meters, and how he enjoys managing them.

http://twitpic.com/40pj3o To my left is producer Mr. Tago. Its not a very good angle but @Filthierich might upload a better photo.

This guy is a mystery to me. I can’t find him in the credits to any past Soulcalibur game. I guess he’s the new guy.

And finally, Daishi shared posts that included pictures of him alongside Namco community manager filthierich, a huge statue of Zasalamel, and a swanky replica set of Cassandra’s sword and shield from Soulcalibur 4.

As an aside, a while back Namco secured a controlling share in D3, a publisher linked with series such as OneChanbara, Earth Defence, and Puzzle Quest, and with connections to Tamsoft, the creators of the Battle Arena Toshinden series of 3d weapons fighting games. Shura may as well be an OneChanbara character anyway.

Of course, it doesn’t mean anything.


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