What About Turbo Tanks?
Not necessarily abandoning the idea for this unit, but I think Turbo Tanks might not be original enough for what this unit outlines. As this is still rather early in the semester, I believe I have time to tinker with other ideas in the interim, if all else fails, I’ll go back to Turbo Tanks.
Before I outline the idea I have, I’ll provide some background for the reasoning behind it.
Accessibility in Fighting Games
Fighting games bring about some of the most exciting and intense experiences possible in the medium. However to reach that peak of reading your opponent and trying to outsmart them; you need to spend hours upon hours getting to grips with often overly complicated controls, move lists and bizarre systems. This inaccessibility is what deters a lot of potential fans to the genre; they never get time to process what they need to do in a fight as they’re too focused on remembering how to do it on their gamepad/fightstick.
There are a few games which utilise simplified controls and gameplay to get people into the fun part of fighting games quicker. The unfinished and now open-source game Rising Thunder features dedicated buttons for pulling off special moves. To prevent the overuse of these moves, the game restricts their usage with a cooldown.
More traditional games such as Dragonball Fighter Z, Skullgirls or Mortal Kombat go with the route of simply having less buttons to press to pull off moves. And to have robust combos available to the player that only require repeated presses of one button.
In my experience, I’ve found the best fighting games for people who don’t like fighting games are the chaotic brawls of Gang Beasts and the intense duels of Nidhogg. Both games utilise simple one button combat. These titles place an emphasis on where and when they are pressing buttons rather than what they are pressing.
The Skate franchise back in the PS3/360 generation utilised an innovative and intuitive control scheme where the entire repertoire of flip tricks were mapped to flicks of the right stick. This combined with its heavily physics-based gameplay provided a very different flavour of skateboarding to the arcadey button mashing action of the Tony Hawk titles (and its swarms of imitators.)
What if we applied a similar mentality to a fighting game? Instead of pressing arbitrary buttons to do attacks, what if we bound the movements of a fighting game character’s weapon to the right stick? It would remove the need for movesets all together, and players will only need to worry about where their character is, where their sword is and what their opponent is doing.
I see two potential implementations of this idea, each with their own benefits:
Behind the Back
Similar presentation to For Honor, the camera is placed behind the player’s character and is locked on their opponent. The right stick will move the sword around the screen in front of their character. Damage would be judged on the force of the collisions of swords to their opponent’s body and the locations that are hit. The hope is to have tense and tactical fights where the fight could end in a single well-timed blow.
However, the aim is to have this be a competent local multiplayer title, and for this camera to work, the game will need to rely on split-screen to handle multiple players, which may be problematic for players with smaller displays.
The game uses the traditional side-on view. The right stick will move the sword in a circle around the character in relation to where the stick is pointing. Triggers will once more act as modifiers to sword grip and damage is judged by the force of sword impacts.
The drawbacks come from the fact that swords have a very restricted scope of movement; it can either go up or down. This might result in a chaotic fighter with quick fire action but one with little depth to keep people hooked.