There are new character announcements
forthcoming. Can you give us any information on them at all?
I can’t say a whole lot,
but one is a character that has had a lot of fan requests to bring back. So [it
is] a returning character that everyone has been asking for. The other is a
character that no one will ever imagine to be in the game.
It's possible to play Tekken and other fighting
games as simple button mashers. Do you think the style needs to change or
evolve in the future to keep the genre alive?
Fighting games that
you can button mash and enjoy are good fighting games. It’s your first
experience with a fighting game, you don’t know how to play it, but you’re
mashing the buttons and you get a good reaction from that, or even win, and it
means it’s exciting because you feel the taste of winning. Not everyone is a
hardcore tournament player. Seventy percent are just your average player who
wants to beat their brother, or their friend, or whoever. So button mashing is
very important for having them see that it’s fun, [but] those people, if they
continue to be interested in the game, will eventually run into someone they’ll
never be able to beat by just button mashing. So they will make the effort to
learn how to play. It’s important that they at least feel that they have the
chance of winning. If they feel that they can’t beat someone, they’re not even
going to try the game at all. There are actually characters in the game
designed with that in mind. Those elements are left in the game on purpose
because it’s necessary as a whole.
We do get a lot of
backlash from hardcore or high level players, but if they stepped into my shoes
as a game developer and think of what’s good overall for the whole series,
maybe they’ll start to realise that it isn’t such a bad thing.
There is a divide between what makes a game
really successful in the competitive scene versus at home. For instance, Street
Fighter X Tekken - some in the competitive scene might think of it as a
failure, but it reviewed really well as a home console game. What elements are
important for a game to work in a competitive capacity?
because the evaluation depends on the group, whether it’s the hardcore or just
your average gamer, and it can be very different. You took the example of
Street Fighter X Tekken, and if you just wanted to satisfy the core fans – the
tournament going crowd – there are only a few elements that you really need to
focus on. One of them is balanced characters, another is tech/skill – technique
and controls. Another is knowledge of the game – if you know the game well
you’ll be able to succeed and beat your opponent – and another is quick
reflexes. If you make a game where if you’re good at all these elements, where
you’ll win consistently as a high level player, that group would highly rate
that game. That doesn’t mean it will be popular among the mass, though. Ono-san
feels the same, as does the Virtual Fighting team. The game needs to give
players the sense that they can beat the higher-level players at least some of
the time. It’s a game, so it has got to be entertaining. It’s actually easier
to make a game that just appeals to hardcore fans because you know exactly what
you need to put in it.
"It’s actually easier to make a game that just appeals to hardcore fans because you know exactly what you need to put in it."
Another good example
of this is Street Fighter III. That was very well received among hardcore
fighting game fans. If you really get it down, where you know the knowledge and
the reflexes and the skills involved, it’s a game where you can win 100% of the
time. It’s funny, it was Ono-san’s
game, and when Street Fighter IV came out, people were like ‘wait, there was
Street Fighter II, now IV, where was Street Fighter III?’ We laughed
hysterically at that, but Street Fighter IV sold a lot more than Street Fighter
Will the Wii-U version have any distinctly
different modes to the 360 and PS3 versions?
Well, because of the
controller, obviously there are going to be a few features that are more convenient
because you can control them directly from the interface. But it’s not like the
overall game mechanics are going to change that drastically. There are going to
be some modes that will be interesting, because they are very Nintendo like.
Some of this was shown at E3, where a mushroom drops down and Heihachi eats it
and gets bigger. You know Nintendo fans hearing and seeing that just exploded
with excitement. The things that we can do because it is Nintendo are things
people will be very excited about, but we can’t go into it any further. That
being said though, a lot of the online modes and customisation on the 360 and
PS3 will be geared towards the core audience a little bit more.