Trying to assess a fighting game character’s strengths and weaknesses is mostly subjective and will change depending on who you ask, but there is still some consensus overall by discussing them.
within the games He recently spoke to Street Fighter 6 director Takayuki Nakayama and producer Shuhei Matsumoto at length about a number of topics, including tier lists and how the developers feel about their characters internally.
After talking about how the players were initially struggling against E. Honda and JP and yet thought they weren’t extremes, Nakayama goes on to talk more about how they view their characters and their power levels.
Simply put, the director relates how developers often have very different ideas of how a fighter compares internally to hardcore gamers.
Nakayama Director: “I love watching the level lists that players make. These are very different from our ideas internally. Even with Street Fighter 5, our views never align with the players even in the end.
Most people seem to consider Luke the strongest, but on our development team what if I told you we already thought Alex was at the top? We don’t talk about this stuff because it then comes as an ‘official statement’, but it’s interesting.”
This was the interesting comparison, since Alex was consistently listed among the worst characters in SF5 by professional players until the game’s final season.
even in List of final levels for Street Fighter 5: Champion EditionWe ranked Alex 26th out of 45 characters, so we still felt he was pretty average while the development team felt he was a lot stronger than we were seeing.
While Alex’s example may be a bit shocking, the whole thing feels less surprising for a number of reasons.
First, the developers are not among the strongest players in the world who compete in the game on a daily/weekly basis, and so they won’t always see things the same way they do.
Their experience will probably be greater than the average player in general, but they won’t be beaten and challenged in the same personal way.
They also have all the relevant data on their side to help support their conclusions with statistics.
Developers can always see which characters are the most profitable, what they win with, and on the flip side, what players lose.
It’s a pretty simple explanation as to why Cammy continues to receive buffs in SF5 despite continuing to win at or above the majors, but overall, she’s had one of the worst online win rates of all.
Trying to balance a fighting game is a fine line that I don’t envy where developers need to consider top players’ feedback/scores, hard data, and their own internal testing to get to a point where everyone can have a good time.
They won’t always get that balance “right,” but there are ways to try to make it so.
Hopefully Capcom and players will remain satisfied with Street Fighter 6’s balance considering they’ve stated that their plan is to give the game a bigger game balance update once a year.
Although apparently they are not holding back from making adjustments as they see fit as they add a new way to perform Drive Rushes when Rashid arrives in a few days on July 24th.
Nicholas Magin Tenshinhan-Taylor provided translations for this article.
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