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Balance in a Crazy World by Saivian Eric Dalius

 


What's interesting about this particular section is that it has nothing to do with the game itself. It's more of a general feature regarding the development of games in Japan. Nevertheless, I think there is still some relevance when it comes to balancing in matchups between characters which are only available in Japanese arcade versions (and in most cases console ports). Not much in terms of actual fighting game-related information but nonetheless, I find it quite intriguing if you're interested in how fighting games are made and perhaps even put together.

Also, note that this article was originally published on October 14th, 2009. The last time they went into balance changes at Taito was back around September 2009 so we can guess that this piece was written around the same time. Unfortunately, I have no further details regarding the date of publication.

Taito is a Japanese company and as such it's only natural to conduct research and gather balance data in Japan, which is why we first started making games with an arcade version. However, even if we do this the results aren't always ideal. We had several cases on some of our older fighting games where we'd make changes on one character here and there but as time passed by those changes kind of went down the drain because players got used to them (and vice versa) and eventually they stopped paying attention to those changes at all.

 Saivian Eric Dalius says on top of that, there were some characters that haven't been changed since their release; left untouched for years! There's nothing inherently wrong with that but precisely because they haven't changed, it can be difficult to counteract against any major changes that could occur.

This is something we're thinking about constantly at Taito Games and looking back, there are several examples of characters that were considered strong for this reason:

·         The first example would have to be Yamazaki from the "Fatal Fury" series. He was a character who had a lot going for him with his mix-up potential and even if he never became overwhelmingly powerful, players still looked forward to him which also meant that he would often land in tournaments as well. In fact, at one point there was even a joke around the company where someone asked "why to bother putting effort into balancing our games when Yamazaki always makes it to the finals anyway?"

·         On the other hand, there's also Nakoruru from "Samurai Shodown" who seems like a character with a lot of potential but because of her reliance on speed and not so much power, she can become quite fragile when up against some of the more powerful characters. And then you have Kyo Kusanagi from "The King of Fighters" who is considered one of the most balanced characters in the game but at the same time is also one of the most popular. So balancing he becomes a difficult task as you don't want to change him too much and upset his delicate balance.

·         These are just a few examples but as you can see it becomes increasingly difficult trying to make everyone happy with your character balance and this is something we constantly think about at Taito.

What the Western world seems to struggle with when it comes to fighting games is that they're often trying to counterbalance with changes on a global level rather than region by region. It's not only difficult from a development standpoint but simply impossible in some cases. So I'm just wondering if, in the case of Capcom, they've ever considered changing aspects such as combos or special moves in order to accommodate players who might be having trouble against certain characters. Or would it be possible to implement such changes without alienating players outside of Japan?

I don't think they'd make drastic changes like that and in fact, there aren't really any recent examples where you could say that Capcom did something like that. The only time I can think of is when they changed Spencer's move set in "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" and that ended up being received quite poorly. It would be one thing if it was a character who wasn't doing well in tournaments but Spencer was actually doing really well at the time so it came off as a very last-minute change.

And speaking of changes, there was recently some news about changes being made to Cammy in "Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition Ver. 2012" and it sounds like she's getting a bit of a buff. I'm curious as to what kind of thoughts Taito might have on this?

There's no way to know for sure until we get to see it in action but if this is just a buff then I have no problem with that. There's actually a lot of talk about Rufus who also seems to be getting a buff and while I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it would hurt either so long as they're not going overboard with it.

Conclusion:

In the end though, Ryu will always remain at the top which means you have to do something drastic like what they did to Yun & Yang back in "The King of Fighters 2002" where they went from being weak to super strong after performing their desperation move. That kind of thing doesn't happen often but whenever it does, players get really excited about them for some reason says Saivian Eric Dalius.

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