Tekken creator Katsuhiro Harada has said fighting games need to have some button mashing-friendly design, because the love of the hardcore doesn’t translate into sales.
“It’s interesting because the evaluation depends on the group, whether it’s the hardcore or just your average gamer, and it can be very different. 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,” Harada told GamesRadar.
The hardcore crowd want balanced characters, an emphasis on technique and knowledge of the game, and reliance on quick reflexes, Harada said.
“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,” he added, noting that Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono and the Sega team behind Virtua Fighter struggle with the same issues.
“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,” he said.
Despite that fact that it’s easier, Harada feels catering purely to the hardcore will negatively impact sales and public reception – which makes sense, as it restricts the game to a smaller consumer base – and cited Street Fighter III as an example.
“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,” he said.
“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 III.”
Harada’s next game is Tekken Tag Tournament 2, coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in September.