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Believe it or not, Zenless Zone Zero and Street Fighter 6 have more in common than just gorgeous urban drip

Senior devs from both teams meet up in a warehouse to discuss game design. Where else did you expect?

Custom header of Zenless Zone Zero and Street Fighter 6
Image credit: VG247

In a crossover no one saw coming, senior developers from both Zenless Zone Zero and Street Fighter 6 have recently come together for a roundtable discussion about their games, game design philosophy, and perhaps most interestingly the thought process behind how to keep players invested in each title, while maintaining depth for hardcore players.

You can watch the full video here, packed with over 30 minute of discussion, but the game design chatter in the first half warrants spotlighting. In it, you have Zhenyu Li (producer on Zenless Zone Zero), Shuhei Matsumoto (game producer on Street Fighter 6), and Takayuki Nakayama (game director on Street Fighter 6) sharing their thoughts and experiences of game development.

"I think it's more about some of the design principles and how they collide" Li states. "Just now we were just chatting about how action games and fighting games, although they're two completely different genres, within them I can find some shared designed principles."

Nakayama agreed, saying: "I feel the same about how fighting games are actually a type of action game. The core principle of action games is when you press a button, an action is reflected on the screen, and you tring together actions to solve problems or confront enemies."

The conversation moves onto considerations of how to keep gameplay interesting for players, and that through playing games like Street Fighter 4 or 5, Yu felt "it was very rare to have a button that would give players immediate, heavy impact and feedback." This apparently made him think about how players could potentially leave games before they got to experience the true depth and enjoyment present.

He elaborates, "When it came to Zenless Zone Zero, I actually had the same considerations. A game where you only have dodges and reactions, monster attacks, and our own characters offensive and defence, then it's a little dull. So if we can put in this really interesting mechanic that has impact, the feedback from this moment is stimulating enough for players, and they can easilly access this move. Then players get to reach this moment of joy faster." This statement was paired alongside footage of the tag system in Zenless Zone Zero, which allows players to hot swap out characters with cinematic, powerful attacks.

It prompts a discussion about player reaction time, to which Nakayama raises the example of Drive Impact from Street Fighter 6 as their own effort to provide that immediate feedback Yu mentioned. "Even though Drive Impact is a kind of power move," he says, "we've also designed a number of different ways to avoid or deal with it. This kind of prediction game between attack and defence really occurs on a frame-by-frame level."

He'd later touch back on the Drive Impact and Drive Rush systems, and how they were designed with new players in mind: "We designed Drive Impact, so players new to fighting games could unleash this game changing attack at a push of a button. Parrying is the defensive compliment to this. At first, it was the idea of a single button attack and defence. We continually itterated on that."

There's way more packed into the video, but in just the first 7 minutes you get a good idea of the fundamental similarities between both games. It's well worth a watch in full if you consider yourself a fan of either!

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