Project L developers take apparent photos of fighting games like Street Fighter 5 on skill gap and netcode

Do they live up to the lofty ideals?

With the push of trying to get more fighting games in the spotlight of eSports and competitive games, some developers have tried to find ways to entice new players to dive into their titles, which in turn may end up rubbing existing fans the wrong way.

During their recent reintroduction to Project L, League of Legends fighting game development managers Tom and Tony Cannon had a lot of interesting things to say, including taking some apparent photos of their competition as Street Fighter 5.

There are a few points in the video where the Cannon brothers seem to address some of the community issues in more recent fighters, namely the attempt to narrow the skill gap between casual players and the pros and experiences in suboptimal line.

After revealing that Project L will indeed use simplified special inputs like those seen in Rising Thunder and Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, Tom Cannon states that they aim to make the characters easier to grasp and start learning, but without removing the cap on technical skills. and the ability of players to express their own styles.

One line stands out in particular for those who have become more involved in excision in the last generation.

“It’s not about creating a game where new players have a chance to beat the pros,” said Tom. “It’s about unleashing fun at all skill levels.

Just because it’s simplified doesn’t mean it will be easy to become good

It’s easy enough to hear this as a not-so-subtle dig of other companies like Capcom and Bandai Namco for their own marketing strategies that ended up drawing the ire of some gamers.

Street Fighter 5 is probably the best example of this, although other games like Soul Calibur 6 and arguably Guilty Gear Strive could also fit in here, with former producer Peter “Combofiend” Rosas having repeatedly relayed that Capcom was aiming for to keep players engaged by making them feel like they were still able to play a game, even with a noticeable gap in performance / knowledge.

“We want the skills gap to be a bit narrower,” Rosas told us in 2015. “Of course if you put in the time and effort you’re going to live up to the opportunity, you are going to live up to the challenge. get up, but maybe the guy who hasn’t invested as much time as a pro player, as long as he can do a few combos, and knows when to press the right buttons at the right time, all his pushes on the buttons will pay off. “

This of course raised eyebrows among fans, who began to wonder if it was worth it for them to devote the time to a fighter where skill didn’t matter as much.

The problem was further exacerbated during the release of SF5 when rapper Lupe Fiasco managed to defeat Street Fighter legend BST | Daigo Umehara in an exhibition setting.

“It just shows that anyone could really become a champion in this game if they tried,” Rosas said after Lupe’s victory.

Of course, however, that feeling would start to fade as major tournaments showed familiar pro players leading the way, but the stigma would stay with the game and be brought up whenever other developers spoke about accessibility and feedback mechanisms.

The Cannons are obviously no strangers to fighting games, given that they helped create and develop the Evolution Championship Series to be the biggest event of its kind, so they generally know what players are looking for in a game. title – especially those from West / North America.

It’s nice to hear a developer say these things out loud, but it’s also important to keep in mind that this is just marketing right now. We have yet to see them keep those promises.

Among our audience it can probably be generally agreed that the fun of fighting games isn’t really finding the biggest guy in the room and trying to take him down, but rather developing personal skills, to put them to the test against others, and learn where you can still improve on your own path.

Having a fun fighting game to play at different skill levels for different reasons is a goal that most, if not all, developers should set goals for, although it is a delicate balance.

You hardly ever see fighting game makers discussing smooth online play as one of the first things they talk about for their game, but that’s pretty much exactly what Radiant Entertainment did for Project L.

That in itself wasn’t too surprising though, since Cannons were the original pioneers of the restore netcode that everyone has been clamoring for years with GGPO.

Expectations are huge for Project L to have the best online experience of its kind because of this, which it looks like they are set to do.

The brothers discuss their goal of boosting netplay rollback with Riot’s own internal server centers to try and give gamers the best connection possible while also taking some snapshots of the issues gamers have endured for years.

“We also actively manage a player’s connection with their opponent to ensure a consistent fair play experience,” Tony said. “If their connection is slow or loses packets, their experience will suffer, but yours will not.”

Even Riot is quick to say Wi-Fi is a problem

This again seems like a slightly more subtle dig on games like Street Fighter 5 which use restoration but still face / face a lot of issues.

One-sided restores have been a problem in SF5 since before release where one user can see and react to everything normally while the other is stuck with a nervous disorder.

Despite what common sense might say, it often seems like the person with the “best” connection is affected by gameplay-level connection issues, which can be a frustrating ordeal when you know it isn’t. there is nothing to fix on your end.

It’s not just Street Fighter that sees these issues either, as even The King of Fighters 15 has seen many players report a similar one-sided rollback during its open beta test, which is a bit ironic since the game uses GGPO. .

Again, it’s so nice to hear the developers trying to tackle and fix these issues early on and jump in while for years online gaming has been treated as an afterthought by the side. arcades and in-person gaming.

Fighting game developers hardly ever talk about their competitors’ weaknesses and loopholes, but it just seems to show that Riot is determined to open the doors to the FGC and lure people where others have failed them in the game. pass.

So far, Project L is saying all the good things gamers want to hear. However, we’ll still have to wait until we can get our hands on the game on our own to see if they can live up to those lofty ambitions.

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