What people think is missing from modern fighting games - lightslingergame.com

What people think is missing from modern fighting games

Views: 28289
Like: 1703
#fightinggames #gaming

We talk a lot about the differences between modern games and classic games. I had a talk with my stream, and reacted to Maximilian’s take on a big factor IMO – “emergent gameplay”.

@Maximilian Dood vid here –
@Brian_F vid here with a lot of specific examples –

Follow me on Twitter –
Pull up to the clips channel –
Come chill with us on Twitch –
Instagram –
Patreon –
Contact – [email protected]

Edited by ChadDrawsThings –

Thumbnails by Tsuntenshi –



  1. Emergent gameplay is when relatively simple mechanics interact to produce scenarios that are more than the sum of their parts. Whether or not the devs intend for these scenarios doesn't matter really.

    For example I've been playing Street Fighter Alpha 2 recently, and one thing I noticed is that there's no extended hit stun on counter hit – which means there's a flexible mixup scenario instead. This is emergent gameplay.

  2. Super Smash Bros. Melee has always had the best "emergent gameplay". In addition to all the movement/offensive options it gives you. It ALSO gives you something to do while you're getting hit (beyond shielding/guarding). Your trajectory is directly influenced by where your analog stick is as you're getting hit, and beyond that you can tech, not tech, and mash to get out of hitstun. IMO giving players defensive options is a really underrated way to make the game feel more "loose"

  3. Parries are wack.

    Player expression is mostly about not being able to play in unoptimal ways that feel good. Its kinda funny that he brings up BFTG when that game has only one way to play it. land a hit, ToD, go for some silly mix up for the next hit and ToD again. About as wack as parries.

  4. All this emergent gameplay this emergent gameplay that I'm still trying to figure out the optimal way to use three of Strive Baiken's four moves. What he wants is to be new at the games again.

  5. Player expression being integral in competitive scenerios and actually being rewarding is what I believe makes a long running fg.

  6. Thoughtful video, I would like to see you and Max have an interview and have a discussion about it. To see how both your insights can come together in a discussion about modern fighting games from a casual(Max) and competitive(Lk) point of view.

  7. But none of these people play tekken. The definition of emergent gameplay

  8. I'm actually shocked. I always thought it was widely accepted that it's restrictions/constraints that breed creativity.
    EDIT: obviously up to a point

  9. imo you gave max too little credit. You specifically mention 2 ways that FGs have become less expressive (conversion off everything and they way devs have a specific meta in mind and use the mechanics to narrow it down to playing as intended in games like granblue), but you kinda assume that he isn't talking about either of those.

  10. If a game is not PERFECT it’s just NO GOOD. It’s NO GOOD AT ALL, let me say.

  11. honestly this just makes me want a vid from you on the subject of player expression in fighting games, going over examples of games/scenarios with a lot of room for valid expression on a competitive level

    would be helpful as a zoomer ass platform fighter player that doesnt have a lot of knowledge of older fighting games

    i tend to think of player expression in a few different common forms:



    risk/reward preference

    niche knowledge
    technique discovery

    RPS preference??? (acting vs waiting vs preempting)

    i tend to feel like people mostly only ever care about the first 2 of those

  12. With all due respect to the guy, Max doesn’t really get it. Emergent gameplay is borne out of restrictions, not “freedom”. But players are usually not great judges of what they actually want.

  13. I thought the same, it sounds to me like he want blazblue.

  14. i think what max is describing is a game like Killer instinct? its a super fun game for casuals and it had a lot of depth to for the competitive community. i personally cant wait for the next instalment for that game because i feel like its to late to hop in now lol.

  15. He talked the same dumb shit when MK11 came out and he was horribly wrong on all the consequences of the dev decisions. Max is such a boomer it's just sad at this point. It all just boils down that it's not what HE wants and what he wants is have another killer instinct and he's trying to use big words to paint it as valid criticism.

  16. Loose games LK he telling u what we want lmao

  17. It's cool that LK is willing to teach max blazblue.The only problem is that max doesn't like it. And max has expressed it a lot.

  18. LK doesn't seem to really get it, but in his defense, Max does a poor job articulating what he means fo sho.

  19. …OOF. The moment you claimed it was weird to say that fighting games should allow more creative freedom was the moment you completely lost me. That's such an obviously god-awful take that I've completely lost interest in watching the rest of the video. If you want games with mathematically perfect solutions with little room for creativity or self-expression, you should play JRPGs instead of fighting games. What. The actual. FUCK??

  20. This is too many layers. I like the video a lot but it hurts my brain a little to think about you’re basically watching max watch a video, and deb just released a video where she talks about what you said talking about what max said talking about what the original YouTuber said about fighting games lmao

  21. I've never understood the "strive has no expression" mindset. I can clock the top Nagoriyuki players in one round easily. If people like other entries in the series that's fine, but I don't think Strive is the linear experience people make it out to be.

  22. This isn’t super related to the video, whenever you talk about fighting games you like I’m surprised you don’t like kof

  23. Casuals want the feeling of a lot of options even if it's an illusion, or to the detriment of the game.
    3S parries grant the illusion of options because it's technically another "tool," even though OS' cause a lot of rps scenarios in other games to have binary outcomes.

    If you look at high level 3S, there's actually way less going into the decision making and strategy from games like SF5 where every tool has a proper use.

  24. I think the same people who ask for things like this would be the first to complain when the top end of the game is dominated by characters who basically maximize or abuse these "loose mechanics" they're asking for. "Why does this character get to combo of X", "Look how much harder I have to work for my damage and meter", "My character doesn't get to do X that this other character can, this is so unfair" etc. This was what so many Dustloop forum convos regarding earlier Blazblue versions were like by my memory.

    The reason why a lot of modern fighting games might feel "over designed" is because they're actually trying to minimize people having feelings like this about the game (LK talked about this in his gatekeeper video about how people feeling like they can actually win with a weaker character like Goku Black is actually pretty important to your average dude's willingness to play and stick with FighterZ). And like LK said, you can't compare the speed at which knowledge spreads now to how it did for games pre-2010 let alone stuff before that. Who's to say that if the internet and match footage spread as quickly then as it does now (Not to mention just larger player pools in general) that you wouldn't see these "loose" games get solved just as fast just because people would quickly realize "Oh, the way I'm playing these games/characters is wack I need to get on this new strategy".

  25. There is an interesting parallel between this and Pokémon double battle tournaments. In Pokémon when the new game comes out Pokémon tournaments tend to not include all the Pokémon from all the other previous games. And in general the power levels of all the Pokémon is lower, so you see more team variety. But when you add the other Pokémon, despite the added variety, there is a centralisation of strategy. You see fewer Pokémon being used at the competitive level because they added all the strongest Mons. But when you look at single battle tournaments they run tournaments with different strength levels of Pokémon in mind, so you can make a team of Weaker Pokémon and still use that team as long as you're playing at the right level. Beyond that it's not like every Pokémon is using the same moveset or items, each team will use different things depending on the strategy of the player. I think emergence is what you make of it.

  26. I think for me starting in Melee and then playing anime games, just having a lot of movement options is what I like the most. I think a lot of interesting/complex interactions can come up just from that alone. I don't care about extensive combos or the variety in combo routes all that much compared to just feeling like I can move around. I really just wanna move and interact with how the opponent is moving. I do agree people shouldn't be so quick to try and compare to older games though because information did not spread anywhere near as fast. I would bet that if any FG including any smash game considered og or whatever came out today, it would get "figured out" 10x faster than they did back then, but they'll look back and think "man those games must have been just so crazy deep that it took 20 years to learn these things". The combo stuff I 100% agree on, and that's probably why I actually don't like long combos all that much when you can convert off of everything. I think I prefer games where instead of a conversion every time, some or most of the initial hits just lead to another possible interaction between the players.

  27. DNF just feels "loose" for Max because it has a lot of stuff that looks good, and in other games would turn out to actually be trash and situational, but in this game it actually IS good (as far as one can tell from 3 days of playing the game)

    But it is actually the most restrictive fighting game I've ever played outside of maybe Fantasy Strike. Offense is not good, movement is trash, the "cancel anything into anything" system doesn't lead into anything, and there's a big emphasis on long range

  28. i think what you've identified is that max wants a game that feels a certain way, knows that he isn't getting that feeling, but hasn't diagnosed the reason. Here is a problem: a game can offer a lot of 'creativity' per se, where every player has a variety of approaches they might aim for, and a variety of at least partially valid interpretations of how to play, and how to use one's tools. However, a game can do all these things and still end being super convergent for a variety of reasons. I would say that in general, a game(or character) that gives you a chance for a lot of creativity is not necessarily one that offers you a lot of opportunity or incentive to improvise.

    There's a shit ton of possible game states in your average fighting game, but you don't actually run into a lot of them in practice. Either pressure from your opponent restricts your viable choices down to a small amount, or you're doing pre-rehearsed bread-and-butter, where the situation is confirmed into the optimal series of commands. I would liken this to chess, where only a subset of all possible board configurations actually occur in real games.

    Perhaps what max actually wants is a game which is scrappier and less likely to place you in familiar, predictable, or solvable game states. I will grant that things like air techs and air resets have the power to do that. That said, this environment might be argued to actually be against creativity. You'll notice that a lot of the characters who do well in these situations are ones where you just have a fast or evasive option to hit as soon as you broadly recognize what situation you're in.

    I hate to say it, but I actually think +R testament comes the closest that i've seen in guilty gear to creating gameplay that involves a large variety of game states, promotes player expression and improvisation, and still duly promotes and rewards creativity. That said, many people claim to hate to play against testament. I only wonder if it is actually those qualities which make people dislike him.

  29. this all feels kinda weird:

    "you know, there are many different approaches you can take to game design. One approach, which we took in street fighter III, is to design your game around unanswerables. I think with any game, players will search for the best tactic, the best strategy, like 'if x happens, you should always do y. If you do this here, you'll always win.' There's competitive games like that, where the matches is essentially a confrontation of theoretical knowledge, that each player has built up. But street fighter III is a game, by design, doesn't have a fixed answer to those questions. There is no best tactic. You can spend your whole life trying to find the perfect, theoretical approach to a situation in SF III, but it will never be quite right. You always have to be reading your opponent in the moment. You can't just fall back on your theories. It's a game that lets you search for answers forever."

    This is the quote we're essentially reacting to, but do you guys see anything related to emergent gameplay with this? Sounds like the developers had an idea of what their game was gonna be about and were fairly accurate despite genei jin, unblockables, and the like. MvC2 is a game that is textbook example of emergent gameplay, but once magneto or iron man touches you, it's game. Sentinel can just hit you with an unblockable and you'll just have to deal with it. That game is surpremely busted and in a way where there is a definite answer to things (I think). Marvel as a series is emergent, busted, games with characters who'll geniunely not have options to deal with things.

    On the other side, we have more intentionally designed games like Virtua Fighter and KOF, where you know what your character/moves are supposed to do, but there's layers to unravel to understand the game and choices and decisions to make, since your opponent can interact in nearly every state of the game. 3D fighters in general have that quality, whereas in 2D land, it feels a bit sparse (maybe anime fighters are all about that, i wouldn't know, never played one). But, this more accurately represents the quote, as these examples are of designed, interlocking systems that keep dominating strategies and definite answers from being created (in theory, not entirely sure).

    I think max misunderstood the quote and we got roped into this discussion around player expression when it's simply about choice, which can come from strongly intentional games, or happy accidents like other retro fighters.

  30. Max is a casual. Not a scrub, but nowadays a casual

  31. I think everyone is intentionally misunderstanding Max ‘cause having an optimal way to play a character doesn’t mean it’s the only way to play them and find success. No one likes the feeling of “ if you’re not playing X this way then you can’t win “. Something as small as combo diversity breaths life into a character and rewards character loyalist for being loyal.
    I think it’s why Variations are so loved in Mortal Kombat, even if it’s a gimmick. Playing the way you want will always beat playing optimally.

  32. Hey hold on a second how has nobody compared melee to smash 4 in this discussion yet

  33. Max sounds entitled. Of course there needs to be limitations. its not a open sandbox

  34. At this point I feel like not two people have the same definition of emergent gameplay. It's become everything and anything

  35. Max is really bad at conveying his point, which then makes it hard for you to counterpoint or even fully agree with him. LK spent a bunch of minutes trying to decipher what Max meant and Max barely even defined what "emergent gameplay" means. It's like "defensive options" and "player expression". At a certain point, without a clear definition they just become buzzwords without any real meaning behind them and can be OS'd to hell: "Well, ACKSHUALLY I meant…"

  36. Good vid, LK! I understand a lot more what your approach is and agree with some things of it especially your take at 10:21, I wholeheartedly agree with that.

  37. i swear if one of those games come out today and people learn the best shit a character does it will definitely lose all that "emergent gameplay"

  38. Ya id rather a character have less tools but they are all well thought out and synergize with eachother than have a character with a bunch of random shit half of them are pointless and or contradict what their other tools bring to the table.

  39. I think "emergent" gameplay is a direct result of constant player interaction. If you give players plenty of tools in offense, defense, and neutral, you have a game that is never "truly" figured out, and I don't think devs (and a lot of players) get this.

    Most games don't have this issue when it comes to the neutral, but they do when it comes to the offense and defense. It turns less into a chess match and more into a QTE sequence for the attacker and defender. The attacker hammers out his BnB, and the defender waits until the string is over or they can jab out.

    Games put systems in to reduce this, but ultimately it will remain as that's the nature of fighting games. Rather, the focus on interaction shifts based on the systems in play. For example, Strive's RC system. In order to build meter, you have to take risks, so now the player interaction is skewed immediately toward the attacker. Sure, you can spend meter on defensive actions but you don't get that unless you've been on the offensive at least once already.

  40. I think your just looking at it from a different point of view. Some people usually only care about doing the best thing for every situation. And it seems kinda narrow minded to think of it as people are gonna narrow it down anyways. I think having more options is just much more interesting and fun and I think thats the way the majority feel. Because if your not playing at evo or some shit who gives a fuck lol. like in all honestly its not always about doing the best thing and even people that are playing in tournaments sometimes just wanna style whem there playing not playing in a pro setting.

  41. Like honestly i find gg strive boring as fuck i dont think just because its a newer game it cant be compared to the more established xrd because i feel strive at its core design is what isnt good imo. Honestly it feels very unintuitive especially if it wants to bring in new players i think people disregard alot of other factors when it comes to its success in doing that. Also most people arnt gonna care about options that are really good if there not fun to do. It seems narrow minded to think "well players are just gonna narrow it down anyways" Like yeah, but most hardcore fighting game FANS that arnt totally sweats or playing in tournaments Dont care and Even they like to style every now and then and do something that isnt the best for the situation because its fun. Lol i think you have a sweat lord mindset which is understandable since you play at a competitive level in tourneys so thats not meant as an insult.

  42. More choices and ways are not real on the age of internet where people just try to search the optimal path for every situation. See mmos for an example, a lot of choices possible, but everyone uses the same rotation.

  43. The Disgaea reference hit for me. Game gives tons of options but you can beat most fights with a single mage because of the way you can level and the range the spells have. Final Fantasy Tactics, by comparison, requires more strategy because of the limitations it puts on the player and character builds.

  44. And even with information coming faster today, people are still finding new stuffs in umvc 3 lmao

  45. His point with third strike is spot on tho

    In every other street fighter
    when someone jumps in at you
    For the most part you either anti air.. or block

    In third strike you can anti air.. You can block
    You can parry

    But then you have to wonder if they are going to empty jump with a parry, which would counter your anti air

    Instead of being rock paper scissors it ends up being way more open, And i think thats what his point is when it came to speed
    Its more about the flexible options and decision making

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.