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Harada Says Fighting Games Need More Team-Based Competition

3 min

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Harada Says Fighting Games Need More Team-Based Competition
Traditional 1v1 is just not as popular with the mainstream audience.

On the newest episode of Game Make's Notebook podcast, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada spoke with Shohei Yushida, who is currently the Head of Independent Developer Initiative at Sony.

If you're not familiar with the podcast, it's a series of candid 1 on 1 talks with all sorts of different people from the gaming industry, where they get to take their time and talk about various interesting topics (at least to anyone who's into video games). Highly worth checking out, you can follow their channel through the video below.

Anyway, on this episode, it was mostly Harada sharing his thoughts and knowledge about the somewhat general path of fighting games from arcades to consoles, and the people who play them. It would be a disservice to him to try and condense this into a short series of notes, but there's one element that people were especially keen to point out – the need for team motes.

When expressing thoughts about the future of fighting games, Harada noted a generational shift in mentality. In his generation, he thinks that people are rather competitive, and they prefer to have clear results with a definitive winner and loser and in a head-to-head battle.

He considers most of the younger players to be the opposite. While there is still a market for 1v1 competition, a lot of people prefer the team games because while they can attribute winning to themselves, any losses can be brushed off and blamed on someone else.

This is not an uncommon observation, but Harada considered some interesting solutions for this, with side modes that could potentially offer more team or region based competitive modes, and, perhaps more importantly, provide more social features. For example, there is already Fight Lounge with little avatars and a chat, but Harada also mentioned something like PlayStation Home, a feature that might have been too ahead of its time.

The latter he found important because unlike with other genres, fighting games struggle with providing players with a constant sense of progression and growth. In his example, an MMORPG player will always gain new items and abilities, in two years of playtime they will have a lot of things that reflect their journey. In fighting games, you could play for 2 games, get really good, and then have it all shattered when you lose to someone new.

There are a lot more interesting things to consider there, like how Harada observed that most Tekken players he saw were not striving to be super competitive and usually played with their friends or family, prompting him to target a more casual audience and think of how to make the game more fun for them.

The full podcast is very much worth watching, so give it a go.

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