Can we please stop rereleasing the same fighting game 3 times?
Fighting games are my bread and butter. They're where I get my virtual kicks and how I settle most arguments with my nerdier friends. As much as I love having a steady stream of new content to keep me on my toes, fighting games are guilty of perpetrating one of my biggest pet peeves: releasing 3 to 4 disc versions of the same outdated story arc.
Let's play Super Mega Ultra Random Fighter VII Deluxe Plus!
...or let's not. I don't know anybody who wants to shell out for the annual reskinning of a game they've already purchased before. While a reasonable amount of additional content and mechanical patchwork may be worth the extra money, I don't know, once, it eventually just becomes a serious nuisance.
For example, here is the launch trailer of Capcom's Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Shiny, huh? But does "shiny" warrant this being the fourth iteration of the Street Fighter IV lineup? Just how many adjectives could we have tacked on before the Roman numeral "IV" bled out? Well, the average fighting gamer sees Capcom as less than benelovent on the matter.
"I'm gonna wait for the Super Hyper Ultra Mega Supreme Championship Edition." (steve m)
"Better be like $9.99 cus I'm not paying $39-$60 for the 5th release of this!" (acanez85)
"I doubt I'll buy SFV when it first comes out since we know they will release 18.5 versions of it later." (ninjarai001)
These comments are simply some of the most intelligible. Some comments are just the word "milk" repeated anywhere up to 20 times. The sad part is my inability to blame them. Even being a lover of fighting games and more experienced than most "casuals," I gave up on SFIV. My heart and my wallet just weren't in it.
But what about the new characters?!
Yeah, what about them? Every iteration of Street Fighter IV introduced one of my favorite characters into the series (Crimson Viper in SFIV, Juri in SSFIV, and Poison in USFIV). Does that mean I supported the longetivity of SFIV? You might've thought so, but you'd be wrong.
Prepare the eulogy and give it a rest already.
We've seen glimpses of Street Fighter V in action and it's shaping up beautifully. It being a PlayStation 4 exclusive heralds the series' ascension to full-blown, next-gen status. I can respect them needing to wait for a console with more horsepower to further their vision, thus stalling out the series for a bit. However, I strongly feel that Capcom could have focused solely on this new project without upsetting too many gamers.
Instead, the community stands shaken as many have no faith in Capcom to tame it's adjective-slinging ways. People are already opting out of purchasing SFV, thinking it better to wait for that game's assumable remaster – or its seventh; whichever costs less.
The Street Fighter series is not the only one at fault.
Dead or Alive 5 also sprouted several slightly updated iterations of the same game. Sure, new characters, costumes, and stages are fun; I just don't think they're enough of a reason to spend my money on one game, three times.
This trend of rereleasing games under monikers reminds me of the fact that Halo 5: Guardians includes the number "5" in its title, despite actually being the twelfth game in the Halo series. What Halo has managed, that these fighters haven't, is to consistently explore the depths of its story throughout its titles.
Can fighting games see successful rereleases?
Blazblue, one of my favorite series, has also rereleased its past two core titles: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift and BlazBlue: Chronophantasma. The former was rereleased twice, but in a way that I couldn't agree with more.
Continuum Shift was rereleased exclusively in arcades as Continuum Shift II, sporting a bunch of balance updates and cosmetic changes. This update was later made available for the game's console versions for free. Almost two years later, a second revision called BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend was rereleased on disc.
BB:CSE was a massive revamp from the game's first edition which included:
- the entire cast including DLC characters – on disc and ready to go
- an entirely new console-exclusive character
- story modes for the new characters
- brand new game modes
- online play updates
- a remastered version of the BlazBlue: Chrono Trigger story mode
- all of the latest balance updates and cosmetic changes from BB:CSII
For $30 I was given more than just a fresh coat of paint, but also new car smell and a bobblehead. I couldn't argue that I wasn't getting a big enough bang for my buck; that's the way a rerelease should feel.
What can we do?
I'm not suggesting that we entirely boycott rereleases and force fighting game developers into bankruptcy. Doing that could ruin some of our favorite series, or even bring about the downfall of the world's most renowned fighting game tournament.
What I am suggesting is that we value our dollar a little more on the consumer end of things. When is it actually okay to call the same game a new game? Do two new, storyless characters and another pointless stage really sound like quality content?
Clearly I have strong opinions on this topic and, frankly, I doubt my stance will change until rereleases do. If we brainlessly buy into every upgrade that we're offered, we very well may find ourselves lined up outside of GameStop, waiting on "Super Mega Ultra Random Fighter VII Deluxe Plus."