"Compared to the past, games these days have fewer buttons, easier commands for special moves, and combos that connect easily. I feel that games are headed towards this direction and becoming more accessible."
- Anonymous Arc System Works developer and director for Persona 4 Ultimate fighting games.
There's a wide-ranging roundtable interview about the design and development culture of Japanese fighting games published (in English) over on 4Gamer today, and it's worth reading if you're at all curious about how fighting game franchises like Guilty Gear and Blazblue are built.
While the roundtable touches on broad topics like the future of fighting game design, it also digs into some nitty-gritty details of game balance and how designers from Arc System Works, Atlus and French-Bread think about things like character height or attack speed when balancing their games.
"When you look at all the matchups entirely, battle planners should be able to propose things such as 'If the character is like this, the lineup would be more settled,' or 'if the weapon is too long, it may be problematic,' or 'if the character height is too tall, it would not be good,'" says Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late developer Kamone Serizawa. "In the end, you can say it's all about character design."
Equally interesting, especially in light of the fact that Radiant is currently building F2P fighting game Rising Thunder with an eye towards making it accessible to folks daunted by complex input combos, are the designers' thoughts on how fighting games are becoming more accessible.
"If you want players who have never touched a fighting game before to play, then it's important to show that we are approaching the game as something that was made for everyone," said an Atlus staffer (pictured) who wore a mask to remain anonymous. "Therefore, we paid a lot of attention towards controls that were easy to approach."
Not everyone agreed ("Despite the trend to simplify inputs, the pursuit of perfect timing and difficult inputs is one of the foundations of fighting games," said Arc System Works' Kazuto Sekine) and it's informative to read their discussion of the topic. You can do so in full over on the 4Gamer website.