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Unlocking the secret to a fun, addictive fighting game

"It's really fun and addictive to go through a well-designed curve like that until I'm at the point where I'm beating players who were at it before I was." - Arc System Works' Tatsunori Ishikawa on fighter design.
"It's really fun and addictive to go through a well-designed curve like that until I'm at the point where I'm beating players who were at it before I was."
- Arc System Works' Tatsunori Ishikawa on fighter design. Arc System Works is at the forefront of the 2D fighting game market. With its BlazBlue series, built on the rich history of the Guilty Gear games that came before, it's become even more prominent than it was last generation. These games are flashy and fun, but what underpins their success, according to programmer Tatsunori Ishikawa, is their combo-based gameplay, which -- when coupled with effective tutorial modes -- allows players to improve and get better. "In games like these, which you could call 'combo' games, control response becomes very important -- that very quick and responsive feedback you get whenever you press a button," says Ishikawa. Rather than rely on a straightforward tutorial only, the designers have implemented a mode to acclimate players to the series' play style, says Ishikawa -- Stylish mode, "where you can just press the buttons rapidly to perform combos -- the purpose of that is to give beginners a way to better enjoy the game." "So the idea is that if you're just starting and you find all of it a little difficult, you can jump right in with Stylish mode and experience how the basic flow of a combo-based fighting game like this works. That enables you to see the special moves at your disposal, and then you can use that combo mode to step up your game and get into normal play. The goal of this design is to get players up to the point where they're able to take on other real-life opponents." The full feature, in which Ishikawa and company CTO Hiroyuki Masuno reveal more secrets of Arc System Works' success, is live now on Gamasutra.

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