The fighting game community essentially lost one of its largest pillars with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year in offline majors and in-person events, which has put a strain on both the players and creators of the games.
Developers of the biggest titles around made that point quite clear during the second Japan Fighting Game Publisher Roundtable where Tekken Director Katsuhiro Harada put forth the idea of Bandai Namco, Capcom, Arc System Works, SNK and others teaming up to create their own mega fighting game tournament or even fighting game title, which was well-received by those in attendance.
Harada started the discussion by talking about how he personally missed attending events and seeing players enjoy the games in-person that he feels most of the developers can agree upon.
“We’re all making fighting games, so if we could all come together an make some event that’d be kinda fun,” said Tekken Producer Michael Murray on Harada’s message.
They specifically mention events like Tougeki – Super Battle Opera and EVO as models to base their own potential publisher tournament around targeting the global fighting game audience.
Harada notes the difficulties of getting that many companies on board with something official like that, but he seems to feel that Capcom and Bandai Namco are big enough to make it happen if they so choose.
If Capcom doesn’t want to get involved, however, that would severely cut the chances of an cross-company event actually coming together from their eSports pedigree and strong influence on the scene.
The main purpose the development heads point to in putting together such a tournament is to bring the separate fighting game communities back into one room again, which we’ve largely lost in this online environment where everything is much more confined to their own channels.
They also admit the importance of focusing their efforts outside of just Japan considering apparently over 80 percent of their viewers and players are abroad now.
None of this will be possible, however, without larger offline tournaments becoming acceptably safer again, which still doesn’t have a time table to work with and really get the ball rolling.
Almost all multi-game majors up to this point have been led by community organizers outside of the official creators of the games, so a wider publisher-made event would give more control to companies like Capcom though it’s something we’ve seen more of in terms of pro circuits before the pandemic set in.
What something like this would mean for already-existing majors like Combo Breaker and CEO remains completely hypothetical at this point though there are valid arguments / concerns to be made for their return as well.
At this point, it doesn’t appear that tournaments as we knew them will be coming back until at least 2022, so it gives everyone time to figure out exactly what’s coming next for the FGC.
It’s unclear how serious they were too, but some of them even floated the idea of creating a collective fighting game as well, which would certainly be something huge to see all of the big names come together for an official project.
“I think every developer has the same idea where if we all work together and come up with something whether it be a new fighting game or an event that it’ll help the FGC grow as a whole together,” said Naoya Yasuda, Bandai Namco’s eSports producer.
If you want to take a listen to the discussion yourself, it begins around one hour and five minutes into the roundtable stream.