It’s hard to believe that Cross Assault begins in only two days. I know that many of you out there are still wondering what exactly this project is, so I’ll be doing a daily blog here on Unity giving you a bit more context as to what is going on.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Matt Dahlgren and I work here at Capcom on the marketing team. I get to work on our fighting games, including our new game Street Fighter X Tekken, and honestly this is a dream of mine come true. I used to organize fighting game tournaments back in the day, and used to be a pretty devoted Tekken and Melee player. I love fighting games, and I love the mind games behind them.
I firmly believe that fighting games are a sport. A beautiful sport, one only a small percentage of people really understand.
Some people debate against this, and they ridicule fighting games. I even used to receive crap from Street Fighter and Tekken players when I used to argue that Super Smash Brothers Melee was a “legit” fighting game. People can be so close minded and quick to judge just about anything, without really trying to understand what is going on. But really, they just don’t know any better.
What makes fighting games, or other competitive games unique, is that they are mental sports. You don’t have to be physically endowed to engage in combat. I saw Broly Legs , a disabled player who uses his face and tongue to play, win a match at Evo and it was literally awe inspiring. That to me shows that the most powerful tool in the human body is your mind, and while yes physical dexterity still does matter in fighting games, it proves to me that the mental game is the one that is pure. The mental game exists in all fighting games, and this is a medium that just about every person on the planet can enjoy, and most importantly, can participate in.
Fighting games have the most basic yet complex forms of competition. Player A vs Player B, even playing field, fight. It doesn’t get more simplistic than that. But on the other end, it requires super fast decision making, formulation of a strategy and execution of a strategy in a short timeframe. Innovate? Or find something effective and execute? The deeper you dive, the more there is to learn. Yomi layers, frame data, option selects… you can go on for days.
The only thing that changes in fighting games, are the medium. Football doesn’t get a new set of rules every two years. The concepts stay the same, it’s just subtle differences that mix things up and keep the players on their toes. I think every fighting game is interesting in its own way. Even some of the most “broken” can end up being the most fun, and the most interesting from a competitive perspective.
But what I think is most interesting about a fighting game, is its birth. It’s the race to figure out how the game works, and what is going to be the most effective strategy. Fighting game players are some of the most intelligent minds out there. Their ability to break down different components of a game structure and abuse them is confounding. Watching the community rush to learn, to innovate, to exploit, is very entertaining and one aspect that makes the whole genre so fun.
Fighting game players understand the above. They are different breed of gamer. Many of them exclusively play fighting games. After you go down the rabbit hole so far, just nothing else will quite give you that mental competitive fix. Yes, there are many out there that scrutinize and ridicule, but fighting game players care so much they just ignore them. They understand what is going on, and that is what matters. Everyone else just doesn’t know any better. The players I know don’t fit the stereotypes they are accused of, and they fight that convention. The ones that I respect the most are those that educate the rest that are around them, not try and not just squander what they have found for themselves.
But enough soap boxing on how fighting games are awesome. I’m here to talk about a project we call “Cross Assault.”
The two points I’m trying to make above are:
1. Fighting game players challenge conventional stereotypes, because they believe and respect the genre as a sport
2. Fighting games are mental warfare
If you understand those two points, you will understand what we are trying to do with Cross Assault. Cross Assault is here to exploit the strategic “birth” of a game, in a new and unique way. With success stories like Evolution, fighting game tournaments are clearly a proven entity. But what is missing from tournament coverage is what goes on behind the scenes. The training, the innovation of technology, the reconnaissance, the studying… These are fuel to the genre, and they matter most right at the beginning of the game.
Cross Assault takes mental warfare to another level. These players have a limited amount of time to figure out a game, and exploit it effectively in a variety of ways, for a pretty massive first prize. (At least for fighting games) This will chronicle the strategic birth of the game, in a way that has never been done before.
Cross Assault was conceptualized by a small crew that has an undying love for fighting games. There is no Hollywood producer forcing us to make bad decisions for ratings. We have rigorously debated how we can challenge the normal conventions of fighting game tournaments, by separating different elements of what make fighting games unique, while simultaneously putting players in cutthroat situations that have not been seen before. It’s a new mental experiment, one fine tuned for the fighting game enthusiast.
Our goal is to show a wider audience what is great about fighting games. I urge you to be one of those that help other players learn, not just spread un-needed hate. If a new concept like this works, it opens new doors for the genre, and it incentivizes companies to invest more in community driven activities. The more the community grows, the more the genre grows, and the more variations of new tactics and talent can develop. Right now players sign sticks at tournaments. I want players to have people walk up to them on the street. I want to see tournament coverage on Sports Center. I want companies to see the value in fighting games, and sponsor prize pools so they can grow to new heights.
So… pick your Team, pick your player, and support. Tweet with #CrossAssault, #TeamStreetFighter and #TeamTekken. Spread the word, and watch this new experiment unfold. I can’t begin to explain to you how hype I am for this, and we want nothing more than to entertain you.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll blog a bit about why we chose who we did for each of the teams, as yes there is method to the madness, and begin to spill some more details as to what we have in store for you.
Stay tuned and get hype! The action starts February 22 nd , and we will be streaming LIVE from 10am to 8pm every day.