Eurogamer has an interesting interview with Capcom’s Seth Killian on SFxT Gems. Seth explains that the gems shouldn’t be as much of a concern as they’re being made out to be.
Seth Killian says:
A good player will always beat a weaker player, and the gems aren’t going to change that mechanic in any way shape or form.
According to Seth Killian, even the DLC and promotional gems are going to be balanced versus the rest of the gems. It seems as if they’re going for a sort of mechanic that should help bring more people to the scene. For all these years what has kept most people from playing fighting games is the immediate learning curve. It’s fine if you’re playing with some of your buds at your house, but in the case of trying to get better and improve, there seems to be this huge constant wall that deters people from wanting to even try.
The idea was to try and overcome some of the struggles new players have initially. There’s no way choosing those gems is going to somehow actually make you a better player. So if you’re going all out for blood, the better player is always going to win, no matter what gem combination there might be. Once people see it in action, it’s not a major concern in that regard.
The design philosophy he’s going for is we want to keep the door open always to new players. Fighting games are a tough proposition, and part of the success has been finding a way to bridge that gap and bring in new players while keeping the strategic depth on the executional side. Things like the auto block and throw tech gems are meant to assist there. But by picking those things you’re giving yourself different kinds of liabilities where you’re missing out on certain other strengths. So, you have to choose that gem rather than another gem.
Seth says that the gems are being handled in such a way where there won’t be any sort of “Magic: The Gathering” scenario, where one person has a clear cut advantage over someone because they pre-ordered the game and their opponent did not. This is happy news for most fighting gamers on more than one level. On one hand, you get more people testing the waters of a previously unplayable genre for them, and on the other it’s still going to be balanced and make for some interesting tournament play for those already competitively involved. At the very least, it will be interesting to see what some of the top players choose to go with as far as gems, if they’re all going to be designed in such a way where it truly does cater to someone’s specific playstyle. Or even for that matter, how the gems will change how some people play, in order to meet the activation condition.
Fighting game players around the world rejoice, as some light has been shed on something that a large portion of the community was very on the fence about. Seth has provided a ton of information and insight on the gems themselves, why they exist, and how they’re being handled in the interview at Eurogamer. The interview is extremely lengthy, and given the topic that it’s about, most people should be happy with how much information is in this interview. You can click here for the full interview at Eurogamer, to get some more insight into the concept and how it’s going to work.