Culture / Some ideas for "Trappings"

FS should have some built in aspects that seed and encourage certain cultural things in it’s community. A lot of the fighting game community has this culture of insularity, shit talking, dude-bro-ism, not to mention the “execution is the only thing that matters!”, all things that run counter to Fantasy Strike’s thesis.

There’s a couple things, none which I would really consider “core” aspects, that I think can help with this. This are all more like fluff.

  1. Make sure the announcer and characters are always super positive about winning, losing, training, everything. No taunts, no shit talking. Always stuff like, “You did great!” Maybe even some dynamic quotes where if you get a lot by a certain move from the winner, the character gives advice on how to get around that move.

  2. A clever handicap system. Something more interesting than just reduced HP. Waterd pointed out playing as Dan is a much more interesting handicap. I remember Thelo talking way back in the day about limiting himself to a single button. The handicap should preserve mindgames but present an interesting challenge and unusual play style for the handicapped person that makes them learn and master different mechanics than their character normally focuses on.

  3. A good built in tournament scheduler. For format, I’d love for FS to push Swiss instead of double elimination, maybe with a top 4 elimination? I know most big tournaments don’t run a single screen, but I did run a weekly fighting game event at a bar for about a year and I think single screen “casual tournaments” would have worked pretty well if it were super easy to set them up.

  4. A “casual scheduler”. When running those events, people naturally starting using the “loser passes” system, which is fine, but I did notice that tended to create 1 or 2 to top players continually fighting a queue of “everyone else”. It accidentally made it hard for the equally matched players within the queue to fight each other. It’d be neat if the game could automatically try to match up everyone with everyone, or at least keep matching up the pair that has gone the longest without fighting each other? I don’t think you even need to worry about matchmaking in the skill level sense. In a small group like that, with quick rounds, just making sure everyone gets to play with everyone is great.


This reminds me of Nia from Pokkén so much. I want this kind of thing to work, but you need a good voice actor (I switched Nia to Japanese immediately because her English VA sounded too patronizing). I think this advice/encouragement character, if there is a specific character for that, should be separate from the announcer.

Like these for postmatch quotes?

Valerie->Geiger: "Max, you’re better than this. Work on your reaction time."
Rook->Valerie: "Neither of us can strike each other from afar; and your immense speed matters little when I can hit you back harder. Take notes from Max and fight smarter."
Grave->Jaina: "Master Midori warned you about using your Dragonheart recklessly. He need not punish you for failure to listen; a simple block and Knifehand from me works just fine."
Rook->Midori: "Your dragon form is large and menacing; but I know from experience that it makes you an easy target. When the large fall, they fall so much harder."
DeGrey->Rook: "Hasten your windup. You recall I hit harder while the opponent prepares; be it physical or political. Which reminds me of a more recent story…"
Geiger->Jaina: “Your ability to keep others away is remarkable!..however, my control of time indirectly leads to control of pacing. Practice pushing back instead of holding back.”


I’m not totally onboard with this. One of the reasons people like playing these sorts of games is because it feels great when you do something smart and win the game because of it. If the game is a little too “everyone’s a winner!” it may diminish that positive experience and ultimately cause people to get bored of the game faster. In particular, I feel it is basically essential for your character to talk at least a little shit during a Yomi counter. You should feel like a genius any time you pull that off successfully.

However, I do agree that it’s really important that if people lose, they know why they’re losing and what they can do to improve, as there’s nothing more frustrating than losing and feeling like there’s nothing you can do about it. Various games have tried to come up with tools to help with this, for example in Persona 4 Arena every time you get opened up a little symbol shows how it happened, and games like Skullgirls have complex replay features intended to help you analyze various situations. I’m not sure exactly what would work best for Fantasy Strike. It’s possible that the game is so simple that it might not take much. Maybe some kind of quick replay showing how you lost each round for some quick pattern analysis?

I’m not sure there’s really any kind of sensible handicap system that can work for this game, due to how simple it already is. I was thinking of something like maybe giving the handicapped player faster meter charge, but then you’d be practicing under non-standard settings which might teach you bad habits for later. It’s probably the intention of Fantasy Strike’s design to make handicaps largely unnecessary by removing the execution barriers that prevent new players from being able to play effectively.