6/7/11

Thinking about patching...

So I've been getting into competitive fighting games recently, and the two that I'm going in on atm are Marvel 3 and MK9. There are metric fucktons of interesting contrasts one can draw regarding these two games, but one I would like to talk about right now is how the two developers approach patching these games.

Patching is really a new concept to fighting games. 'Traditionally' the released game in the arcades was what you got. Even console ports were evaluated based on how closely they hued to the arcade version. The only patches weren't seen as patches, but rather as completely new games (SEE: the million incarnations of the SF2 series). But as the arcade died out, and the internet rose up, we now have the capability of keeping the game the 'same' whilst still patching it. Which raises the question...what is the 'real' game? We're keeping things the 'same', yet changing it.

So that's one issue. Another is when and why you patch. MK9 has been heavy on the patches with at least 3 as of this writing. And these patches aren't solely limited to glitches*, but major stuff like safe vs. unsafe strings, damage reductions, and juggle properties.

Contrast this with Marvel 3, which has had patches only to remove infinites**, and one or two game-breaking glitches, though only the Zero Snapback Glitch comes to mind.

And all this in turn ties in to the company business models. It is widely agreed that Capcom is going to release not only DLC characters, but a complete 'Super' version of Marvel 3. One would assume that all major 'balance' changes would be regulated to this version. Netherealm Studios appears to only be planning for DLC costumes and characters, not a whole new version of the game.

And we still haven't talked about the why's of patching! More on that later methinks.

*Which in fighting games is another can of worms. Remember that cancels, the basis of all combo's, were originally a glitch.
**Which were a major basis of high level Marvel 2 play

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