Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable Announced to Discuss Future of Fighters, FGC
It’s been announced that representatives from Capcom, Bandai Namco, Arc System Works, SNK, Akira, and Koei Tecmo will all be participating in a “Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable” event on Friday July 31 at 5:00 Pacific time.
It’s expected that not only will the developers have news about the next generation of fighting games, but that they will also be revealing some news about what’s next for fighting game esports in 2021, after COVID ends.
Who Will Be in Attendance at the Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable?
The roundtable will be attended by Katsuhiro Harada for Tekken 7 and Motohiro Okubo for Soul Calibur 6, the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable will be attended by Street Fighter 5 producer Shuuhei Matsumoto, Street Fighter 5 director Takayuki Nakayama, Guilty Gear general director Daisuke Ishiwatari, general battle director Kazuto Sekine, SNK producer Yasuyuki Oda, SNK director Nobuyuki Kuroki, Fighting EX Layer producer Akira Nishitani, and Dead or Alive 6 producer Yohei Shinbori.
What’s Coming for Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur 6?
Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur 6 are coming hot off their most recent seasons of DLC, and it’s expected that Bandai Namco will have information on Season 4 and Season 3 of DLC respectively for each game.
“Tekken 7 producer Katsuhiro Harada and Soul Calibur 6 producer Motohiro Okubo will be participating in the roundtable on behalf of Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. and will have new information and announcements to share regarding both titles,” stated Bandai Namco.
Bandai Namco also encouraged fighting game fans to ask their own questions and suggest topics for discussion by the panel, using the #JFGPR hashtag on Twitter.
Nothing in Bandai Namco’s statement suggested new content coming for Dragonball FighterZ.
What’s Coming for Street Fighter V?
“A Street Fighter 5 Summer Update is coming your way!” Starts the message from Capcom Fighters. “Join us and some special guests on August 5 for the future of #SFVCE, including Season 5 character reveals, eSports news and more!”
This announcement means that while Capcom will be at the event, they will be showing off their content later, so as to not overlap with a lot of the other developers. Their input will still likely be valuable as they will be answering questions from fans.
Absence of Nintendo Worrying?
Nintendo was one of the big names to not be announced for the Future of Fighting Games summit. This omission of Nintendo is a little worrying, given that they have the best selling fighting game of all time currently on the market in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
They also have some of the largest issues to address. Following allegations of sexual misconduct in their scene, many have questioned exactly what, if anything, Nintendo would do with the existing esports scene and if their involvement would extend any further, or if they would pull back entirely.
They also have a big question mark around their plans for Smash Ultimate, beyond the rest of Vol. 2 for the Fighters Pass. Many have raised legitimate concerns around Smash Ultimate’s netcode, and the Smash Community has even solved this issue in Melee, a game that’s over a decade old. While this was done on an emulator and on PC, using some of the lessons learned there could save Nintendo the effort of trying to develop netcode fron the ground up for the game.
Without Nintendo at the table, their key decision makers won’t be able to put in their input, and indeed, Nintendo won’t be able to address their fans in a meaningful way alongside all the other fighting game developers.
Of course, this summit could just be a sort of look at the next-generation of fighting games, in lieu of Evo 2020 (which was cancelled, even in its Online edition), and Nintendo being absent might not be a concern at all.
Bandai Namco, who helps publish the Smash series and assists in some development duties, will be present, so it’s possible that the concerns delivered and addressed here also make it back to the Smash team.
Future of Fighting Game Esports?
With Coronavirus seriously putting a damper on the 2020 season for fighting games, many have been asking what’s next. Many organizers took a serious hit on canceling events for the 2020 season, especially as the Coronavirus was not immediately declared a national emergency.
This has led to questions as to whether or not some organizations will be able to continue hosting events, and if there would be some financial assistance offered by fighting game developers to help these organizers that built their communities up. Indeed, many of the fighting game tours that these events were on were canceled for this year, with only some of them, like Capcom’s, switching to an online format. This is in large part because many of these games have poor netcode and can’t very feasibly run online events that are international in nature.
It’s expected that the future of fighting game esports will be discussed by the publishers here, and whether or not developers plan to scale up or scale down their esports plans based on the outcome of the Coronavirus epidemic. As it stands, it seems unlikely that we will have a vaccine in time for events to resume this year, and there is even some doubt as to whether it will be safe to do so in early 2021. The popular consensus seems to be that events won’t return in the way we’re used to until at least halfway through the year.
This could throw a large wrench into the next season of competitive fighting games, but could come at an opportune time as the next generation of consoles are beginning to launch. It’s possible that these developers could just scrap whatever plans they had for 2020 and early 2021, instead dedicating their budgets to larger programs in the next generation.
Either way, we’ll see what the future holds as the Fighting Game publishers Roundtable gets underway on July 31.