'Street Fighter 6' Designer Wants Everyone to Play

Button-mashing is rewarded, not discouraged

  • Street Fighter 6 will include a simplified, "modern" control scheme. 
  • Players will be able to trigger fireballs and other special moves with a single button press. 
  • New users can enjoy the game instead of giving up immediately.
A screenshot from Street Fighter 6.


The latest installment of Capcom's iconic Street Fighter series has one radical new idea—new players won't give up in frustration after a single game. 

Street Fighter 6 makes it easier for new players, or just regular non-obsessed players, to pick up the game and enjoy it. Capcom Street Fighter director Takayuki Nakayama told the Verge that he made the game for everyone to play, not just long-time fans of the absurdly popular fighting game franchise. But the changes to the control scheme that make this possible might also end up annoying those core fans. 

"A fighting game should be easy to learn but difficult to master, and Street Fighter 6 embodies this principle," Majid Subzwari, pop culture expert and owner of SubZero Comics, told Lifewire via email. "Making the basics easier is a great way to bring in new fans while keeping the essence of fighting games intact. Veteran players will still have an advantage with things like combos, but it will be interesting to see how the beginners stack up."

Special Moves

The whole point of a fighting game is to test your skill against an opponent, whether that opponent is a human or a computer-controlled character. And the time-honored way to do that is with 'special moves.' Just like learning real-world physical skills, players must practice to master combinations of buttons and direction controls to trigger powerful special moves. Then they can string these together into unstoppable combos for maximum damage. 

In the early Street Fighter games, common special move triggers involved rolling the controller D-pad, then hitting a button. This soon became second nature. So much so that—true story—when I was a college student, I could beat my roommate at Street Fighter II using my feet, with the controller on the floor in front of me, still pulling off Hadokens and Shoryukens with my toes. Gross, yes, but effective and, for my roommate, utterly humiliating. 

Too Easy?

SF6 includes all the usual controls for those who have internalized them over the years but also offers a new, simplified "modern" control scheme to help beginners get into the game. Players can execute many of these special moves with a single button press. But not everybody is impressed.

"Making a game too easy defeats the purpose of playing it," Oberon Copeland, video game fan and owner and CEO of Very Informed, told Lifewire via email. "A game should be challenging enough to keep players engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated and give up. Striking this balance can be tricky, but it's essential if developers want to attract new fans."

But this could be the key to bringing the game to a wider audience. You can just step in and play alone, and if you go up against a more experienced friend, the kind of sociopath who thinks it's fun to demean you by playing with their feet, you can play on a more equal footing.

A screenshot from Street Fighter 6.


One fun aspect of the earlier games, and one which was quite annoying to seasoned players, was that some special moves were triggered just by hammering repeatedly on the buttons. A new player could totally win a few bouts with this tactic, while the "expert" player's extended combos got torn apart, leaving the expert whining that it wasn't fair. 

Of course, the noob didn't care about that. They just enjoyed the game. And that's the point. Accessible games are fun for everyone, not just for hardcore gamers, and in fact, many game franchises have gotten easier over the years. 

The original SNES version of Super Mario Kart, for example, was absolutely rock hard. Try playing it today. If you're used to the current Nintendo Switch version, it is almost impossible. Even Mario Kart 64, first available on the Nintendo 64 and recently re-released on the Switch, is difficult to control compared to the modern version. 

For gamers, that sounds like a step back. But for someone who regularly plays Mario Kart with their partner, a person who has never played video games before in their life but who totally loved Mario Kart, it's a huge step forward. 

Save the hard-to-learn controls and deep gaming skills for the competitions. At home, anything that makes games more fun is welcome.

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