When it comes to fighting games, balance is everything. Every punch thrown or kicked spun into your face is measured to be as precise as possible without resulting in any single character being overpowered. At least in theory anyway, before weekly patches arrive to fine-tune the experience based on community input.
Anyway, fighting games always seek to maintain a sense of equilibrium so that players can rely on skill, timing and spatial awareness to emerge victorious from one on one brouhahas. Also I love saying the word brouhaha. Injustice 2 however, has some other ideas. Developer NetherRealm is adding a new feature to the usual fisticuffs, that revolves around augmenting characters with gear.
Want to throw a punch a little bit faster? There’s a gear piece for that. Want to make Batman look like a 1990s action figure straight out of a Joel Schumacher film? There’s gear for that. Naturally, fighting game fans are concerned. Injustice: Gods Among Us was superb in the esports scene, as balanced as any other game available and filled to the brim with playable characters.
What does the Gear System mean then, for pros who have spent countless hours honing their skills? “We anticipated what some of the hesitation might be from players and are developing intelligently to deliver something which will hopefully appeal to all of our fans, whether you’re a hardcore fighting game enthusiast or a more casual fan,” NetherRealm’s Brian Goodman said to Eurogamer at EGX.
There’s been a lot of discussion on how best to communicate this because we are, obviously, throwing a bit of a monkey wrench in the works as far as some fighting game purists might find. We’re doing things to make sure people who want a pure fighting game can get that.
To ease the minds of anyone who fears Injustice 2 will overwhelmingly favour those who have the best gear, Injustice 2 will offer various modes that effects said gear at varying levels. “We’re creating modes where it’s an even playing field and you can gear up for aesthetic reasons but your character stats are on an even plane. We also have modes where gear actually impacts your strength, which is a whole new level of strategy,” Goodman explained.
We’re creating modes where it’s an even playing field and you can gear up for aesthetic reasons but your character stats are on an even plane. We also have modes where gear actually impacts your strength, which is a whole new level of strategy. Online we’re going to look at matchmaking so players are matched like-for-like, but it will be fundamentally unbalanced at that point.
For the hyper competitive tournaments, we want those to still be places people can show off the customisation they have earned throughout the game but they have to be level playing fields. That’s essential for true fighting game aficionados.
And if you want the best loot, you’re going to need to prove yourself in Injustice 2. “There are events in the game where you’ll be rewarded with either random loot or with a piece of specific gear,” Goodman said.
After pretty much everything you do you’ll get gear drop either for the character you’re playing as or another.
But here’s another reason for the Gear System: Being cool. Online play with fighting games is primarily dominated by the hardcore, people who can easily beat a newcomer’s best button-mashing skills with absolute ease. With Injustice 2, at least players will be able to leave a good-looking battered hero behind after a brawl. “It’s a way to elevate yourself without having to be the greatest fighting game player out there and make the game much more palatable for a casual audience as well,” Goodman said.
You may not be able to go online and beat 90 per cent of players out there but you can have the coolest-looking Batman. You can show off the fact you have put hundreds of hours into a character.
The system is being built to provide players a way to make this game that much more engaging. We’re building a way to make this game more your own, give you opportunities to play this game a number of ways and enjoy it for as long as you keep the controller in your hands.
And that sounds plenty fair so far to me. Git gud or luk gud yo.
Last Updated: September 28, 2016