As awesome as fighting games are, there has always been one aspect that made me want to get good at certain fighting games. It wasn’t because there was a tournament that I was going to participate in or because I wanted to school my brother in a game. I wanted to get good because I wanted to unlock all the secret characters in a fighting game roster. To me it was a accomplishment to unlock all the characters in a fighting game and to see that whole complete roster. Of course nowadays things are quite different than they were in the 90’s.
Now just to be clear, this isn’t an article on how DLC is a detriment to fighting games. Granted those three little letters can (and have) caused many gamers to groan but when done right DLC can really add to a fighting game’s experience (look at Smash Bros Ultimate). This is really just me missing when fighting games would come out and certain characters remained a secret and the whole roster wouldn’t be announced before a games launch. Now some characters would HAVE to be revealed before a launch to help draw people in to buy the game, but the unlock able characters were always the ones that people were after. I remember when I first got my copy of Marvel VS. Capcom 2 and realized that Mega Man wasn’t in the roster at first. I was bummed because he was part of my main team but then I noticed that there was a “Store” in the game where you could unlock characters with points you get in game. MVC2 has one of the biggest rosters of the time and making you play the game to unlock them all is great incentive to play and get better at the game. Also I had no idea who was part of the roster so I just kept unlocking new characters and some I’ve never seen before in my life.
We now live in an age of connectivity which means leaks on fighting game characters are everywhere. It’s hard to keep a secret anymore so now game developers will tell you who is in the game before it comes out. Now I’m a bit of a purist where I would love some secrets here and there but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited when a new Smash Direct would come out revealing a new character. Of course I feel that Smash Bros. has done this the right way. When one first gets Smash Ultimate they only have access to the original 8 fighters and have to unlock the other 70. One of the best parts of playing through Smash, especially in the beginning, is getting to fight the characters and unlock them all. Even though we knew the whole main roster before the game came out but we had to play to unlock them all. Soul Calibur did not do this which did bum me out. When you first put the game in almost all of the characters are ready for you, minus Inferno but he’s the exception. Characters like Tira, Setsuka, and even Cassandra are all available through DLC. This is the practice of the time and thankfully Soul Calibur VI is a really fun game, but even then I wish there were more unlockable characters in the game.
I don’t hate DLC characters. I’ve bought characters for both Smash and Soul Calibur but what I do wish was that there would be a few secret characters that blow people’s minds when they unlock them. I understand that doing that would require a huge effort from the developers and zero leaks but a man can dream can’t he?