Fellow SRKers will be quick to see the striking similarity between this thread?s title and that of a beloved 3s commentator. The subject matter is the same, but as we all know, Sirlin isn?t MIA in anyway. Let me tell you a story, before I get on with my point.
Being the stereotypical college boy obsessed with all things Street Fighter (? wait, that is stereotypical?), I read the SRK forums religiously. This hasn?t changed since 2003, when I had a different alias, got negged and overall didn?t understand the FG community that I loved so much. When SSF2T:HDR was announced, I was absolutely PUMPED and simultaneously cautious ? David Sirlin was going to be behind this project? At this time, I was a fan and supporter of Sirlin?s blog, but not necessarily his products coming out of Backbone Entertainment. I was especially let down with the ST port on CCC2, so I immediately began to draw my own conclusions about this new project. ?Sirlin is just trying to make up for what he screwed up? psssh? I said to myself.
Imagine my lack of appreciation. One of my favorite video games of all time, being recreated in HD art by Udon, and I was trying to put Sirlin down on it. Sure, I had my reasons, and yes I tend to be very purist and afraid of change, but God man, it was Sirlin out of all people behind this project. I was nearly pissed (in my own geekish way) and was about to condemn Capcom all together. Then the big bomb hit the interwebs.
The new ?Remix? mode found in ST:HDR will be rebalanced and better than the classic mode, both included in the downloadable title.
?WHAT THE ****!? I screamed at my macbook. Trying to improve on a classic? Trying to make it the tournament standard!? This is a ?94 arcade gem, how dare he!? At this point I was furious and I nearly gave up on the project. It was only the art that kept me coming back to the forums, checking for updates. Sirlin actually gave us updates and details as to what he was changing exactly with the game ? his many interviews flooded the interwebs. His friendly smile grabbed me and I was following the project again ? the majority of his changes I was in complete accordance with (Change nothing with Ryu, but give him a fake fireball, seemingly meaningless but to a select few who know the character well enough? Alright, That sounds good) and those that I disagreed with were moot point. I mean, Udon redoing the very aged ST sprite-work still seemed like an ace project. If I hate Remix mode so much, I always have Classic. You can?t lose, right?
Insert lame news update on capcom?s blog, discussing the change from 8 shades to 4 shades in sprite coloring
You can all guess my rage at this point. Suddenly, this wasn?t my beloved ST anymore ? it was Alpha Strike Omega Super Turbo, and I didn?t like it one bit. At this point, I stopped contributing on the forums and gave up evening thinking about the game. I turned my interests to other games, like GGXXAC (damn fine game) and non-Fighting Games. When I went to a ST tournament early this year, I was labeled ?REMIX HATER? and was much lauded at. It is easy to criticize and make fun of me for this mistaken anger at Sirlin, especially since the art had nothing to do with his work, but I was very upset ? my emotional attachment to ST was so strong no one could break it. Except Sirlin. To me, Sirlin was ruining my community, my game.
As the summer waned, I got a message: An opportunity to be a game designer/planner for a Fighting Game. My reaction was ecstatic and I immediately accepted, although cautiously of any legal matters that may occur. I was zealous about trying to 1up Sirlin ? beat him at his own game of balance and design. ?I?ll design my own game, from the ground up, and have it more balanced than Sirlin?s hunk a junk Remix? I said to myself. Imagine, me judging someone?s work before actually playing it. I was already a fool.
The first proposals for the game engine went along well and I had a good grasp of what I wanted to do with this game ? create the great complexity of SF2, make it accessible to PC gamers (the platform is PC, with possible outreach to WiiWare and XBLA) and make it fresh for those who are familiar with the formulaic conundrum of typical fighters. I was going to create the greatest fighting game ever made, I said to myself. The team was fresh, willing to take new ideas, while I had seasoned practice in tournaments to know what aficionados were looking for. Everything was going great, really.
Then the doubt set in. The constant switching back and forth. What should I do? I was sure this would work, but early responses are criticizing it? What do I do? I was in a pickle and I thought about ST again. How would I balance that game, if I had the chance? I drew a blank in my head. I had a thousand ideas, but nothing past conception or theory. I needed some guide, something to let me know what I was doing was okay. No more second guessing. I needed something.
I don?t know how or why, but by some force I stumbled on Sirlin?s article towards balancing Guile again. I had seen it before and disagreed with some of it. I looked at it again and I saw something ? Sirlin was approaching Guile?s rebalancing for a more fun, deeper character. For the first time, I wasn?t in rage anymore. I wasn?t in ?love? with ST anymore. I saw it as a game, and Sirlin had just put all his cards on the table. I had criticized him for his crappy hand of a deck, not noticing that I didn?t have one at all. I wasn?t even in the game ? the stakes were too high and I couldn?t keep up. I was out before the first round began.
Sirlin objectively decided to adjust each character, knowing it may not be the best balancing in the world, but pretty damned close. He had help and took every single one of our whining voices into consideration, even if we had nothing to contribute. He responded to insults, criticisms that most developers would have ignored. Sirlin fought for us in the enemy lines between him and corporate Capcom. He loves our community more than himself, dropping his ego for the better of the project. He has held no secrets in the design of the game and has personally answered e-mails from curious readers. He even answered one of mine, which I later ruined his trust by posting it on this very forum (I still am sorry about that).
To end the story, I am still working on this game. I am still trying to make it the best game in the world (at least as far as my talents go) and I wouldn?t be doing it unless I had Sirlin as a role model. Yes, a role model. I may disagree with some of his opinions and design, but he is still the goal from which my asymptote-path aligns itself.
The purpose of this thread is to give someone the appreciation he deserves, despite the kicking we have given him. Sure, it is all in creating the better game and I would never want Sirlin?s ego to grow higher, but he deserves his warrant of merit. He has done what none of us has done ? fight for us, despite how insatiable our id-driven desires are.
This one is for you, David.