In a recent Game Informer interview with Street Fighter 6 studio heads, producer Shuhei Matsumoto revealed that the inspiration behind the game's Battle Hub mode came, surprisingly enough, from the global pandemic.
Early conceptualizing for Street Fighter 6 began all the way back in 2018, three years after the release of Street Fighter 5. Thus, the game was deep into development by the time Covid-19 struck the world and changed the way people interact with each other. Battle Hub mode was originally created as a supplement for that, presumably because it was unclear, at the time, how long the pandemic would keep large social gatherings from happening.
The Battle Hub mode allows players to create their own avatar, walk around in an enclosed space, interact with other players via emotes, and play online matches against them. Since there weren't many opportunities to socialize in real life, Matsumoto asked himself, "What if we made an online version of an arcade? Are we able to do that within Street Fighter?" The result was the Battle Hub. It was also partly inspired by many of the devs growing up with arcades and having fond memories of them.
As seen in gameplay recordings from the recent Street Fighter 6 beta, to fully engulf you within the arcade simulation, your character actually sits down in an arcade machine in order to play a match. If you need a break from Street Fighter 6, you can play old arcade games like Street Fighter II, as well as spectate any fight that's happening within your hub.
In this interview, game director Takayuki Nakayama, also went into why the team decided to add the Modern Controls setting to every game mode. Modern Controls are a simpler input layout that players can choose that combines kicks and punches into one button, so you only have light, medium, and heavy attacks. It also puts throws and special moves into a single button, so they no longer require complex inputs.
Nakayama wanted this game to be more accessible to newcomers, and he understood that "someone who’s been playing the games for 35 years might know a little more than someone who’s never touched a Street Fighter game." Though there is some concern about competitive integrity, Nakayama assured that Modern Controls isn't an 'easy mode' that will provide players with some sort of unearned advantage. It is simply a different way to play, and it has its downsides, as Classic Controls "offer more precision in selecting your attacks."
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