I've always had this image with fighting games that unless I dropped a couple of hundred dollars — minimum — on a fighting stick, I'd always be struggling to obtain the level of precision necessary to even think about improving on a decent scale. It's rubbish, of course, although watching EVO year on year provided plenty of anecdotal proof that there were more competitive players with fighting sticks than those on gamepads.
But according to Capcom's director of esports and brand marketing, fighting sticks won't be necessary in Street Fighter 5.
In a new interview with Gamesindustry, Matt Dahlgren was being quizzed on how Capcom being exclusive to the PS4 would actually help the game competitively. Having your player base fragmented over multiple platforms is always frustrating for any competitive scene, and it's doubly frustrating when the performance of the game varied depending on what platform you played on.
But what intrigued me was a section towards the end of the interview, where Dahlgren was quizzed on the necessity of having an arcade stick for tournament play. "Since Street Fighter comes from an arcade heritage, a lot of people have this general belief that arcade sticks are the premier way of playing," he explained.
"In the competitive scene, we've seen the rise of a lot of very impressive pad players, which has pretty much shown that Street Fighter is a game that's not necessarily dictated by the controller you play with; it's the strategies and tactics you employ. And both of them are essentially on equal playing ground."
It's also true that more players are going to be playing on a gamepad than a stick, but that's just the nature of the hundreds of thousands of copies (if not millions) that Capcom's latest fighter is likely to sell versus the amount of people who own and buy added peripherals worth hundreds of dollars.
Street Fighter 5 is due out on PC and PS4 on February 16.