After a lengthy Street Fighter 6 hands-on session and a few interviews at Capcom’s headquarters in Osaka, Japan, I am in the back room of a small sandwich shop overlooking the Higashiyokobori River. As I eat my sandwich, I make conversation with Street Fighter 6 director Takayuki Nakayama, who is seated next to me, enjoying his own sandwich. After touching on topics of our respective histories with Street Fighter and other games we’ve been playing, he asks if I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played of Street Fighter 6 to this point.
I let him know the gameplay and art style are terrific and that I feel the Real-Time Commentary feature is a revolutionary addition to the fighting genre. The director nods along with a smile until I mention how I don’t feel the Modern Controls (which simplify the overall control scheme) is for me, but my colleague loves the idea. I think it’s a really smart move to allow players of various skill levels to get in on the fun and compete against those who have more experience with the Street Fighter franchise. He smirks and says, “There’s actually a third control scheme.” Immediately, my interest is piqued. At that moment, he could only tell me a name for the option: Dynamic Controls.
The restaurant where the conversation occurred
We get back to the Capcom offices shortly after and I begin asking more questions about Dynamic Controls. After some discussion, the team retrieves an updated build from the other side of the office so I can go hands-on with it. Nakayama sits in front of the monitor with producer Shuhei Matsumoto at his side as the two ready their gamepads for a match against one another. Matsumoto selects Dynamic Controls and tells me to watch his hands and compare it to the action on-screen.
Much to my surprise, Matsumoto places his controller on the table in front of him and begins using his index finger to tap face buttons one at a time. Despite this, his character is using all kinds of attacks. It quickly becomes apparent that Dynamic Controls aren’t meant to test your skills as a Street Fighter player but rather to ensure every player is included in the fun.
“Button masher” is sometimes seen as an insult to players who randomly hit the buttons on their pad or board in hopes that they’ll accidentally trigger some kind of effective attack, but for Nakayama, that notion gave him inspiration. “In a normal fighting game, when they [mash buttons], they just do a lot of whiffs,” he says. “We wanted something important and something that makes a difference happen by randomly pressing buttons.”
While some initially considered Modern Controls an “easy mode” since it simplifies it down to fewer buttons and inputs required for effectiveness, Capcom has worked to balance Modern and Classic Controls against each other, so they are both competitive in matches – Nakayama even thinks we’ll see some high-level competitive players using Modern Controls in the future. As such, both Modern and Classic are available across all game modes, with no pressure from the game or developers to “graduate” to Classic Controls after playing with Modern. However, Dynamic Controls are explicitly meant to be closer to an “easy mode” and, as such, are only available in local play.
The name comes from the notion that the A.I. essentially decides, dynamically, which attack to perform as you press the face buttons based on your character’s current position and situation; if a character is far away, pressing the face button might throw a projectile, while that same button might pull off a combo in an up-close encounter. While button mashing is a viable strategy when using Dynamic Controls, strategy still plays a role, and you can still manually perform parries and move the character using the d-pad. After getting my hands on the control option, it’s safe to say that I won’t be using it personally, but it’s the kind of mode that would have been great for playing my SNES copy of Street Fighter II Turbo with my younger brother.
With these three control schemes in tow, Street Fighter 6 feels like the most approachable and accessible entry in the franchise’s 35-year history. While I will likely always prefer Classic Controls thanks to my experience stretching back to my time pumping quarters into my local Street Fighter II cabinet, I’m glad more players have the option to jump into the fun with Modern Controls and, to a further extent, Dynamic Controls.