A few months ago, back in the summer of 2022, we here at Access-Ability took a trip to Capcom’s offices in London, to go hands on with Street Fighter 6’s new, more accessible, “Modern” control scheme, which reduces the series’ traditional input complexity and allows most of the game’s core functions to be mapped to something much more in line with titles such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, using a single button and a directional modifier to execute super moves during combat.
Since then, the accessibility focused news stories about Street Fighter 6 have just kept coming, with the game’s first public beta revealing a whole suite of audio cues designed to help more blind players more easily navigate combat in game via sound.
Today’s episode of Access-Ability is also about Street Fighter 6, albeit discussing a piece of news that dropped a couple of weeks ago at this point.
During an early November Game Informer interview between Writer Brian Shea, and Street Fighter 6 director Takayuki Nakayama, we learned of a third control scheme for Street Fighter 6, separate from “Classic” and “Modern”, called “Dynamic Controls”, in which AI is used to assist players, in local play, with being able to more effectively fight on an even footing with their friends.
So today, on Access-Ability, we’re going to be talking about Dynamic Controls mode in Street Fighter 6. We’re going to talk about how the control scheme works, what it automates, what it leaves in the player’s control, and what purpose it serves in helping more players to engage with fighting games casually with friends.
I’m going to start this article with a quick refresher on Street fighter 6’s Classic and Modern control schemes, before moving on to what we currently know about Dynamic Controls.
For players familiar with past Street Fighter titles, Classic Controls are what you typically expect from a Street Fighter game. Special attacks are mapped to strings of inputs, requiring a series of buttons to be pressed in rapid succession. Combos can only be executed by inputting the correct button presses in the correct memorised order. If you can’t memorise an input string, or execute it reliably, special attacks and combos are not available to you during play.
If you’d like more information on Modern Mode, you can check out below our in depth video on the topic, but the basic summary is that, when playing in Modern Mode, players are not expected to memorise or execute input strings for special attacks and combos, instead using a control scheme much more in line with games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
At its core, Modern control mode allows players to use a dedicated special attack button, and directional inputs, to select specials without using input strings. The mode also allows for a held button to switch the player into delivering pre-designed combos, which will only execute if the hits at the start of the combo make contact with the opponent.
When I played a demo of the game’s Modern Mode back in the summer of 2022, the mode has some small limitations, with not every single special move being available to players without memorising classic combo strings, but it made the vast majority of each character’s move pool a lot more accessible for players with motor control or memory disabilities.
Additionally, Modern Mode doesn’t disable input strings, so players using Modern Mode are not prevented from learning the inputs required for the handful of moves that aren’t mapped to the new simplified game layout.
With all of that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about Dynamic Controls, and what they seem to be offering as an option for disabled players.
While Modern control mode is balanced in its design to be able to be used in online, ranked, and competitive settings alongside players using Classic mode, Dynamic Controls is an offline local multiplayer only option, likely due to the degree of assistance provided to the player.
While details from the Game Informer interview are scarce, the mode uses AI tech to dynamically select moves for the player, based on factors like their distance from their opponent. Players can button mash, using Square, Cross, and Circle on PlayStation, with their button presses translated into dynamically chosen attacks against their opponent.
It is unclear at present if it matters which of these three buttons is pressed or not. It is possible that the player may be controlling different pools of AI attacks with each of the three buttons, but it may also simply be that any of thesee three buttons pressed simply counts as a generic “input”, and will activate the same AI move list to pull attacks from.
According to the Game Informer interview, behind the scenes there are apparently rules determining what happens when each specific button is pressed, but the developer’s intention is that those rules will not be clear to the player, and are not meant to be thought about during play. The different buttons will in some way change what happens in game, but whether that means factors like attack strength, prioritised move types, or something else entirely, is unclear. It certainly doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a clear divide, such as one button being heavy attacks, one medium, and one light attacks for example.
While “button mashing” is a convenient shorthand way to describe this control scheme, I want to be clear that there is room for user input and decision making within this gameplay mode. It’s not simply mashing buttons to power an AI fighter who the player cannot meaningfully take on a role in controlling.
AI attacks will presumably not trigger if the player is not pressing any of the attack buttons, giving room for strategic timing of when to launch an attack without being punished. Additionally, the player can move their character manually using the D-Pad, with their distance from the opponent impacting the AI’s choice of moves. If you want to specifically launch a projectile, the player might back away from their opponent, outside of their melee hit range, in order to trigger that. Lastly, players in Dynamic Control mode can manually execute parries, to create openings for attacks.
While this control scheme obviously has a lot of potential use cases, and different groups for whom it may be useful, I want to focus in this video on the benefits provided for disabled gamers, by offering these kinds of options to players.
I understand the reasons for not allowing AI character assistance in top end competitive play, or in nline ranked matches, but I am glad that this exists, even if only for local combat.
If you’ve ever been in a room full of people playing a complex fighting game like Street Fighter, and they ask if you want to join in, I know from experience that it can be daunting, and sometimes unenjoyable, to go up against an enemy that you know you stand no chance against. I’ve talked on this show in the past about my issues with fine motor control, and short-term and long-term memory, and up against experienced street Fighter players, even in a fun casual setting, it’s sometimes unenjoyable to struggle to tap out input strings that you can only half remember, and that your hands can’t quite execute even when you can remember them, while getting your ass handed to you.
For me, the new Modern control scheme in Street fighter 6 does help me overcome those barriers, but I know that it won’t be enough to help every kind of disabled gamer. I know that, for some, being able to be a part of the fun with their friends requires a higher level of assistance, and this new control scheme really seems to go a long way to helping make taking part more of an option for more players.
I have some lingering hopes and questions about Dynamic Controls in Steet Fighter 6. I hope that players who struggle with fast repeated taps, for example, can hold down a button rather than having to mash it. But, simply knowing that a control scheme exists that boils down to three face buttons, movement, and a parry, opens up who can play Street Fighter with their friends considerably, and that’s nothing but a positive.