There are More Fighting Game DLC Possibilities than Overpriced Costumes

In 2013 video games are platforms. A new title releases and within months or even mere weeks a wealth of additional content is available for purchase for said title. From characters and costumes to games modes and story campaigns, all kinds of DLC is available for all kinds of games. Except for fighting games, that is. The typical bulk of DLC released for fighting games includes additional colors or costumes. Just ask Tecmo about Dead or Alive 5’s $100+ in add-on costumes.

You’ll see the occasional DLC character here and there (which is greatly shunned by the genre’s competitive fanbase), but for the most part fighting game DLC enables us to play a bit of dress up with the characters and not a terrible amount more. However, things do not have to be this way. A select few fighters have introduced truly meaningful and unique content, and most of the time it’s included right on the game disc. Let me make it abundantly clear that there are far more interesting DLC possibilities for fighting games than costumes and characters.

Single Player Game Modes

Nowadays very few fighters launch with the entire single player suite. In addition to the arcade mode, I like to see a challenge mode, a score attack mode, a survival mode, and a time attack mode. I can hardly think of any new fighter that has launched with all of these modes. New single player modes would make for exciting add-on content. The SoulCalibur series has long been reputed for offering a variety of single player content – until the release of the latest installment SoulCalibur V. The game’s single player pickings are decidedly slim and I understand that development costs can be quite high, so why not sell us our Chronicles of the Sword mode? I’d buy it.

Something like the Tekken Force mode from the Tekken series (say what you like about those modes, I have enjoyed just about all of them), Guilty Gear Isuka’s GG Boost mode or the Blazblue series’ abyss mode (above) would also compel me to open my wallet. Most people who buy fighting games buy them to play with other people, and as a result we end up with more scant single player offerings than you would in games of other genres.

The GG Boost mode could even be played cooperatively, giving it an addictive arcade action game feeling. Cooperative game-play in a fighting game must sound laughable, but me and my mates played that mode for hours trying to clear all of the stages. If something like that was sold as DLC for the next newest Blazblue title, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Multiplayer Game Modes and Features

Capcom released a free (yes, I said “Capcom” and “free” in the same sentence) tournament mode for Super Street Fighter IV. Blazblue: Continuum Shift Extend introduced a fun team battle mode. If the online suite comes with all of the standard goodies, then it is reasonable if extra modes like these are sold as additional content. This is meaningful content that truly adds to the game, giving players more options and ways to play.

Observe the way King of Fighters and Capcom vs SNK 2 allow players to choose three characters and fight with each of them, with the characters recovering only a bit of health in between each round. It seems like it would be fairly straightforward to add a similar mode to any 3D or 2D fighter. The Heroes and Heralds mode (below) in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 allows players to customize their characters with unique skills and abilities. Of course a multiplayer mode like this wouldn’t be ideal for serious competitive play, but it would still be a lot of fun to see how my friends equipped their characters and play some casual matches with them. The specifics seem simple: only players who purchase the modes should be able to enjoy them.

New multiplayer features would also make for some interesting additional content. Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s World Tekken Federation recently shut down. The free service kept track of an insane amount of stats, ranked you with players around the world, connected to social networks, highlighted weaknesses in your game-play and much more. Maintaining that kind of data for hundreds of thousands of players surely got costly at some point and thus the service is now dead.

If players were to pay a small premium for a service like that, then the service could last longer and probably be even better than the free WTF. Memberships could be sold as cheap DLC or in the same way as EA’s Battlefield Premium.

Character Voices and Music

The vast majority of fighting games are developed in Japan. The big budget fighters have English dubs recorded for the characters and the dialogue and more often than not the games have dual audio right there on the disc. This doesn’t have to be the case. Would anyone have a huge problem with paying $1 or so for a character’s Japanese dub? After all, many people find English voice acting to be a joke compared to Japanese voice acting.

Now I’m not advocating for developers to withhold this content precisely to sell it to us separately (although I’m sure if they’d do it anyway if they thought there was much money to be made), but I am saying that I wouldn’t be opposed to it. If they go through all the work of funding an English dub for the game just to satisfy the western market, then that’s really all we’re entitled to unless we buy a Japanese copy of the game. As it stands, in Persona 4: Arena and the Blazblue games, you can choose to use English or Japanese character voices. This is a feature I’m certain several players would pay extra for.


Since we’re on audio, soundtracks or character themes would also make for great DLC. I believe we saw this once with Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition. Most fighting games released these days are part of a series. Take Tekken for example. With six numbered entries and several spin-offs, hundreds of songs have been composed for the Tekken games. It’s unreasonable to think we could have all of this music in one game, but what if we could buy some of the older themes as DLC?  I want to hear Xiayou’s theme from Tekken Tag Tournament while I’m playing Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and I will gladly pay for that option.

Even better, this content would allow developers to use assets that they’ve already created – something many developers simply love to do. The costs would surely be quite low, there’s potential for some sort of profit and the players get more options. Everyone wins.

Character Portraits and Unique Taunts

Every fighting game has a character select screen, and the most of these screens use character portraits to represent the characters. This art is usually lovely, but what if we could choose from a selection of portraits? It isn’t as farfetched as it sounds: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 offers exactly that option. You can earn in-game currency and use it to customize the character portraits at the character select screen (check this feature out in the video below).

I think it would be a great idea if more fighters offered this option, but they could profit from it with DLC. Let’s look at the perfect opportunity for this feature: the Blazblue series. The character portraits have been changed between each of the main games. Have a look at Litchi’s portraits from Calamity Trigger, Continuum Shift and Chrono Phantsama. Out of these my favorite is the Continuum Shift portrait and I would happily pay some amount if I could use the same portrait in Chrono Phantasma.

They could even draw up some more portraits and give us a variety to choose from, no different than a PSN avatar. It seems like a small thing and it is, but players being able to be unique and individual, even if it’s with something minor.

Unique character poses and taunts are another possibility. If shooting games can do it, then why can’t fighting games? Maybe you want an even sluttier taunt for Tekken’s Anna or for Dead or Alive’s Ayane to use one of her taunts from the earlier series installments. If there were a variety to choose from, this could be another area where players could be individuals and customize their taunts. Most characters only have around two or three taunts, but how much would it cost to create a few more and then sell them as cheap DLC?


Fighting game players are quite passionate and very serious about the deep combat systems in fighting games. Any DLC released for a fighter should be exclusively for vanity purposes and it should have absolutely no impact on the dynamic of the game-play, but there are still many more options than overpriced costumes and colors.  The only DLC I’ve ever bought for a fighting game was Makoto Nanaya for Blazblue: Continuum Shift. That’s it.

If more compelling content like new game modes, remixed character themes, or new character portraits were available, I can say without a doubt that I’d buy a lot more.

Join the Discussion

  • this is why Fighting games will always be at low because they are not catered for gamers who don’t take fighting games seriously.
    Soul Calibur 2/3 and Mortal Kombat 9 are the only 2 fighting games that had offered varieties of good for both casual, core and tournament players.

    i HATE the fact that many DLC’s for fighting games are always to do with costumes. It makes no sense, there’s no new move list or special.
    I like what inJUSTICE is doing by bringing more characters as DLC.

    but we really need worth while DLC rather than costumes.
    I like how DOA 5 Ultimate, you can change the music around how you want it. It was cool.
    Yes a Tekken Force mode will be so ideal for a fighting game.

    I love MK9’s Co-op mode. Fighting games do need to focus more on co-op.

    I know that Japan will not be the one to create the ideal fighting game that matches for casual, core and tournament players.
    It’s only Netherealm Studios who can do this. Even without playing inJustice full game, from what i’ve played from the demo shows Ed Boon understands what fighting fans want!
    right from MK9, I could tell, because it corrected a lot of things Japanese devs keeps getting wrong when it comes to fighting games.

    • Kenneth Richardson

      I agree with the majority of your comment, but I’m not crazy about NetherRealm’s fighters and I think every fighting game developer as the potential to craft more fleshed out single player (and perhaps co-op) experiences. As you can see, it has been done before. Oh, and check out Smash Bros. That series is played casually and at tournaments, and it offers perhaps the best single player, casual and co-op suites. Brawl’s emissary mode was a lot of fun, and lengthy too.

      • Smash Bros is more of a Beat Em Up, rather than fighter.
        Beat em Up like Marvel Nemesis Rise of Imperfects or Power Stone.
        i never tried Brawl but if it had story that’s good, i know the one the Gamecube did not had a good story if I recall. (story like MK9)

        yes every fighting game has potential but the damn devs either cannot make one or don’t have time/money from publisher to make on.

        I was even going to STOP buying fighting games, but MK9 changed my mind.
        i’m glad Soul Calibur 2 HD Online is coming out.

        I dislike Capcom and their games now.

        • Kenneth Richardson

          Ah, the debate about whether or not Smash is a fighting series is as old as the series itself. People usually believe what the wish to where that’s concerned, but considering the huge competitive following the franchise has, I guess it doesn’t matter either way. Capcom has burned a lot of bridges with fans, I’m always worrying about what will happen to them. I’m excited for SoulCalibur 2 HD as well.

          • when you tend to study Game genre, you need to put the games where they rightfully belong. If people want to believe Half Life 2 has a horror game, let them believe even though they are wrong.
            Super Smash brothers is not a Fighting game it’s a Beat em Up Game. Nothing wrong with that.

            All I know is that I expect to see what I’ve seen from MK9 and inJustice from any other fighting games coming out. SC5 was ruined because it was rushed. Even though Capcom is at low, I did like how they introduced different varities of Street Fighter series, each having it’s own unique features.

            This is why I disliked Dead or Alive 5, it felt like DOA4 but with new graphics. It included a story but was not done right. I think every fighters should just look up to MK9.
            MK9 can even be a fun party type of game with casuals. I love the Kombat Codes or Test your Luck because they add so much varities of Gameplays. Fight upside down, darkness, invisibility battle, headless combat etc.

          • Kenneth Richardson

            We liked MK9 too, but I don’t find it to be the gold standard like you do. For parties I’ve thrown/ casual gatherings, nothing beats the Smash series, any of the “vs.” games or Tekken Tag Tournament (old or new).

            Btw – and I’m not going to argue about this lol because as I said, people believe what they wish – if we’re talking factually, Smash is classified as a series of “fighting” games. It has less traditional elements compared to others in the genre (and I applaud it for that), but a rose is still a rose. When you say “beat’em up game”, I think of a hack’n’slash or something like Dragon’s Crown or Double Dragon, or a “beat them all” like Dynasty Warriors or Devil May Cry. The wiki breaks it down nicely, also illustrating the relationship to the genre you mentioned:

            Creator Sakurai spoke a good deal about this exact topic here, you should check it out:

          • so what sets the gold standards for fighting games?

            just because Wikipedia list Smash Bros under the Fighting doesn’t make it fact. When two people go head to head, it is considered fighting. But when more than 2 go heads together, it is considered a brawl.

            Yes the games you listed are Beat EM Up. Would you say Anarchy Reign is a fighting game or a Beat EM Up?

          • Kenneth Richardson

            I would generally describe Anarchy Reigns as a brawler, but the one-on-one fights in the little arena are rich in fighting game mechanics and the general style and progression of the matches. Blocking, dodging, poking for openings, high execution combos, spacing, etc. What makes a fighter a fighter if not exactly such elements?

            I won’t comment further on what I think Smash is, because I said before how divisive that series can be concerning its genre, when it hardly matters at all. It’s regularly one of the most played games at the world’s largest fighting game tournament. Let’s leave the genre open to interpretation.

          • the fighting genre does not matter now since many devs and others simply name the genres wrong.
            There is no such thing as 2.5d yet it’s a well used word.
            Same with Playstation All Stars, does not feel like a fighting game but it’s called as Fighting, Party

          • Kenneth Richardson

            Let’s see, the gold standard? Obviously this would change from player to player – for example you cite MK9. For me it might be the Tekken series. Even though I like some other fighters more, Tekken always has an army of characters and modes to choose from. And with beautiful visuals and a very free “button masher friendly” control scheme, even visitors who don’t really care for fighters will engage in a few matches. Plus it was the first fighter I played, on the original PlayStation, back when I was about six, so the series has sentimental significance to me as well.

          • those are not really strong points.
            -MK9 sets the standard because it has a well written and deep story mode, which many fighters lack today!
            SF4 would have had one but it was turned to an anime instead.
            -MK9 has co-op for both offline, online, or with opponent. Some fighting games have this.
            -MK9 has challenge towers with different varieties of gameplays and scenarios and all very fun. Although Soul Calibur 4 had this, MK9 greatly improved over it.
            -MK9 has very GOOD online connection. All other fighters I’ve played all had terrible netcodes, especially fighters from Japan.
            -MK9 has a chatroom online and the online infrastructure is pretty good. You see who is on winning streak, who defeated who. And even a rating system in King of the Hill.
            -MK9 has a mini story for Arcade mode, of course every fighters have this. But I was surprised to see extra story in Arcade even after playing the Storymode.
            -Different modz that can change combat feeling- Armless combat, Pyscho Combat, Speed Combat etc

            Many fighters lack most of these points, and I’m not even talking about the gameplay.
            Tekken still plays the same as it has always been since PS1, same with DOA. It is only Soul Calibur that’s trying something new.
            The only good think Tekken has that no other fighter has is Tekken Force.
            Tekken 3 did set the standard for unlocks, Tekken 3 is still one of the best fighters around.

            In fact I don’t need to say MK9 set the standard, basically Netherealm Studios are setting the standards. Comparing inJustice with MK9 shows how vast they build upon that standard.
            If I don’t see other fighters produce the same high level content of MK9 or inJustice then I will only buy Netherealm Studio games. Because they make their fighting games catered towards casual players, core players and tournament players.

          • Kenneth Richardson

            Wow MK9 sounds loaded. I should see if I can find a cheap copy.

          • you must be crazy not to try MK9.
            Play the game and check out the contents.

          • Kenneth Richardson

            In the case of by the numbers features, I think Persona or BlazBlue would give MK9 a run for its money. Both have lengthy entertaining stories, excellent arcade modes, brilliant netcode – when you say you’ve never played a Japanese fighter with good netcode, this tells me that either you have played very few Japanese fighters or that your internet connection isn’t up to snuff- “easy” modes of play, great soundtracks, dual audio, decked out art galleries, a very unique player ID naming system, very challenging score attack modes. Blazblue even takes it a bit further with their Abyss Mode (which is fun), the legion mode from CS (also very fun) and unlockable unlimited characters.

          • I’ve played Blaze Blue and the story mode is not what I’m talking about.
            I’m talking about full cutscenes, not pictures with you reading dialogues all the time. That is not a storymode, that is a book.
            And for you to defend Japanese fighting games with great netcode shows you must love to defend blazeblue. All I’m saying is MK9 uses a better steady code than Japanese fighters I’ve played. I would say MvC3 did have a good coding.
            Art galleries, player name ID (MK has avatar) MK has.
            What is Abyss Mode?

          • Kenneth Richardson

            I’m not defending anything, you made a blanket statement about Japanese fighters, that you’ve never played one with good netcode. Blazblue, the Street Fighter series, I can name a few Japanese fighters with excellent netcode. If you’ve never played a Japanese fighter with good netcode then either you’ve played too few or you need to check your own connection, simple as that.

            Blazblue’s story mode is wonderful, it’s simply done in a Japanese visual novel format compared to what you’re describing. They also use anime cutscenes in the story from time to time, albeit sparingly. Abyss mode is shown in the first video in this article.

  • KuchikiSentou

    Lol, I bought all the DLC for DOA5, DoA5+ and DoA5U. Tecmo didn’t include Cross Buy. I’m best friends with Hayashi-chan (I was the one who told him to bring DOA5 to VITA) so it’s cool.
    Certainly a lot of money though.
    But I don’t think it’s fair to look at it as an aggregate. There is a game on PC with over $3000 worth of DLC. Some simulator of some sort.

    Sluttier win animations all the way. I’d pay for that!!

    • Kenneth Richardson

      You’ve got cash to burn if you bought all the DLC for all three DOA5 games. The high price of the costumes is its own issue, but more kinds of DLC would really rock. I personally probably wouldn’t buy the win animations (it would certainly be a neat option), but I’d be all over the game modes and soundtracks.

      • KuchikiSentou

        I think that’s what DOA5U was. New characters and modes;
        I feel like the costumes of DOA are a subculture of their own; certainly more than soundtracks. They have entire themes like Christmas, Racing, School etc.

        Game modes are not as easy to implement (if they had to make another title to include the much-needed 7v7 and Power Launches).

        I think fighting game dlc is relatively easy to criticise. They certainly have not been creative in this regard. If we look a game like Street Fighter x Tekken for example, with their Gem Packs and Costume Swaps. It may have something to do with the fact that the mechanics are difficult to change into a new form for implementation. I mean something Tekken Ball is an example something I would pay for to see in more games, but implementation is a whole other story.

        Hopefully next gen paints a better picture.

        • Kenneth Richardson

          DOA5U was that essentially, but it was delivered as another disc/full game. There’s really no option to download the training modes or challenges if you already own DOA5; it’s all or nothing.

          I would certainly rather have music from some of the older DOA games as opposed to the costumes, which themselves are meaningless to me. Even if they were half the current prices the costume packs wouldn’t appeal to me, but it’s especially a problem that the costumes are the only DLC options for the game whatsoever. That’s the real kicker.

          Yes! Let’s hope the stronger hardware of the next gen consoles gives devs (and by extension players) more options in that regard.

  • Nicholas Perry

    They only make the DLC costumes because people obviously want to and buy them.

    • Kenneth Richardson

      True, and I have no problems with the costumes (although I’d never buy them), but a greater variety of DLC wouldn’t hurt anyone.

  • Max

    I like the suggestions you mentioned, but honestly I still prefer if we get ride of DLC content altogether, especially if it’s something already on the disc but locked, that is just greediness. And their target audience, us, the gamers, don’t just spend our money on games and it’s DLCs, we spend it on comic books, mangas, anime and movies. And being a gamer is itself is not cheap anymore as it used to be.

    • Kenneth Richardson

      I agree with you Max, but since DLC is clearly here to stay, the least we can ask is for a greater variety of it when it comes to fighters. Gaming is certainly not as cheap as it once was. D:

  • mattwo

    “There are More Fighting Game DLC Possibilities than Overpriced Costumes ”

    Yea, like on-disc character unlocks. >.>

    “Single Player Game Modes”

    Yea, like a proper story mode for the Crapcom crossovers… >.>

    • Kenneth Richardson

      A story mode would be a great single player DLC. I’d buy it.

      • mattwo

        Crapcom doesn’t know how much money they are missing out on here.