Ninja Theory’s upcoming fighter Bleeding Edge might be joining the ranks of online mutliplayer games, but the developer’s keen for it to avoid the toxicity that, sadly, often goes hand-in-hand with the genre. Instead, the studio’s asking: “Why does it have to be like that?”
That’s according to creative director Rahni Tucker, who spoke to PCGamesN about the fighting game’s joyful appeal. “Personally I sometimes find the culture in online games can be a little toxic and a little angry and we were like: ‘Why does it have to be like that?'”, Rahni tells us during a Bleeding Edge gameplay hands-on.
“We realised we could make a game that’s kind of celebrating competition in the way that you would go with a bunch of your mates and play footie in the park, where you’re against each other while you’re playing, but then you’re going to go and have a beer after”, she explains. Instead, she adds, the studio thought it should make Bleeding Edge “about being friendly, and about being enjoyable and playful”.
“The whole thing’s a little bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s meant to be fun, right? It’s not meant to make people angry and that’s the way I wanted people to feel when they play the game. That’s the kind of community that we want to help.”
While Bleeding Edge isn’t a fighting game in the strict sense you’d expect of that term, its spiritual predecessors in arcade games like Street Fighter offer an idea of the kind of competitive spirit the studio’s keen to foster with its next title. “When you’re playing Street Fighter in an arcade and someone kicks your ass, you tend to turn around and go: Man, good job,” Tucker explains. “That’s what we wanted to capture, really.”
This will likely be welcome news to players keen to get stuck in who also want to avoid encountering the kind of toxicity that can plague the communities of some of the biggest multiplayers out there. Last year a study by the ADL found that, at the time, 74% of those who play online multiplayer titles had been on the receiving end of some form of harassment in-game. Hopefully Ninja Theory’s approach means Bleeding Edge’s community will buck that trend.