With the advent of rollback netcode marking its importance for online fighting games, it’s been interesting to see how it has affected many games in development. These days especially, with a global pandemic forcing pretty much every fighting game player online, its necessity has become clear for those wanting a smooth, competitive experience that isn’t reserved to local play. Any new fighting game in development is at this point required to have at the very least a version of a strong rollback netcode, or it risks failure on account of the community no longer being so accepting for lesser netplay. This has especially been on the minds of fighting game fans as Guilty Gear -Strive- as its release date looms nearer and nearer, and those excited for the game are ravenously awaiting that rollback beta at the end of the week.
However, while the future of online fighting games becomes more and more apparent, how online improvements have affected past games has been interesting. Games like Guilty Gear Accent Core Plus R, whose scenes had been reduced to only the most dedicated players, have exploded in popularity ever since the rollback update it got late last year. Plus R has become a rather household name for fighting games now, (even seeing the most entrants at Frosty Faustings not long ago with 457 players) despite being nearly a decade old, and this is all thanks to giving the game rollback.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Cacpom 3 is a game that has made its interesting comeback in the fighting game sphere with the help of a new method of playing the game online. Using the third party program “Parsec”, players have been able to play each other online in a way that, while possible before, has never been up to the point of quality that Parsec’s servers offer. Though this isn’t magically giving the game rollback netcode, and players are going to be playing on a delay depending on far from the servers they are, the fact that their connection is remaining on a consistent delay makes the game incredibly playable, and the scene has been revived to a point the game has not seen in years.
Good online is incredibly important for video games in this day and age. Pretty much anything that doesn’t feel identical to offline at this point in esports is no longer acceptable, and fighting games have only been reaching that point as of a few years ago. But now, with applications like Parsec, NullDC Bear, Slippi, as well as developers personally updating their old titles, even titles of the past have been coming back with online updates and breathing new life into old scenes. Now that the past is catching up to the present, the attention is now on future titles to get there too.