I was really excited for Pokkén Tournament DX to come out on account of the fact that it would allow single console play between two-players. Split-screen mode sucks a lot, mostly because of how performance tanks on it, the rest is matters of taste in regards to how utterly ass the UI is. This past Saturday, I brought my Switch with me to a tournament for Pokkén casuals. My friend and I played a fairly long set between matches in our other games, using the near vs. far mode. I volunteered to be on the far end, and found it took me virtually no mental effort to adjust my inputs to play that way. My friend played some casuals with a newbie and he didn't have trouble adjusting either. Of course, at duel phase, everything feels normal and fine for both players.
Of course, there are potential problems. You can see each other's assist selection screen. You can see each other's held charges. Some attacks on the near end can obscure the character at the far end during field. However, I like the psychological effect that is imposed by visible charges, and obscuring a character in field is actually bad for both players (meanwhile, with two separate screens, you now can't see the other guy and the other guy can see you). These are hard downsides to some. However, it's a matter of a tradeoff. And I think this is way, way, way better than the alternative.
I don't know about you guys, but mandatory LAN mode is single-handedly what killed the Pokkén scene in my area. Think about it: you need two people who like the game enough and like the scene enough to consistently show up for weeklies or monthlies. Luckily, our arcade had a spare Wii U that allowed us to sidestep that issue. But then you still needed two monitors and some sort of networking setup. I donated an old router to the arcade after setting it up with Tomato and multiple VLANs to sidestep the possibility of wrongly-paired setups. This was better than making sure to have a cross-over cable and two compatible ethernet to USB adapters. And then stomping all over ethernet settings for people who might use ethernet at home.
All that for a game that was extremely niche. Smash players dropped it as soon as they found out it was nothing like smash, and traditional FGC players barely held interest in it. You could single-setup for casuals if you had one dude willing to compromise on controller preference (me) and you were both willing to deal with 30FPS. Soul Calibur V lived longer than Pokkén because even though there were so few people carrying interest for it in my scene, any one of us could get sets running for it on our own. Our airdasher scene was happy to adopt Pokkén with me as the organizer, but in practice, I dreaded running Pokkén because I would go through a whole lot of shit and hardly anyone would play it. I'm often the only guy bringing a Tekken 7 setup to my weeklies, and that helps to sustain interest and continued competitive growth. If I can't do that with Pokkén, it's in trouble.
Pokkén DX is out and we finally have single-setup two-player. Finally. FINALLY! And there's ad-hoc wireless, that's fine too. But I found out about something called "Fixed Battle Arena" when I watched SCR footage. Hey, I want that in my local games! ...Wait a second, it's not in local battle. It's not in wireless battle. Where the hell is it? Turns out it's in LAN battle, which is flabbergastingly still a thing. After all the effort to get single-screen 2P viable. After the Switch emphasized ad-hoc wireless as a console-level feature. Why the hell does LAN mode still exist? When I discovered it on Serebii, I found out its activation was just as convoluted, just as much of a pain in the ass as it was before. Why? Seriously, why?
Is this the competitive standard? Is this going to be mandatory for people to consider attending? Because guess what? I'm not going through all that shit again. I'm running my scene on near-vs-far, because as it stands right now, I'm the only person driving interest. I can get people playing the game at weeklies and monthlies, and I can get them to play and grow the scene, but the moment it becomes mandatory to have two setups, the scene will die the same fiery death it did before.
I'm going to say this again. I am not running LAN mode for my scene. Period. Non-negotiable. And yes, I know I'm pretty much starting a fight by posting this. The question is, is the side that is okay with that going to win, or are we going to let Pokkén die its second death and become relegated once again to an online-only game?