The assistant producer of the arcade version of critically-acclaimed fighting game Street Fighter IV has responded to claims made from the series director of rival fighting game, Tekken, that unlockable characters in fighting games is "outdated" and "no longer useful".

Last week we brought you comments from Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada, who told us in an interview that character unlocking was "kind of outdated now though, especially with online play. If we were to have locked characters it would irritate a lot of people, to be playing against others online and to not have all the characters available. So I think it's no longer useful".

Street Fighter IV, released in February, is among the more recent fighters that have used unlocking, requiring multiple completions to activate nine of its 25 playable characters.

The home console version of Tekken 6 will feature a whopping total of 40 fighters, all available from the get-go.

We put Harada's comments to Capcom producer Ryota Niitsuma, who was an assistant producer on the arcade version of Street Fighter IV. He denied that the age-old feature was outdated, and said its inclusion was a deliberate move.

"Personally speaking I quite like the idea of rewarding the players for what they've put into the game," he said. "Often the unlocked characters are quite tricky ones. If you were to start playing with that character from the start you might not really like it so much, so I quite like letting the players play with basic characters and learn the basics first, and then move on when they've reached a certain level to more tricky characters."

Niitsuma also confirmed that character unlocking will feature in the western release of fighter Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, a game he is currently producing.

He said: "We are probably going to unlock all the characters in the Japanese version, but the new additional characters that we're going to put into the western SKU will be locked."

So there you have it. The character unlocking debate rages on.

What do you think? Is character unlocking "outdated", or is it just reward for your effort? Let us know in the comments section below.