It really doesn’t feel like a whole six years have passed since the release of Street Fighter V, but here we are, February 2022, and Street Fighter 6 has just been announced. I remember when I first got into Street Fighter back in 2013. Evo had just wrapped up and all I remember thinking was that fighting games were the coolest thing I had ever seen. As someone who was really big into competitive gaming back then, I was so confused as to why the latest Street Fighter wasn’t pulling in more attention.
Today I want to talk a little bit about the problems that Street Fighter V faced, the things we absolutely need to avoid going forward into the next generation of Street Fighter — and my wishlist of things and characters I would love to see in SF6. Let’s get started.
A rough start
When Street Fighter V was announced, I was on it as soon as I could — I was showing up to every beta test that Capcom was giving us and spending as much time in the game as possible. When SFV eventually did release back in February of 2016, it was in quite the sorry state: online was sketchy at best, there was no arcade mode, the roster was only 16 characters at launch — honestly, the game needed more time in the oven before being called “finished” and pushed out the door.
Online is the way that many games are played nowadays, especially when it comes to player versus player games — and even more so when it’s games that can be considered to have a competitive scene. Scoreboards, rankings, ratings; it’s these types of things that longtime fighting game fans adore in their games and it’s what helps to keep them playing. So when a game that is part of a series that helped define an entire genre comes out boasting about how good the online is going to be and then fails to deliver, that’s a huge issue.
Even with the online problems, I could see past it because at least I could still enjoy watching the offline events with the professional players that got me into the game. Suddenly, rumours start going around about a built-in 8-frame input delay — if you know fighting games, you’ll know that this is quite bad. Fighting games are one-on-one; there is no teamplay element to them for the most part, so one of the areas that always makes these games stand out is just how reactive the players need to be in order to truly stand at the top, and a built-in delay like that makes things very difficult!
It really felt like these problems just kept on coming one after the other, and the only thing Capcom was really doing to remedy any of it was throwing more characters at us. Sure, it was great when long-awaited characters like Alex and Urien finally made their return, but nothing was happening to actually fix the problems that game was facing.
Eventually, we did reach a point where problems were actually being solved and there was more transparency when it came to Capcom talking to the community, but I don’t think there was much they could do to save Street Fighter V this far down the line.
So what now? Street Fighter 6 is happening, and Capcom needs to try their absolute hardest to make this game knock people’s socks off immediately on release — not two years later. This counts even more so when you consider all the other excellent new fighting games out there today, such as Guilty Gear Strive and The King of Fighters XV.
Street Fighter 6 HAS to deliver
I can’t believe I even have to put this, but the number one thing that SF6 must be is a complete and finished game on release. If that means putting that sucker back in the oven for a month or two and letting them touch things up further before unleashing it on the world, then so be it. I think that many Street Fighter fans would agree that we absolutely do NOT want a repeat of what happened with SFV.
Next, the Online needs to be good! Rollback netcode is the way forward with fighting games. Guilty Gear Strive has it, Blazblue and some other older Arc System Works titles have been updated to have it, King of Fighters XV has it. Street Fighter 6 should not only have rollback netcode at launch, but good, stable rollback netcode with multiple options for opponent searches. If I’m in the UK, I don’t want to fight against someone all the way over in West Coast America.
More game modes. I know Capcom really wants to push the esports angle, and I’m all for there being real-life world warriors who travel around fighting the best of the best. However, not everyone that plays these games is going into them wanting to be the greatest Ryu or Chun-Li player of all time — they just want to look at a pretty game and slap some buttons.
Whether it be pouring life back into arcade mode and giving it animated cutscenes again, or adding in crazy game modes where you and a buddy have to team up and fight a powerful boss character, we need to accommodate the casual player as well as the hardcore professionals. Those casuals could one day become hardcore professionals, after all.
A strong starting roster. When it comes to fighting games, characters are king. They are what bring back old players and attract totally new players through their unique playstyles, character designs, or the inspirations they draw their fighting styles from.
People love Street Fighter characters so much that it’s incredibly important the series’ classic characters return in Street Fighter 6 — from the beginning. While Street Fighter III is looked back on now as a classic in the series, it was a total commercial failure due to its lack of classic characters that people knew and loved. If it means that my girl Juri has to be added in later as DLC, then so be it — but those classic characters that people love need to be there at launch.
Player Expression. When I think of player expression in a fighting game, I think of the depth of gameplay, mechanics, and characters. I’m not saying that niche-interest techiques like 1-frame combos need to return, but there has to be a balance in the difficulty otherwise we’ll face the same problems that SFV currently has.
The player Smug was known by almost everyone who played Street Fighter IV as THE Dudley player. No one else really played the character — people even thought he was one of the worst in the game until Smug came onto the scene. I want character specialists like Smug to be a thing again. They’re inspirational, and they make for some of the most entertaining storylines in the scene.
Finally, the game needs to look great and feel even better to play. I have complete trust in Capcom’s ability to make a game that can feel great in the hands of the players. However, there were so many occasions throughout SFV’s lifespan where characters just looked bizarre. Their hair might have been unnaturally yellow, or their teeth might have looked like a bar of soap. With the graphics tech available these days, that should be an easy fix.
So let’s make this the best Street Fighter ever. Oh, and maybe change the logo, while we’re on.
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