The world is abuzz with anticipation for the upcoming Street Fighter 6and Capcom’s tendency to break convention with each entry in its marquee fighter series means we can likely expect big changes when 6 is unleashed. whilst Street Fighter 5 is in a good place right now, it’s fair to say it’s launch back in 2016 was thoroughly underwhelming. Scant gameplay modes, a roster light in fighters, and a sub-par online experience are just snippets of a shopping list’s worth of issues.
Don’t forget Capcom have been on a roll since 2016 though; they’ve brought resident Evil back from the dead, and a duo of monster hunter hits have lifted that series into the mainstream. SF5’s redemption in that time gives us hope for 6’s launch too. Bridging the gap between casual and hardcore fighters whilst offering entry points for newcomers are two of the basics we expect Capcom will address.
Launch with sizeable character roster
It’s fair to say Street Fighter 5’s starting line-up was a tad sparse. Alongside long-time series icons Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li was a handful of returning characters plus four new challengers, bringing the total to a party sixteen. Characters are the beating heart of any good fighting game, and Street Fighter’s enduring success is largely down to its unmistakable roster of recognizable, imaginative characters, each with style and personality with which to back as your main. A limited line-up will undoubtedly alienate a ton of players who’ve spent hours honing their technique with a specific character only for them to be absent come launch day. It’s unlikely Street Fighter 6 will launch with a roster to match V’s current cast of 46 fighters, but somewhere upwards of the mid-20’s is surely on the cards.
More single player content at launch
The launch of Street Fighter 5 was notable for its lack of single-player content; arcade and story modes were nowhere to be seen. Of course, fighting games are predominantly multi-player head-to-head experiences, but by excluding single player content vanilla Street Fighter 5 felt impenetrable to casual fighters. Of course, I’d never advocate for Capcom to ignore its core competitive demographics in favor of concentrating their efforts on players that might only join in for a bit before moving onto the next game. No, supporting the raft of casual players who’ll undoubtably dive in on day one – many of which will certainly be newcomers – with thoughtful single player content will only aid their acclimatization to Street Fighter’s brand of pulverizing action, granting them confidence to move online for competitive multi-player.
More online modes
Whether you’re casual or hardcore, online is where you’re likely to spend most of your time with Streetfighter 5. Currently, there’re ranked and casual matches available, where you’ll compete for league points in the former, or have a blast in a more low-key bouts with the latter. Thing is, there’re other multiplayer modes that’d tempt fledgling players to take the plunge. SF6 could bring in an online training mode akin to King of Fighters XV. There’s scope for improved daily challenges, that are perhaps daily instead of being closer to weekly, and they’re designed to encourage alternative methods of play, be it with an unfamiliar character or strategy.
Expand training mode
A saving grace for players of SF5 in 2016 was its fantastic training mode. Serious players would undoubtably spend countless hours honing their skills in this mode, for this is the place to practice inputs, set-ups, and combos with precision. A raft of placement options and display data helped newcomers get a lot of mileage out of the mode too. SF6 could expand on this mode; perhaps it could become a robust, onboarding mode for newcomers and casuals, with a chance to slow-down the action to better rehearse trickier combos. Maybe frame rate data could be added to the data displayed, enabling players who’re more advanced to visually see animation start-up and recovery times.
Online playability issues
History shows that long-time fans, serious amateurs, and street-fighter veterans don’t waste any time in organizing competitive matchups. as soon as Street Fighter 5 was out in the open, pros raced to set up tournaments with likeminded competitors. Capcom’s 2016 pro tour was hastily scheduled a month after SF5′s release, too. The process for a pro in training demands competitive matchups with players of similar skillsets, so whilst Capcom clearly aimed SF5 squarely at the competitive players, it’s baffling the game launched with unstable servers underpinned by glaring, oftentimes one-sided, rollback caused by shoddily implemented netcode. Plus, there was zero punishment for players who disconnected during play, presumably in rage-quit whilst taking a pummeling.
Another glaring issue during SF5’s launch was excessively long input lag. Now, microscopic lag – say, 2-3 frames – is generally regarded as acceptable. SF5 however shipped with 8 frames of input delay, with the PlayStation 4 suffering the greatest. It might not sound like much, but lag of this scale manifests as lethargic gameplay, where rapid reaction times lie secondary to prediction-based manoeuvres. The net result of a fight with less emphasis on reaction time is a feeling of unfairness. It’d be all too common to unexpectedly lose a bout, having been sure you’d defended in time. Whilst Capcom have remedied this problem, placing framerate lag for SF5 to within an acceptable range, they dragged their heels. Let’s hope there’re none of these shenanigans when SF6 is unleashed.
Exclusivity at Launch
A theme of this rundown is a desire for Street Fighter’s player net to be cast as wide as possible. Fighting game communities thrive, but as with anything, they need fresh blood to maintain their health. New games exist as exclusives; with acquisitions in the industry aplenty, huge swathes of gamers are always going to miss out on new releases on account of not owning the right console. For fighting games designed around multi-player, reliant on a diverse network of fighters, platform exclusivity is unacceptable. SF5 launched as a PC and PlayStation exclusive. Let’s prey history doesn’t repeat itself.
Internet search’Street Fighter 5 loading times,’ and your browser becomes awash with fighters complaining at lengthy loading times. Does it always take 5 mins to load? No other fighter has this much downtime between fights. Seriously Capcom, what gives? Now, far be it for me to get hyperbolic, but seriously, I love games that I can quickly dive in and out but Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition on my PS4 Pro isn’t it. I feel like I’ve spent hours of my life starting at the SF5 logo with that blue and red gradient background. Now, I understand that the gargantuan load times are more an issue for consoles than PC, and that current gen hardware has reduced the 4ish minute wait to playtime down to 1-2 minutes. Still, I’m hoping this gets ironed out by the time 6 arrive.
Lost Visual Identity
Now, we’re descending purely into the realms of personal opinion, so, here goes: I think street-fighter has lost some of its unique visual identity. SF5 is a good-looking game, don’t get me wrong. It’s just, from a branding perspective, I don’t feel like the art style Capcom are continuing with is distinctive enough. To me, it feels muddled between realistic and cartoon styles. compare SF5’s visual presentation to the fighting games of Arc System Works – I’m thinking the recognizable anime stylings of dragon ball fighter z or Guilty Gear -Strive- – now, to me those games have distinction. I’m not suggesting an anime style for SF6of course, but when I look back to those street-fighter titles of the 90’s Street Fighter 2 especially – I’m reminded of how iconic the visual presentation of those games are. Take the stages for example: whilst I appreciate the modernized versions of classic stages, like Ryu’s Suzaku Castle, or Guile’s Air Force Base, I feel their update’s impact is diluted. Something magical is missing, having been replaced with genericness. That’s not to mention how forgetful some of the stages new to SF5 are too – Forgotten Waterfall or Kanzuki Beach spring to mind.
No Auto Combos
Keep auto combos out of street-fighter por favor. Now, deviating slightly for this entry, SF5 doesn’t use auto-combos. Arc System Works games have largely been responsible for the emergence of auto combos or ‘stylish’ modes, where by mashing a single button yields a string of attacks. The idea is to flatten the learning curve for newcomers, offering potential to execute perfect combos from the get-go. For me though, fighting games are about the voyage, about learning through labour, practice, and betterment. Auto combos feel like a short cut that won’t serve you well in the long run. It pays to learn the moveset of your chosen character. And, besides which, seasoned players can just block auto combos anyway.