Street Fighter V is a fantastic game that Capcom is handling all wrong


Where is arcade mode?

I was inspired by our own Darren Nakamura yesterday when he spoke to Battleborn‘s flaws and how Gearbox was doing nothing to fix them.

Over the past year I’ve really enjoyed playing a similarly flawed game,Street Fighter V. It’s a fantastic fighter that’s held back by some puzzling decisions from Capcom, including the choice to constantly introduce costume DLC instead of actually fixing the game.

At this point after knowing what we know about the project’s lower-than-anticipated sales, it can only be described as disappointing.

It could be argued that Capcom rushed the game out of the door with hardly any features to have it ready in time for its invitational tournament and EVO 2016. With a complete lack of a story (at the time) and arcade mode, I was fine just practicing and playing with friends as someone who has been playing fighters their entire life. But these days it’s just not enough for the general audience — they need a strong single player component to keep their interest going. What seemed like a good decision in catering to their hardcore audience went disastrously wrong.

Because really, that’s where Capcom failed the community as a whole. EVO 2016 went off without a hitch for them, showcasing one of the biggest pro turnouts in fighting game history. But Capcom put too much of their stock in the pros, and continued to release content themed around their needs. Shortly after EVO, and as late as a week ago, the publisher released pricey DLC that caters to the pro scene and puts money back into tournaments.

I mean, just look at the absurdity of this “2017 Capcom Pro Tour Pass” that’s currently being sold for $24.99. That’s the price of an expensive indie game, but it’s merely a costume and title pack. It’s important to note that it does fund the Capcom Pro Tour, and as someone who watches pro games, that’s a worthy cause to me personally. But it’s not doing anything to increase middling sales numbers or fuel future generations of Street Fighter players. Many folks will continue to play money matches locally or create private lobbies rather than play online in matchmaking.

I think part ofStreet Fighter V‘s problem is that it was in many ways doomed out of the gate. Not only were some modes cut to get it out for EVO, but the exclusivity deal with Sony, which may have paid off initially, ended up biting them. The lack of an Xbox One version limited their audience, and thus their chance to peddle more DLC for long-term support. The hubris was strong, and they thought the brand would be enough.

I don’t know what Capcom is thinking right now. At the moment it seems as if they’re partially abandoning Street Fighter Vand putting their full weight behind Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, which could easily repeat some of the same mistakes. Their original “one SKU” plan for Street Fighter Vis looking less likely, which is a shame given that it’s basically their flagship franchise. At this point profusely apologizing and releasing a discounted “Super” version after Season 2 is over with better online play and an arcade mode — on Xbox One (if they can get around the deal) — with all the DLC and costumes is probably the way to go. Or it can slowly fizzle while other fighters overtake it.

Given how good it is mechanically I hope that doesn’t happen, but I fully understand why people would be hesitant to play Street Fighter V. Or even a Street Fighter VI.