Street Fighter V: Postmortem

Posted by Frosthaven |

You know that feeling you get when you order a bacon cheeseburger at a fast food joint, and what you unwrap in the car looks nothing like the ad? That is the same situation that many players found themselves in with the release of Street Fighter V (SFV) earlier this month.

Throughout SFV's development, Capcom has gone the direction of making the game more accessible to a wider audience. They've made it a point to target the casual gamers with their design philosophy, and openly announced their hopes of pulling more people into the fighting game scene. Awesome!

So what went wrong?

Across Reddit, Twitter, and the Steam forums, the battle of opinions rages on with the handling of V's release. For many people, the full counter price of the game was paid and only a fraction of the game was provided. Between a placeholder story mode, no arcade mode, primitive lobbies, and limited controller options, it's easy to see where all of the anguish comes from.

If you've followed social media throughout the development phase of the game, you'd know exactly what to expect from the launch day release. The problem here is that the people they openly wanted to bring in - the casual crowd, don't check those media outlets every 5 minutes. Most of those players picked up the game rightfully expecting a finished product given the full retail pricing. Man were they let down.

In this situation I feel like it wasn't so much the lack of day one content, or even the full-game price tag (though they do carry with them a lot of questionable practices in AAA game publishing). If I could choose one thing that could have prevented all of the backlash, it'd be presentation. Throw an early-access tag on the game and print it on the boxes. It isn't enough to just build something for people to play with for awhile these days - you have to set the right expectations. It's a tricky situation they've gotten themselves into, of course. With the Capcom Cup coming up soon, could they get away with an early access tag and still be taken seriously competitively?

It ain't all bad

Capcom had a rough launch nightmarish launch. The game lacks what many consider to be core features of a fighting game - especially for Street Fighter. The good news is that it isn't all bad.

Over the past few weeks I've seen the servers go from unusable to incredibly solid on PC. The in-house developed netcode has been absolutely top notch even when handling PC & PS4 cross-platform play matches (aside from a few Wi-Fi heroes - but not even godly netcode can fix that). The core gameplay itself is amazingly solid, and Capcom has been responding to feedback and feature requests. Better controller and input configuration is coming Soon™. Many of the missing features will be filled in between March and June. If they are to be believed, we won't see any more Arcade Tournament Hyper Turbo editions flying out demanding new investments. Instead, they will be iterating on the base SFV game by adding new characters and patches as time goes on.

In closing

With so much to look forward to, it's a great time to be a fan of Street Fighter. I just hope that the failure to meet initial expectations doesn't counter this combo of a game before it has a chance to wake up.

What do you think? Do you feel Capcom could have done something better? How were your expectations met or missed on this launch? Let me know in the comments below!