Seth: Gen's wall dive is better, other Super Street Fighter 4 notes

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • March 15, 2010 at 1:26 p.m. PDT
Seth: Gen's wall dive is better, other Super Street Fighter 4 notes Many players were upset over early reports that Gen didn't receive enough improvements in Super Street Fighter 4 to make him a better overall character.

While it appears his Standing Medium Kick into Rapid Slap combo has been removed, Capcom's Seth Killian recently visited the Unity Boards to explain some of the new things he got. He also chimed in on Guile's second Ultra, the Sonic Hurricane, and touched on general character balance.

Here's the low down.

In this list of Super Street Fighter 4 changes, Gen only saw nerfs, what gives?

Seth Killian: He has a few new bits but probably the best of them is the much faster wall-dives. They were essentially useless in Street Fighter 4 (apart from EX as escape), but now they are legit — in my opinion they're better than Adon's, and every time they hit, it's a free Ultra.

At any rate, the post you are quoting from SRK was written by MrWizard. I was there when he played Gen — hell I was the one who invited him to play. That said, it was not exactly a scientific in-depth anything (nor did Wizard suggest it was). More like they played around with the characters in training mode for a while and jotted down some impressions. Wizard would tell you exactly the same thing, but given the level of anticipation around this game, even casual comments cause (in approximately 100% of cases) widespread overreaction.

They'll be plenty of time to yell about how your favorite didn't get the same stuff as somebody else's favorite after you've actually played the game, so please just bear with us and let's all play and experiment together before we decide what's broken, unfair, etc. ok? Seem fair?

I love discussing specifics but a big part of the fun with any new Street Fighter game is exploring and learning things for yourself. When MrWizard was up here last week to play the final build, he was asking me a ton of questions about specifics, even while he was playing at the same time. I gave MrWizard exactly what I give you guys — some basic info that leads in a direction or explains some of the thinking, but I don't tell him frame data, or the exact properties of a new move, etc., because discovering things for yourself is, in my opinion, one of the best parts about these games.

In addition to discovering on your own being fun, it also leads to debate, experimentation, and people coming up with new and interesting approaches to the game. If you start getting into too many specifics too far in advance, people start making up their minds about what's good/not good before they've even touched the game, which I hope you'll agree is silly. It's almost like people think like:

"THE ULTIMATE RANKINGS CHART IS HERE: Do not bother playing the game, or even trying the following fighters, because according to the Rank-O-Tron 3000 we plug into all our games at Capcom, your favorite character sucks."

You can say this isn't a "straight answer" but just asking a question doesn't mean anybody is obligated to answer it with all the specifics you've requested. I answer the questions I can, to the degree I can. I know that's not always enough for everyone, so I'm sorry, but try and keep things in perspective. There's a LOT of good Super Street Fighter 4 info out there already, but I'm not going to spoil the fun of discovering Super Street Fighter 4 on your own, the same way I wouldn't tell you who kills Dumbledore even if you asked.

I work very hard to get the game out in front of groups of people and smart players, and they can give you their impressions. It's not my job to dissect every mystery of the game, or tell people what the rankings are supposed to be before the game is even out. That's TBD once everybody has really had a chance to play!

What, in your opinion, will make Guile players prefer the Sonic Hurricane over the Flash Explosion (Ultra 1)? What other changes did he get?

Seth Killian: You can still combo a Sonic Hurricane after a Super, but it's not a big deal and it's difficult for Guile players to save up a full super bar anyway. Overall I'd say the Sonic Hurricane is just more versatile, and it helps him with counters from mid-close range where he can struggle most with people poking at him. Currently his best option is probably just [to] Flash Kick, focus-canceled to be safe, which is expensive. Flash Explosion isn't fast enough nor does it have enough horizontal range to counter people like the Sonic Hurricane.

It's not the most dramatic new Ultra in Super Street Fighter 4, but it helps him from the range where he needs it most. The "footsies boost" (hitbox adjustments) also helps him in that same range. He's obviously strong from across the screen, so all of the changes overall are designed to give him more juice at one of his weaker ranges.

Since the producer of SSF4 specifically said that an imbalance in inherent character abilities is a desirable state of affairs (i.e. rather than characters having different strengths and weaknesses, some are just plain strong and others are just plain weak) it gives us reason to think that that's what the game will be like.

Seth Killian: [...] I'm not sure what you're quoting, but I've never heard anyone at Capcom say that, or more importantly, make some development decision based on that idea. The idea you seem to be near is the acceptance that having truly different styles of characters means some will be better and worse in different situations. This leads to some degree of character imbalance, which is what makes particular Street Fighter matches so interesting. Why do people feel the need to intentionally misrepresent what's going on with balance? Once again, Street Fighter 4 was not only one of the best-balanced games of the current fighting crop, it's actually one of (if not *the*) most balanced game in Street Fighter history. The vast majority of matches in the game are 6-4 imbalances, which just isn't insurmountable — the better player wins those.

For instance, I was cruising around Game Developers Conference with two guys from the "God of War" team that are also great Street Fighter players. We passed by an Nvidia booth running Street Fighter 4 on PC. Of course there was a crowd, with one local tough guy blowing everyone away and talking trash. One of the God of War guys decided to take him out in the 15 minutes before the next panel. He picked Zangief and squished the bully's Ryu, so the bully (who didn't even offer to let anyone else play when he lost), said "you're not going to like THIS choice" and switched to Sagat — a very tough match up for Zangief. Of course the God of War guy absolutely smashed the bully again.

What's the point here? The bully was a pretty decent Street Fighter 4 player, and obviously knew enough to know that — according to the rankings chart — he couldn't lose. Unfortunately that's not how it works: Rankings charts give you a 5-5, 6-4, etc. rating *for a 10-game set between two skilled players of equal strength*. That's a situation that virtually never actually happens — it's mostly an abstraction — but I constantly see people refer to the rankings chart as an excuse for why they lost, or some sort of iron-clad predictor of the future. Of course balance matters, and Capcom is committed to it (our results have been good so far), but match to match, it's your skills that pay the bills, not the numbers on a chart.

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