Updated: Super Street Fighter 4 change notes for six cast members

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • March 30, 2010 at 1:14 a.m. PDT
Updated: Super Street Fighter 4 change notes for six cast members The latest Japanese Super Street Fighter 4 development blog was posted. In this entry the team talks about the rebalancing process for Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, E. Honda, Blanka and Zangief as well as some general stuff that affects everyone.

A full translation was written up by Azrael, but since this is a long post, here's a synopsis of what's in the update followed by the entire posting.

• Characters don't die as easily in Super Street Fighter 4 as they did in vanilla SF4. This is because of reduced attack power in most cases.

• Developers felt some aspects of Ryu were too strong in SF4. Now it's more difficult for him to get extra damage if he trades with a Shoryuken.

• Ryu can no longer execute his Super if a previously thrown Fireball is on screen.

• The team used Ryu as the centerpiece for character balance adjustments.

• Ken's Thunder Kick (Toward + Hard Kick) is improved.

• Ken's Light Punch Shoryuken had it's frame data properties improved, and his Dragon Punch, in general, is easier to combo with.

• Chun-Li's Far Standing Medium Punch is even better.

• Chun-Li's Rear Spin Kick (Down-Towards + Light Kick) has an improved hit box, and when used as an anti air you can juggle your enemy after the fact.

• The developers felt E. Honda had too much trouble dealing with projectile characters, so they specifically tried to improve him in that area.

• E. Honda's Headbutt will now travel over Sagat's Low Tiger Shot. Other sources stated Honda's Light Punch and EX-Headbutts have more frames of invulnerability too.

• The distance on Blanka's Horizontal Beast Rolls have all been adjusted. Light Punch goes a shorter distance and Medium and Hard Punch have both been tweaked so they're better at faking out your opponent.

• Blanka's recovery time on his Surprise Forward (Towards Hop) has been reduced.

• Zangief's Lariat will whiff against crouching opponents from the 2nd hit on, this will make him easier to sweep.

• Gief's Banishing Flat (Green Glove) was also reduced in power. The developers felt like he was too much of a heavy hitter and not enough of a grappler, so they left his throws alone but tuned down some of his attacks.

• Zangief's jump was tweaked because it was a little too good in Street Fighter 4, but you can still Short Jump.

• Every character in Super Street Fighter 4 was tweaked in some way.

• Next week's entry will focus on Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison.

Here is the full developer entry with images.

Ms. Shiozawa posted a super-sized blog last week, didn't she!

Hello everyone, this is Tsukamoto.

Here at the developers blog we've also gotten plenty of questions regarding adjustments, so from today's installment, we're going to be talking about adjustments for a little while - together with the battle planner, we'll talk about what kinds of changes we've made.

When adjusting the old characters, what kinds of areas are most important?

When we released Street Fighter 4, at that time we thought we'd put out our best effort. However, after it went on sale, players found ways to use moves and techniques that we'd never thought of, which gave the game a new way to be played, and that transformed the core of Street Fighter 4. So what we focused on this time around was that transformation. So centering around that, we have been reconstructing the moves and their functionality while thinking about character balance and fun levels. When we thought about what the fans wanted in Super Street Fighter 4, it wasn't just stuff like "new characters" or "make my character stronger," but things like, "please fix this thing," and "I'd like to be able to do more of this," - this is what the plenty of people who have played Street Fighter 4 wanted, so we felt it was important to get as much of that as possible in the game.

What was the most difficult point this time around?

Just picking one is quite difficult... but if I have to choose, I'll say increasing the number of times you have to read your opponent.

Number of times you read your opponent?

Originally in Street Fighter 4, we planned for all characters to read their opponents about 2 times.

What you're getting at is - if you read your opponent's movements and skillfully attack them twice, then you're most likely going to win?

Yes. We decided on 2 times because we felt that that was the best feel considering how long you would have to keep up your concentration. For players who aren't used to it, reading their opponent is very difficult, so if you have to do that multiple times a round then it just adds to their stress and the happy feeling of, "I read my opponent and won!" gets diminished.

The most important part of a game is that people find it fun. As we had to expand the fanbase and make it easy for newcomers to the competitive fighting game scene, balancing that area was difficult.

So, going along with the transformation of Street Fighter 4, players general skill level has also increased, so there are many more people who can enjoy reading their opponents. That's why we've adjusted the game to allow for more reading of the opponent per round. I think, in general, that has been the biggest adjustment.

Does that mean that the characters don't die so easily now?

They don't die so easily, or perhaps attack power is slightly down in general. So with the increase of reading your opponent, for not just advanced players, but beginners as well can afford to make a miss but be able to mount a comeback. So in that way I feel that the play has become a little easier than in the first title.

Let's move on to the individual adjustments. Please tell us about Ryu.

We spoke about this in a previous blog, but we felt that as he was in the previous title, he had some areas that were too strong, so we're working on that. But we don't want all the work that players put in the previous title to go to waste.

Generally, what type of adjustments were made?

First off, let's look at the Shoryuken. If I start with the easiest to understand - in the previous title, if Ryu did Shoryuken to an opponent, they'd take damage and go flying, but sometimes Ryu would also take damage on the ground - a trade hit. But he would recover from the trade hit faster than the flying opponent, and he'd be able to do a follow up move for additional damage. This time, Ryu also takes airborne damage*, so its more difficult for him to follow up with an attack.
(*This is a direct translation, but I think he just means that hit stun is longer?)

For many players in Street Fighter 4, they felt unhappy that even though they traded with the Shoryuken, this gave Ryu an advantage. So then players would feel that the victory was decided by Ryu being a good character, and that took away from the work that the Ryu player put into using him. We wanted to do something about that.

Also, another fairly big thing was that while Ryu had one Fireball on the screen, he could Cancel into his Super Fireball. So when Ryu had full super, he could just throw fireballs. If the Fireball hit or the opponent jumped to avoid it, or even if they canceled with a fireball of their own, Ryu could follow up with the Super Fireball, and it was pretty much guaranteed. So we've made it so that this "Ryu super combo bonus game" is not possible in Super Street Fighter 4. I believe this will relieve some of the stress people had in fighting Ryu.

Does this mean that Ryu was gotten weaker?

Under the same conditions, just looking at it from one side, since we have taken away some advantages then you can say that Ryu has gotten weaker in some areas. But, as usual, we are using Ryu as the centerpiece of the character balance adjustments, so if you look at the game as a whole, his position hasn't changed.

What point would you recommend about his new ultra, Metsu Shoryuken?

First, the production is pretty cool. It's just a nice, refreshing feeling when you hit it. Of course, Metsu Shoryuken is a technique that requires a high level of skill to pull off. It's good for showing that you are a top-class Ryu player. So I'd like for advanced players to definitely use Metsu Shoryuken. Since its difficult to hit, it takes off a lot of damage - so I recommend it for players who want to use a powerful Ryu.

Now tell us about the adjustments for Ken.

If we compare Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter 4, what stands out the most is that I feel Ken has a lot of potential, and can do a lot of tricky/sneaky moves, such as the kara throw and other techniques. So we wanted to keep that aspect of Ken in place while making our general adjustments. Also, Ken has a lot of kick moves for rush down, so we've made his heel kick stronger. Using this move, following into other stuff is more fun. We also adjusted Ken's Shoryuken. Since a while ago, Ryu's staple has been the Fireball, and Ken the Shoryuken. But in the previous title, Ryu's Shoryuken was fairly safe and strong, so people often said to us that Ken wasn't the Shoryuken character he was supposed to be in IV. So this time, we've reduced the interval on the Light Punch version, making it easier to use. Now its easier to do combos with Shoryuken as the main, and its a very versatile move.

What point would you recommend about his new ultra, Guren Senpyuu Kyaku?

Guren Senpyuu Kyaku is great at a range where your opponent's attacks are just out of reach, in order to control ground space. It's got great rush power, and is also good for chip damage. So I recommend it for the big finish.

Now tell us about the adjustments for Chun-Li.

This time, we're working on Chun-Li's offense. The concept for Chun this time around was clear and precise footsies using normal moves. So we've done a full-scale review of her normals. For example, her Far Standing Medium Punch - in Street Fighter 4 its strong it its own right, but we've made it even better.

We've also improved her Flip Kick (Down-Towards + Light Kick). In Street Fighter 4 sometimes it was hard to hit opponents with this, so we made it a bit easier to use.

If you hit an airborne opponent with this, you get counter hit status and damage, so as anti-air you can follow up with something else.

Her new ultra, Kikousho, is a move a lot of people wanted to have back.

Yes. In IV Chun is a charge character, and for charge moves you have to calculate when you want to use them or else you don't get them to come out. So they're a little difficult in that way. But this time, her Kikousho is not a charge move, so compared to other moves the timing for using it is a lot easier, I think. It's a good all-purpose, easily-comboable move. The trade off is that it doesn't do much damage. So for those who want to land one big heavy blow, they can stick with Housenka, but for those who want a stable tool to help improve their footsies they can choose Kikousho, and this widens out her playstyle.

Tell us about E.Honda's adjustments.

We've improved the functionality on his biggest lifeline, the Headbutt. As his normals do plenty of damage, Honda wasn't exactly a weak character, but the feeling was that he had trouble dealing with fireball characters, so we've tried to improve that area.

Generally speaking, in IV the Headbutt didn't go over Sagat's Low Tiger Shots, but now they do. And for his Ultra, he gets a combination of his Oicho, called the Shin Orochi Kudaki*. It's a throw with a lot of power, so when he gets in close his options will increase.
(*I may be totally wrong about the name.)

When using Honda before, perhaps he didn't have a good move for finishing the opponent off, but with his new ultra now he does. For those who like to press forward, this will make the fight easier.

It's not a charge move, so its like giving him a new special move he can use in a moment's notice that has a bunch of power behind it. I think this is the biggest point for him.

Tell us about the adjustments for Blanka.

The centerpiece of Blanka's adjustments would have to be his new ultra, Shout of Earth. His original ultra, Lightning Canon Ball, was good for chip damage as well as charging forward, so it was plenty useful. But Shout of Earth can work as both ground-to-ground and anti air. So you get two for the price of one. Blanka is a character who worries about what to do when he is out of attack range, but this move helps with that. If you get to a distance where both characters are out of attack range and you use it unexpectedly, I think it will be quite useful.

Outside of his ultra, we've also reduced the recover on surprise forward. So now it's good for surprise attacks, closing the distance from mid-range and going for a throw, or using a normal for a counter hit.

Also, we've shortened the distance for the Light Punch Blanka Ball. The distances for Medium and Hard Punch have also been adjusted, so you can better use them to fake out opponents.

Finally, tell us about the adjustments for Zangief.

I believe that Zangief was recognized as one of the stronger characters in the last game, and we developers also felt the same. He was especially strong on wakeup pressure. One of his best tools for that was the Lariat. We spoke about this on a previous blog, but we have nerfed the Lariat a little bit. Generally speaking, we made it so that from the second hit, if the opponent is crouch blocking it will whiff. So its no longer the get out of jail free card up close that it used to be.

Also, in IV since the Banishing Flat (Green Glove) was fairly functional, he felt more like a heavy-hitting character than a grappler. So we've kept the power of his throws but tuned down his attacks, so this is more like the real Zangief. I feel like the Gief everyone wanted is finally here.

Also, in IV, Gief's jumps were good enough for him to be called "Flying Zangief", so we've looked at the functionality there. But, everything else you can still use as-is, and for many of you using his Short Jump, etc, we haven't changed that at all. Gief's basic concept is a strong ground-based fighter, so I believe we've gotten closer to that image now.

It sounds like his opportunities to win against characters has decreased.

Yes. I feel that Gief is a lot closer to his original image now, but in general if you look at it a certain way, he's the character we had to adjust to hold back the most. But that's not to say that he's weaker - his new ultra, the Siberian Blizzard is pretty interesting. Its an air-to-air throw that won't grab grounded opponents, but if you input the command skillfully in the air, you can counter jumpers of course, air-bound moves like the Shoryuken, or even use it against people trying to run away. Like an elevated Hurricane Kick. So like in IV when Ryu would run away from Gief with an air Hurricane, if you use this move well you can snatch him out of the air with ultra. A 720 motion in the air is hard, but if you get it down it has a nice wide range of uses.

Well then, do you have any comments for the players looking forward to Super Street Fighter 4?

In Super Street Fighter 4, there's no character we haven't tweaked. Or, no character who plays as-is from Street Fighter 4. We're also adjusting the game as a whole to be more complete, so for those players who felt their limits online, its like a new development. For the people who used the characters who were simply considered to be too strong, we simply adjusted the parts that were a little too cheap, so now you can showcase your own skills as a player as well as your love of the character. At any rate, we're working hard so that the skills you developed in IV do not go to waste.

If you are thinking you're going to stop playing IV because Super Street Fighter 4 is coming out, that's a waste. Please keep playing IV until SSF4 comes out to keep your skills polished.

The characters we talked about today were born from the Street Fighter 2 series. They have a long history with many different players, who all have different images of them, so these characters are the most difficult. Even in the last game we gave it our all in adjusting them, but in Super Street Fighter 4 if you felt that they were off from their previous image, we've taken various opinions into account and done what we could. For those areas, we've included things that the players felt, agreed with, and even didn't agree with, and if you can enjoy playing with them then that would be great.

Well everyone, did you enjoy today's entry?

In this manner, from this week on we'll be talking about adjustments! Next week we'll hit Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and Bison. I think that's a bunch of characters you're all concerned about, so please look forward to it!

See you next week!

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