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Was Street Fighter 4's Omega Mode a test bed for Street Fighter 5? Combofiend answers this speculation, and talks purpose behind recent SF5 changes

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • December 10, 2015 at 3:27 p.m. PST • Comments: 72

In the winter of 2014, not long before we first caught wind of Street Fighter 5, Ultra Street Fighter 4 developers surprised us with Omega Mode.

Seemingly just for fun, Omega granted the entire cast a collection of super powered moves. Ken received a brand new fireball, Zangief could combo into his command grabs and Ryu gained a Third Strike-esque parry.

Omega excitement was perhaps a bit short lived as evidence of Street Fighter 5 soon surfaced, stealing much of the spotlight. As the community ate up any and all new SF5 info, some observant players began noticing parallels between SF4's Omega Mode and SF5.

At the PlayStation Experience, we were able to catch up with Street Fighter 5's Associate Producer, Peter "Combofiend" Rosas, and ask him about any connections between the two games. Many have speculated that Omega Mode was a test bed for SF5, and now we get an answer from inside Capcom.

Hit the jump to see Combofiend’s answer.
Omega Mode

In our interview with Combofiend, we asked directly, "To what extent was Omega Mode a test bed for Street Fighter 5?"

"It wasn't really a test bed, it was more proof of concept. We have a team in Japan who really wanted to get into the Street Fighter 4 guts and make their own thing. That was kind of proof that they could do it,” explained Rosas.

“There were some ideas that were imported over early on just to see how they would fair in the SF5 world, because we're trying to make the game as different from SF4 as possible. There was Zangief's hit grab, also Ryu's parry from the Omega edition. Ultimately, we want SF5 to be its own game."

This departure from SF4 seems to be a major theme in a lot of the decisions the dev team has made. You'll see why in the next section.
No More Lights into Mediums

Trying to gain the best understanding of Street Fighter 5 possible, we've been paying close attention to global changes. One of the more enticing of these was the removal of light into medium attack combos.

We wondered why the team at Capcom chose to do away with this aspect of the game, and Combofiend had a very direct answer.

"We wanted to make the game feel different than Street Fighter 4,” Rosas told us. “We noticed that basically all players do is press lights, because they're fishing into mediums. That makes the game a bit slower, and combos start off extremely scaled.

“We wanted the game to be more pressure-intense, and for players to really understand the buttons of their character, not just press jab or short."

Taken from this point of view, we imagine most players are on board for this change. Even those who have done well utilizing the SF4 system will often admit to it being somewhat cheap.

This is yet another way players will have to earn their wins in the next Street Fighter, and hopefully feel more of a satisfaction when they do so.
Nerfed Back Dashes

Recently, back dashes lost their invincibility in Street Fighter 5, and hitting a back dashing opponent grants a counter hit. Why such a drastic change, especially when back dashing was so strong in the previous game?

"When you back dash right now, it's throw invincible, so it's how you get out of throws. In SF4, back dashes served a specific purpose in that they were a way to avoid a level three Focus Attack. In SF5, you back dash to avoid throws," said Rosas.

Back dashing will likely become more prominent in SF5, as it's even more so part of the rock, paper, scissors game of block, tech or avoid. The developers seem to want to make sure that no one option shines above the others. Bottom line: if you’re outsmarted by your foe, it's going to hurt.

It appears as though the SF5 team is succeeding in their quest to build a game that favors reads over autopilot set ups and situations. What do you think of the direction of SF5?

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