'We used [Ryu] as the standard' – Combofiend discusses the development process, character design, and more for Street Fighter 5

Posted by Ryan 'Tryken' Tullis • July 18, 2015 at 4:54 p.m. PDT

Peter "Combofiend" Rosas, Capcom's Community Manager, stepped up to divulge a slew of Street Fighter 5 information at Capcom's EVO panel.

While most news has been focused on the reveal of the initial 16 character roster and the future of the title, Rosas gave a fairly incredible talk on Street Fighter 5's development process and core concepts.

It should come as no surprise that Street Fighter looks to both expand the scene while keeping its core intact for veterans. Rosas stated, "The overall for Street Fighter 5's development is to make it more intuitive to newcomers, but still pay homage to hardcore fans."

Some fans may find the execution barrier to be part of the game's charm, but the problem, according to Rosas, was that Street Fighter 4 was extremely complicated and difficult for new players to learn. This is something many players can relate to. Attempting to explain the many uses of focus attacks to the uninitiated is a good way to get their eyes to glaze over.

But there was more to Street Fighter 4's barrier than just the focus attack.
1-frame links will not be making a comeback. Combos will still be there, performed at a similar timing to Street Fighter 4, but "it's not about 1-frame links. We want to make sure that, if you actually practice, you'll reap the rewards of your practice, and we want to make sure the game is very straight forward."

Street Fighter 5 being "straight forward" may initially give the impression that it's about dumbing the game down, but that isn't the case. For example, in Street Fighter 4, an opponent could throw out an unsafe special with the ability to FADC it to make it safe or safer. Some players see this as being outside the spirit of the game. For Street Fighter 5, Rosas has emphasized that if you commit to something and it's the wrong read, you'll be punished for it.

Even more than that, the implementation of the variable system and a lower execution hurdle will give new players easier entry into the game. Street Fighter 5's montra now seems to be: "Easy to play, difficult to master."

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Capcom has taken a lot from their time with Street Fighter 4 in fact. Rosas answered, "What we learned was how to properly balance characters. By that, you know, we see that currently in tournaments, there's a large diversity. The approach there," he continued, "is not to really nerf characters who are really good, but rather buff characters who are weak. That way it's always about people, who may not have had the tools to win, but will be getting it so that they can play their character."

Furthermore, Capcom "realized that having an open line of communication with [our community] is really the way to go," Rosas said. "With the [SF5] beta coming out, I know some people will instantly give me feedback about everything . . . I think it's going to help us out a lot."

The focus on the characters has been taken to an incredible level. The battle system was created so it would shine a spotlight on the character's personality. Rosas used Bison as an example. "Bison we were looking at him, and we thought 'This should be the ultimate Bison--the most psycho Bison of them all."

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This sounds good, but how does a team go about actually doing it? "In terms of how he functions normally, you can't really change that, or else he'd be a totally different character. . . What we saw there was an opportunity in his V-trigger to make him that much more twisted, that much more awesome," Combofiend explained.

With all the characters' playstyles getting the personality treatment, Capcom had to find a center. Rosas continued, "Ryu is the character that everybody knows. We used him as the standard. We looked at speed versus power. . . We looked at character depth. [For example], if they're simple, then they're not really combo intensive. We have a grid here with Ryu in the middle. That helped us decide off of things like start up frame data, throw ranges, movement speed, jump frames, dash values, etc. It's all based off of Ryu. We used Ryu as the starting point. He's the center."

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Much like previous Street Fighter games, Rosas continued, "he's a character anyone can pick up and play: easy to use, hard to master. If you're ever trying to learn Street Fighter, and you want to know what it's really about, Ryu is really the character you should pick up first."

From there, the other characters seem to fall into place. Chun-Li excels at mid range and countering her opponents attacks. While, according to the grid, Chun-Li sits high in the speed end (and far from the side with power), the damage boost she gains from her V-Trigger makes up for her damage's shortcomings.

Even Birdie has been overhauled with completely new moves and abilities to not just a grappler character, but one with great pokes.

Nash represents the technical end of the spectrum for players looking to flex their ability. Redesigned to be extremely offensive, his abundance of target combos and unique V-Trigger guarantee damage and strategy

Similarly, Ken's been reworked as the more technical and aggressive version of Ryu. According to the slides shown at the panel, "Even when blocked, Ken can apply pressure, so rush to your heart's content!" Cammy retains her marked aggression, with her V-Trigger offering up big damage opportunities, but also remains footsie oriented, not unlike her Street Fighter 4 version.

As an added bonus, Capcom gave us a look at some of the early character designs for Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and Bison. We also get to see a slide that shows the blueprints of Birdie and Nash's Critical Art in Street Fighter 5, along with a couple of notes describing the overall goal for each.

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Photo source for Combofiend: Final Round 17 by Chris Bahn. You can find more even more of his excellent photography here.
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