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What would it take to put the wind in Street Fighter 5's sails?

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 11, 2017 at 6:52 p.m. PDT • Comments: 226

Street Fighter 5 isn't dead. It's not on life support, nor does it feel as though it'll be on its way out anytime soon. I want to make a stark delineation between the idea that people are abandoning SF5 (they're not) and the idea that people are just damn disheartened with it too often.

I recently jumped back on the traveling tournament circuit, making it out to CEO in Orlando just last month. If you've ever been to a major tournament before, (CEO is virtually always the second largest yearly event of its kind next to EVO) then you know that the games don't stop when the streams go offline.

Players retire to rooms, either making plans to continue to game and play money matches (for Bison Bucks only, of course) with their friends, get lucky and make it into the more prestigious Salty Suite(s) or meander the hallways listening for button clicks and knocking on the appropriate doors.

As far as Street Fighter 5 was concerned, it felt like this was no longer the case. Yes casuals were played, and I'm sure there were a few Bison Bucks exchanged, but the action was nowhere near that of the Street Fighter 4 tournaments I was used to.

Speaking with my good SoCal friends Brenttiscool and BJ Unchained, they explained to me that, well, no one really wants to money match in SF5. A lot of players are just there to participate in the tournament, but then spend their free time catching up, having drinks, going out to eat or play other fighting titles.

It wasn't only California friends that felt this either. I spoke with players from the Midwest and the East Coast that shared the same sentiment: I'll go to these tournaments and I'll play this game because I'm a Street Fighter player, but there are more fun things to do than keep playing after I'm out of the tourney.

If it were a ship, Street Fighter 5 would be a sturdy vessel that's slowly but surely moving forward, powered by decently entertaining gameplay, the Street Fighter name/legacy and a newfound sense of attention as the torchbearer for fighting game eSports. The problem is the sails just aren't out, and it really doesn't feel like it's moving forward at the pace it potentially could be.

Lifting a finger to the winds, it seems the community is, in a word, demoralized. They're not ready to abandon ship, they're in it for the long haul, but they're on board more because they know the potential, and are waiting to feel it.

I'm not going to rifle off all the complaints we've seen over the last 17 months. I know the skies over this article are already pretty cloudy, and my purpose isn't to try to beat this game down. I don't think the community wants to do that either, I think the majority of players want to see the sails come out and for Street Fighter 5 to succeed. So what needs to happen for that to be realized?

Let's start with EVO, which is coming in less than a week's time. What kind of announcement would it take for you to feel a new sense of hype for SF5? Input lag was one of the most commonly discussed topics of Season 1, would a further reduction to just four frames inspire you to play more?

"The community is not ready to abandon ship, they're in it for the long haul, but they're on board more because they know the potential, and are waiting to feel it"

What about if we found out that we're not only getting the last three new DLC characters, but also the highly desired Sagat and/or Sakura before the end of the year?

Maybe your area of concern is more in the efficiency of online play, or the general user experience. Perhaps all you want is a player two rematch button after a Versus match.

Yes, these have all been brought up multiple times by the Street Fighter FGC, and perhaps tweaks to all of them would be best, but I'm not looking for general "all of the above" responses. I'm looking for the number one item on your personal SF5 wish list.

If you could choose just one thing to change, what would it be? What would make you want to play more? The answer could be that you're absolutely fine with the game the way it is right now. For me, I'm at a place where I've actually come to accept most everything about it, though I still wouldn't mind a balancing of risk/reward for characters like Laura and Balrog.

My hope is that we get SF5's sails out, ready to carry the game to the new heights that we all know are readily feasible. I want to want to use this as a platform for more constructive voices to reach Capcom, not a Street Fighter 5 hate fest.

I conclude with this question directly to you as an individual: what would it take to bring the hype?

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