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Five significant ways Capcom got things wrong with Street Fighter 5

From input lag to rootkits, there have been some big bumps in the road

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • May 12, 2018 at 7:45 p.m. PDT • Comments: 287

A few days back we took at look at five of Capcom's biggest Street Fighter 5 successes, today we delve into the yin to that yang and examine five of the company's biggest SF5 failures.

The goal here isn't to simply throw dirt but instead to examine how far we've come, and perhaps to urge a little more action in avenues that could still use some polishing. Many of the issues listed below have been fixed either in part or in full, but it's good to recall the missteps of the past so as not to repeat them in future.

We've certainly seen more than just five hiccups during SF5's two year lifespan, and so I chose to divide things into a little bit broader of categories so as to sometimes encompass similar issues under singular banners.

Before we start I feel it's appropriate to note that Street Fighter 5 ultimately made it through its darkest days, which isn't a certainty even for a Capcom AAA fighting title. Also before we start I want to give a dishonorable mention to some of the game's visuals.

Ken's face and hair, Alex's "backwards" torso, Ibuki's awkward grin... these were some pretty distracting blunders that I didn't feel were the biggest of failures, (especially juxtaposing them with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's visual issues) but we still got memes out of them and they've been plaguing the game's reputation for quite some time.

Without further ado let's dive into the five ways Capcom really got things wrong with Street Fighter 5.

The First Beta

While a select few of the community had the privilege of playing Street Fighter 5 at select major events, for the majority the premier online beta was their very first chance at the newest franchise title.

Street Fighter 4's overall success and boom had the FGC on a high note, excited to ride the wave of hype into an all new experience. July 23rd, 2015 was a date marked on so many calendars, but would go down as the first major stumbling block for SF5 as the beta start up time came and went, and almost none were able to actually play.

Greeted by the infamous 21007 error message over and over again, this was the first experience many had with the game at home.

Expectations for beta tests should be low, as their primary purpose is more about finding and working out bugs than anything else, but first impressions are important and the first run was totally botched.

Launch

Probably a result of Capcom wanting to get their newest fighting title out in time for a 2016 Pro Tour, Street Fighter 5 felt like little more than half a game at launch.

Lack of single player content, unregulated rage quitting online, horribly long wait times for ranked play... the list of quality of life issues stretched to the moon and back. While competitive players would mostly stick around (many begrudgingly so) it seemed casual gamers did not.

Street Fighter 5's initial launch was one of the worst in modern fighting games, missed its sales target by about 600,000 units and required a lot of tidying up to bring the game back into any semblance of favor with the community.

Yoshinori Ono would later acknowledge and apologize (coinciding for the announcement of Arcade Edition) for the game's earliest chapters, but this was only after a full year and a half of a very rocky road.

Eight Frames

Was it intentional? Was it unintentional? Either way Street Fighter 5's having eight frames of input lag was a bad look.

Once the it became common knowledge that it took eight sixtieths of a second for a button press to register and manifest on screen, it became probably the most brought up topic of discussion for the first year of the game's life.

Just about every conversation had about Street Fighter 5 would eventually devolve into a discussion about how bad the eight frames of lag were, and how they made the game next to unplayable.

This was especially true amongst veteran players who were hoping to have a Street Fighter based around whiff punishing and quick reactions. What's worse, the input lag seemed to further magnify other parts of the game that people weren't all that happy with.

The game's priority system and massive damage output meant fishing for Crush Counters in the neutral was a pretty legitimate strategy, and trying (and failing) to react to slower buttons and forward dashes (like Nash's) left many players extremely salty.

The input lag was eventually reduced to around 6 frames, and while this didn't satisfy everyone the community did eventually move on and more or less accept that this would just be the way things were going to be.

Risk/Reward That Sapped Fun Away

While character balance is a factor here, this goes much deeper than "so and so is too strong." This deals more with odd moves and abilities that made the game downright not fun to play when they were used.

We'll get some of the more obvious ones out of the way quickly. Season 2's Urien, Balrog and Laura (aka "robbery characters") would easily steal away rounds once they got their V-Triggers. R. Mika's corner carry and set play in Season 1 led to a lot of frustration and salt.

While top tiers like Rashid and Abigail in Season 3 very much fit this bill because they were able to thoughtlessly toss out high reward/low risk moves and hope for the best, there have been lower tier characters that're also guilty of this.

Certain moves that were obviously designed to be punishable, but odd spacing and/or block stun would essentially make them safe and often lead to the successful defender being punished if they went to take the offense they earned.

Laura's standing medium kick was one of the biggest transgressors here until it was eventually nerfed in S3, and Birdie's EX rushes work fairly similarly.

While virtually all fighting games are bound to bring out salt in big ways, Street Fighter 5 often felt like it took players to the deepest and darkest of salt mines with a sense of injustice that made even the coolest heads want to regularly throw their controllers in rage.

I'm actually pretty happy with where the game is as of Season 3.5 as we're finding less instances of absolutely demoralizing losses than in Seasons past. The annoyance of things like robbery characters and ridiculous risk/reward has been greatly reduced.

Relationship with the Community

We've well established that the first twelve to eighteen months of Street Fighter 5 was turbulent, but it only made matters worse when Capcom failed to communicate with fans about what was going.

Players continually voiced concerns about the input lag, anti-air jabs, overpowered characters, underpowered characters, online issues, lack of room for self expression in game play, lack of single player content and other issues to very little acknowledgement from developers.

Not only were bad things happening, we rarely even knew if Capcom was working on them. Announcements were few and far between, and the community found itself frustrated and often in the dark about upcoming fixes, balance changes and DLC character releases.

We imagine this was likely again a result of a rushed launch and a year's worth of scrambling in Capcom offices in a frantic game of catch up, but the call to stay mostly silent throughout was probably not the best.

This only amplified further mistakes and made players ever so ready to be even angrier with the company. On top of all this the Street Fighter development company failed to notice a rootkit in a September 2016 update, putting PC users at great security risk.

Capcom was coming home late, almost never calling and its gifts were really bad.

Well that was a lot of finger pointing, but like I've alluded to throughout I do think SF5 is in a better place than it ever has been. Feel free to chime into the comments and let us know if you agree or not, and what you think on the current vs. past iterations of Street Fighter 5.

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