What does Capcom's 'doing things differently' approach mean for a potential reveal at Final Round this week?

Final Round has customarily been the first big stop on the Capcom Pro Tour, but will it deliver more than just hype matches this year?

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • March 12, 2019 at 7:20 p.m. PDT

This weekend, Final Round 2019 is taking place in Hapeville, Georgia, and as always it's going to be a massive event, especially for Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, since it's the first stop on this year's Capcom Pro Tour, and is a Premier Event to boot.

While the eSports side of the game has been doing well, with the Capcom Pro Tour 2019 having its full details unveiled and many big events are lined up for the year, the game itself has been stuck in a strange state of limbo due to a lack of communication.

Fans both here on EventHubs and elsewhere have been quite antsy ever since Capcom revealed Kage back at Capcom Cup 2018, and left us with the very unclear statement that this year, they'll be doing things differently.

This move back to complete radio silence as far as communication with the fans goes has been highly criticized since it came off the back Season 3 and the Arcade Edition launch, which many consider to be the high point of the game's life, and there was an overwhelmingly positive reception to Capcom unveiling all the characters at once, and their approach to drip-feeding information about them to us shortly before their individual releases.

Whatever your own opinion is, we can clearly see that Capcom weren't joking — three months of complete silence show that they are, indeed, doing things differently this year, but the question is what exactly that means.

With Final Round 2019 right around the corner, and with the expectation on everyone's mind being that we're getting something for Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition announced there, it seemed like prime time to take a look at what this new strategy could entail.

Trailer Reveal

The standard thing we've become accustomed to after long silences from Capcom, especially at big events like this, is a reveal trailer for the next upcoming character.

For the last season, we saw Sakura, Cody, Sagat and G all shown off at major events, while Blanka and Falke had trailers pop up basically out of nowhere when Capcom felt like it instead.

The difference this season is, we have absolutely no idea what, if anything, is coming our way in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition. Capcom have kept conspicuously quiet about everything, and fans have started going a bit crazy because of it.

I think everyone and their mom is expecting a character trailer at Final Round, at the very least, and although there's no real way of telling who this character trailer would be for, Capcom definitely have expectations set on them for showing us someone new to the game at Final Round 2019, even if they are doing things differently.

Season 4.5

We've seen the so-called ".5" patches occur in previous years after the initial balance changes, and while there's never been any guarantee that this will happen, it's entirely possible that we'll see it this year again.

If it does happen, there's no real way of telling whether it will be announced at Final Round or not, but customarily we've seen it happen fairly early in the season so as to not mess too much with the Capcom Pro Tour while it's ongoing.

However, a big difference compared to previous years is that Season 4 doesn't really have one big "problem character" that received immense buffs from the last season and everyone sees as overstrengthened and who receives clamoring for nerfs in unison.

In Season 2 it was Urien, in Season 3 it was Abigail, and while other characters of course received changes as well, the majority of complaints surrounded these supposedly overbuffed characters. This year, we don't really have any of that.

That's not to say the game is any better or worse balanced than previous years, simply that nobody got the giant buff that turned them into a monster in the eyes of the public this time around.

Whatever the case, expectations for a Season 4.5 seem fairly low at the moment. It's not a big topic of discussion this time around, and even last year when it was, we had to wait until NorCal Regionals for it to be announced.

Multiple Characters?

Here we arrive at the juice of the story — the potential that we could receive multiple characters at once at Final Round, or at least have multiple characters revealed. This is by no means a certainty, but if you look closely, there are a lot of things that point towards this being a very real possibility.

First of all, the obvious flag is that we've been told that Capcom are doing things differently this year. That in itself suggests that things aren't going to be the same way we're used to, which leads me to think a dual reveal is definitely in the cards for Final Round.

Outside of the statement itself, you needn't look further than rival company Bandai Namco and their success with this model. Last year, Dragon Ball FighterZ employed this for its entire first season of DLC within its release year, and by all accounts it did well for them. They kicked off this year with the same approach, so clearly they don't see it as a mistake.

Later on, their flagship fighting game title Tekken 7 employed the exact same tactic, and they even used a similar layout to Street Fighter's season reveals for their DLC. While Negan was revealed ahead of time to build hype as an unexpected guest character, we got characters revealed and released in pairs outside of him (though he was released in a pair as well, together with Julia).

Outside of this, though, we've also seen Capcom do this previously. Ibuki and Balrog were released together back in Season 1, though this seemed to be mostly as a consolation for Ibuki being delayed from her original stated release.

Of course, we also got the same treatment last year, when G and Sagat had a dual reveal at EVO 2018, and were then released shortly after at the same time as each other.

The G and Sagat release was praised through the roof, even though people already knew these characters were coming, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Capcom to want to recapture this hype, but this time with characters people have no idea are set to show up.

The obvious flag for why we might be getting more than one character is the long gap that G and Sagat's release left in the schedule, releasing roughly four months before Kage showed up, and now it's been more than 3 months since his release without any new characters, meaning that Capcom have had ample time to work on content.

Originally, these big gaps and lack of communication led me to believe that we'll be getting a smaller season this time around, and while I still think that's a distinct possibility, we received word about a potential data mine a few days ago, which suggests we're getting the same 6 character setup as we've gotten used to, this season as well.

Another thing to consider is that the arcade version of Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition is being released in Japan this very week, and last time a Street Fighter game got an arcade edition, two characters followed with it right when it came out.

This time around, the arcade version is based on the PC version, meaning that it's much easier to patch, so the characters don't have to be in the arcade version and spoil the surprise, but could easily be revealed to coincide with it and be added alongside the home console version release of new characters.

In short, what we have to work with here are abnormally long absences from Capcom compared to what we're used to, a statement that things are being done differently this year, a perfectly timed long-awaited arcade release of the game and a datamine that suggests we're getting at least as many characters this season as we have in previous seasons.

This sounds to me like a perfect time for a dual reveal and release, especially after the backlash after Capcom Cup's Kage reveal where people were definitely expecting more, having grown accustomed to proper season reveals and teasers from previous years.

As for who the characters could be if they were added, well, sky's the limit. We've seen a healthy mix of old favorites and brand new combatants in Street Fighter 5 so far, and we've also seen several popular characters such as C. Viper, Rose and Oro show up multiple times in story modes ever since the game's 2016 release, yet still not been added.

Clearly, Capcom are in the interest of keeping fans on their toes, with very few DLC choices being all too obvious — of course, Akuma, Sakura, Sagat and Cody felt like obvious inclusions to everyone I'm sure, but most people would've bet on them in Season 1, which didn't happen, instead opting to release them much later in the game.

Speculation on what we could see coming up has already been done in spades, and we've had pieces from myself talking about Sodom's interesting appearance on the latest new stage, as well as the EventHubs team trying to decipher Ono tweets that were believed to be hinting at E. Honda.

I'm personally inclined to believe that these two characters could be part of a dual reveal, especially with the focus on the arcade version being released in Japan right around the same time. E. Honda is a Japanese fighter who fights with the highly Japanese art of Sumo, while Sodom is an absolute Japanophile who dresses himself up in Samurai garb and even wears the kanji for "Death" on his chest.

Whatever the case may be, Final Round is happening this weekend, and it's kicking off the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour. If we're getting a reveal there, we might see Capcom shift up their social media profile pictures like they did last year for new characters... Or we might not, since forgoing that might be part of "doing things differently".

What do you think we'll see at Final Round 2019, if anything at all? What are your hopes for the Season Pass-less Season 4 of Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition? Let us know in the comments.

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