Fighting Games Friday — The Arcade Edition of Street Fighter V

Rumors about an updated release of Street Fighter V have circulated for at least a few months, and each one had a tinge of legitimacy to it. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when Capcom confirmed Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, because it’s everything it was expected to be, and a routine release for a title with free-to-play elements.

This edition will include every character from the first two seasons, along with balance upgrades that came with several updates that made owners download massive gigs of patches. But it will also have new modes and features. The most notable will be, of course, the Arcade Mode; this will be similar to those from previous games, where the player will pick one character and fight a series of CPU-controlled opponents concluding with a boss fight. It wasn’t included with SFV because many hardcore fans don’t care about it, but it’s clear they underestimated how many casual players like it. Given how the latter group is far larger, it’s about time they added it.

The arcade mode endings will be presented through comic illustrations provided by UDON’s artists. Sagat appears in previews for what’s apparently Ryu’s ending, which is perhaps a clue he’ll be included in the next season. Not that this would surprise anyone.

It will also include bonus stages that work as throwbacks to the older games, like the barrel-breaking stage from the Street Fighter II games and Street Fighter IV titles. An Extra Battle Mode will also be added, where players can complete challenges to obtain new outfits for characters that can’t be purchased otherwise.

It’s likely a new general balance patch will come alongside this release, especially since a new V-Trigger technique will be added for each existing character. Players can choose which V-Trigger they want to use before a match, similar to how Ultras were chosen in the SFIV titles. Ryu will have his Focus Attack from SFIV, while Chun-Li will gain her miniaturized Kikosho from several previous SF titles. But one of the best shown thus far is R. Mika’s, who still summons tag-team partner Nadeshiko, but for a steel chair shot instead of a dropkick. They’ll have an opportunity to show all of them sometime before release.

Capcom was harshly criticized for releasing SFV in a barebones package in February last year, as it contained significantly less content than many other fighting games in the last decade for a full $60 price — including SFIV. It arrived with 16 characters on board and few extra modes, due to the development team’s desire to perpetually release new content over several years.

The lack of content is only part of the reason why it was harshly criticized; the DLC prices were and are high for a $60 game. DLC characters can be purchased as part of the Season Passes, where players can pay $30 for six characters from each season, and get a free “Premium” outfit for each of them as a bonus (though the first pass has since dropped to $20). But characters can also be obtained through in-game fight money for an 100,000 FM purchase. You’re given enough to purchase a few of them through completing in-game modes, but not all of them, so you have to get the rest by playing online matches for pennies of FM, or hope Capcom gives players bonus opportunities to obtain more. Not to mention there’s plenty of other content available for purchase players may also want to buy for FM, like stages and outfits. It’s clear they want you to buy those passes, and trying to purchase even a minimal amount of content can get expensive in a heartbeat.

The above problems were also in addition to the online issues. The online servers were finicky when the game launched; given that it sold below expectations, it’s tough to imagine how bad that would have been if it sold the two million copies Capcom initially wanted. While the most severe problems have been dealt with since then, connections during online matches still need improvement. The connection quality in matches is still inconsistent, regardless of how strong or weak they ostensibly are, as indicated through connection bars. Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether they’re fixing this, which doesn’t bode well unless they’re taking a stealthy approach.

SFV’s reputation is in the gutter for several good reasons, but we’ll see if this can improve it with fans and lure in enough new players. Capcom still intends to make a bunch of money on this, since most outfits won’t be included with the Arcade Edition package.

Arcade Edition will release on January 16th in western territories and on the 18th in Japan for $39.99 or an equivalent. Given the name of the package, you’d think this would accompany the announcement of an actual arcade release, but that’s strangely not the case. It’s possible they’re saving that for later, but this would have been a fitting time.

In the meantime, keep your eye out for the reveal of the last character in Season 2. The release of Arcade Edition should also coincide with the announcement of Season 3. It’s nice that Capcom is keeping their promise to continually supporting SFV, at any rate.

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