We figure out what we want from Capcom's next entry in the Street Fighter series.
Capcom promised a megaton announcement and boy did they deliver: Street Fighter 4 is in development. Immediately forums across the web lit up with excitement. But the world is starved of information at this point. All we have to go on is a stunning two-minute trailer and word that the game won't be out for more than a year. We don't even know what platforms the game will be out on. And the question on everybody's lips is what will Street Fighter 4 be like? Here, Pro-G details its own Top 10 things that will make Street Fighter 4 great. Read on, get excited and start practising those Hadoukens.
10. Give it the promotion it deserves. Irrespective of how the game turns out, Street Fighter 4 needs a decent marketing budget to help drag the series back into the mainstream - as it was in the early 90s. SF games have fallen off the radar somewhat, especially after the peak with Street Fighter 2 on the SNES and Mega Drive. (Although a loyal and vociferous community has kept the games alive in tournaments and through online enabled ports). But now is the time for Street Fighter to reclaim its rightful position at the top of the beat-em-up pile, and the top of the charts. I want to see adverts on TV, before blockbusters in cinemas, in posters on bus stops, on the side of buses, on billboards - I want the whole world to know SF4 is coming. Time to splash the cash.
9. It be good enough not to spawn 20 spin offs. It's hard being a SF fan, simply because there's so many versions of the same game to keep up with. SF2 Hyper Alpha Ex + Omega 20th Strike Hyper Super Fighting Champion World Warrior with bells on top. Enough. Let SF4 be complete enough not to spawn another 15 updates of the game.
8. Release an arcade stick to coincide with the release. Admit it - d-pads suck balls for beat-em-ups. Don't agree? Then you suck. Everyone knows you can't be a serious SF player if you don't play with an arcade stick. All the cool kids do it. All the pros bring their own along to big bucks tournaments. If Capcom releases a special edition SF4 arcade stick, perhaps even bundled with the game for a few extra quid, that will take us SF fanatics to heaven. Anything but the awful 360 d-pad.
7. Release an arcade version first. This is Street Fighter tradition. It's all about honing your skills in the arcade, where there's a crowd on your back, the pressure's on and you can't disconnect if you lose. Then bring those skills to the consoles and make a reputation for yourself online. Make it happen Capcom - it's the way it's meant to be.
6. Let a Japanese development team that is known for making great fighting games take the reins. This is in no way a slight to US or UK developers, or any other development communities for that matter, but SF4 will have the greatest chance of being great if a Japanese dev with fighting experience makes it. Street Fighter 4 is a long time coming and has a lot to live up to. Does the stylised trailer suggest developers from the now disbanded Clover Studio, who were responsible for Okami, Viewtiful Joe and God Hand, might be involved? Could SF4 be Platinum Games' first project? Keep it in the Land of the Rising Sun Capcom.
5. Keep the character roster down. We're not fans of 50 character beat-em-ups. That's just too many to take in, you'll never master them all and it just dilutes all the character designs. Better to focus on less than half that number, making every character as memorable as the next, full of depth and perfectly balanced. We'd like some of the classic SFII characters to make a return of course, with new graphical and gameplay overhauls (and perhaps a touch of grey in the hair), but we'd also like some new, amazingly cool characters to experiment and fall in love with. PS. Bring back Guile.
4. Lag free online play. When Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting was released on XBL, it promised online play. In theory, this was the most important thing to happen to the SF series since the release of SF2 in the arcade. But it was let down by awful lag which meant the split second timing that is essential for advanced play was impossible to achieve. Improvements have been made, but what we all want for SF4 is as close to completely lag free online play as possible. The recent delay of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on XBL and PSN to 2008 is because the development team is trying to get lag down to a minimum. If they can achieve that, then it bodes well for SF4.
3. Make the graphics amazing. The jury's still out on the SF4 trailer - some love its gritty, more adult style, others aren't so sure it will work, fearing it as evidence that SF4 will be a 3D beat-em-up. At this point it's all speculation anyway - we have no idea if the trailer gives us an indication of the art direction Capcom will take with the game. But if the trailer does suggest the look of the game, with more impactful attacks and black smoke effects, we'd be cool with that - it's an excellent trailer. Oh, and Capcom, I'm sure you'll do this anyway, but 60fps, silky smooth animation and widescreen needs to be there. One thing's for sure, SF4's graphics need to be the best ever for a 2D fighter, if that is indeed what it turns out to be. Okami Fighter 4? Let's rock.
2. Make the gameplay competitive enough to be picked up by the pros. One of the reasons why the original Street Fighter II, its XBL port and other versions continue to be so successful so many years after release is because of the support the game has received from its loyal community. If the pros pick it up, approve of it and take it on in tournaments, we'll be happy. For this to happen it has to be a competitive game. At the end of the day deep gameplay is more important than flashy graphics. We want a simple combat system with enough strategic complexity to please the pros.
1. Don't make it 3D. This is probably the biggest sticking point among fans of the series. Some want to stick with pure 2D fighting, because, they say, that's what makes SF special, while others want a 3D game, bringing a modern overhaul to the series and as a result giving the game a higher chance of becoming a mainstream hit. Well, we're not paid to sit on the fence so... we don't want full 3D. We don't want SF4 to take on the likes of Tekken, Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur. Let them fight it out in 3D between themselves. While we agree that SF does not need to remain sprite-based forever, and that Capcom may well have to spice things up a bit, this being a completely new game in the series coupled with the added pressure to succeed in the modern videogame market these days, but it's essential that the game plays like classic 2D SF, even if it doesn't look like it. Hell, we'll take a hybrid if we have to, a 2.5D beat-em-up if you will, with 3D graphics but 2D game mechanics. What's important is that the game plays like Street Fighter and looks gorgeous. Over to you Capcom.
What would you like to see in Street Fighter 4? Let us know in the comments section below.