I’ve spent the majority of my life playing Street Fighter and yet I’ve never become particularly good at it. Oh, sure, I can best unsuspecting and equally unskilled friends and family members, but I’ve never truly grasped the art of stringing moves together into an actual strategy. I just like throwing Hadokens, y’know? I don’t think I’m alone in that — there are a lot of casual street fighting men and women out there, and Capcom has tried to sell Street Fighter V as the perfect stepping-on point for new, lapsed and casual players.
Having played and reviewed Street Fighter V, I can say the mechanics do feel more accessible than they have in years, but unfortunately some other aspects of the game are far less welcoming. I recently asked Street Fighter V Associate Producer Peter Rosas the new fight mechanics and why some of the game’s modes and artistic choices seem to contradict Capcom’s casual-friendly messaging…
Why did Capcom decide it was time to streamline the series with Street Fighter V?
As Street Fighter IV had already been out for about eight years, we noticed that it became rather difficult for newcomers to play competitively due to a large number of complex mechanics present, as well as the robust roster. As the real magic of Street Fighter lies in out thinking your opponent and not in performing long combos filled with numerous button presses, we felt that it was the perfect time to hit reset and go back to basics.
Speaking of going back to basics, explain the new V-System. Why would it appeal to less experienced gamers?
The Variable System, or V-System, is the core of Street Fighter V’s battle engine. It consists of V-Skills and V-Triggers, both of which allow players to access the deeper aspects of their character through simple button presses. V-Skills, performed by pressing the medium attack buttons together, allow players to perform a skill that may help them around their character’s weakness. V-Triggers, performed by pressing the heavy attack buttons together, allow players to perform a unique ability that can help them potentially win the game even when they’re at a deficit.
What about the EX Gauge and Critical Arts? How do those work?
The EX Gauge is where EX attacks and Critical Arts pull from. EX attacks are improved versions of a character’s special moves that contain unique properties, such as complete invincibility, higher damage output or faster start up speed. These EX attacks take one stock of the EX Gauge. Critical Arts are a character’s most dramatic and damaging attack and take up the entire EX Gauge to perform.
Pulling off Critical Arts can be pretty difficult. Doesn’t that run contrary to making Street Fighter V more accessible?
Not necessarily. Players don’t have to use Critical Arts to find success within Street Fighter V. They’ll fare perfectly fine if they use the EX Gauge for EX attacks. What’s more important to success is the proper use of V-Skills and V-Triggers, which are performed through the simple press of a few buttons.
Do you feel Street Fighter V strikes the right balance between accessibility and complexity?
Definitely. In Street Fighter V, players have been provided access to the deeper strategic aspects of their character with the press of two buttons. What they do once they access those aspects is up to them.
On the subject of things to do, Street Fighter V is currently lacking in single player options, which a lot of casual gamers prefer. Why wasn’t more of a focus put on single player?
Although the game didn’t launch with a traditional Arcade Mode, we are excited about the two all-new single player modes (Character Story and Survival) currently in Street Fighter V and we have plans to refine and expand onto those experiences in the near future. Additionally, we’re unveiling two new Challenge Modes this month and looking into adding a Versus CPU mode soon, as well. The Story Expansion will be released in June 2016 as a free update to all players. This is the first time in franchise history that fans will be able to play through this type of cinematic experience in a Street Fighter game. More new (unannounced) gameplay content for offline players will be made available for free throughout 2016 and beyond, so players who prefer the single player aspects will have plenty more to chew on soon.
Street Fighter V‘s roster is pretty eclectic. Which characters should beginner players focus on?
I’d say beginners should start with Cammy or Birdie. Cammy is extremely fast, very straight forward and has a minimal amount of special moves to learn. Beginners will be able to concentrate on which attacks to use quicker without having to worry about performing special moves. Birdie is a slower, long range, higher damage character. Beginners will find success with him if they learn which attacks hit the furthest.