Was Street Fighter V Released Too Early

Commercially, yes. Competitively, probably not.

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I’m an odd-duck when it comes to fighting games. I’m one of the minority that enjoys a good chunk of story content with my flaming Shoryukens. I want to know of Ryu’s struggle with the Satsui no Hado and witness his travels around the world. I want to SEE Zangief wreck a bear in a cut-scene before giving Chun-Li the same kind of hug. I feel there’s depth enough to the Street Fighter lore to provide a satisfying narrative. This is supposedly what we’re going to see in the near future for Street Fighter V, but today is not that day.

Understandably, that could mean that Street Fighter V isn’t for me, but given how light it is on content, I don’t think it’s for anybody outside of the hardcore audience right now. The available modes are a brief “Story” with three fights each accompanied by the most basic of static comic-style cut-scenes, a Survival Mode that you can see in the above video, which I’m enjoying a fair bit, and basically a lot of Online content. The Store isn’t available yet, but I imagine they’re letting people rack up their Fight Money before releasing a load of content to exchange it for. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to have something to do with that money at launch? It is what it is.

Having listened to the latest Giant Bomb Podcast, it seems the Capcom Cup may be the reason for the seemingly early commercial release. Perhaps to have the servers tested under worldwide launch conditions. I honestly couldn’t tell you, but whilst the game mechanics are practically flawless, in my admittedly basic opinion when it comes to the Fighting game genre, the tutorial is light at best and the amount to do is just as thin.

The plus side is that the content seems to be coming in a Free Update, or at least the Store is, in March. As the year progresses, we’ll apparently have a cinematic story mode in June that’ll take one to two hours to finish and will be a free update to the game as well. The current story mode is apparently something of a “Prologue”, seemingly to introduce us to the current situations of these characters before we head in to the Mortal Kombat-esque June Update.

Nonetheless, you absolutely can jump in to Street Fighter V and do what its supposed to do at its core: go one-on-one with people around the world, or locally against your soon-to-be-ex-friends, and the fighting is beautiful, fluid and, as expected from the masters, a joy to play overall.

So do I think they should have held the release until March, or even June? Yes, I do. I think the game could have made a much bigger splash with all of its content ready to go, and while a cinematic story seems like a been-there-done-that for those that pay attention to the industry, Street Fighter is a franchise that transcends the island of gamers in to the mainstream audience, and a cinematic story in their beloved childhood franchise could easily pull in lapsed fans, but will it still manage to do so when the initial bang of the release has faded? Time will tell.

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