Capcom’s Comedy of Fighting Game Missteps

I consider myself to be a massive fan of Capcom fighting games. I’ve poured in thousands of hours into everything they’ve put out since Street Fighter IV, and was a always a fan of Street Fighter II. However, it’s gotten increasingly hard to ignore the calamity of errors that follow every fighting game release. Let’s run through a bunch of them from the last few years, shall we?

Super Street Fighter IV

Just over a year after Capcom released the groundbreaking fighter Street Fighter IV, they released an updated version of the game with 10 new characters and the ability to select from one of two Ultra combos. While it ended up being a great version of the game, this was released as a standalone disc in a time when this should have been DLC for the main game. They would continue down this path for Arcade Edition and Ultra Street Fighter IV, dwindling their player base with each release that forced players to pay up for the latest installment.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition

Capcom intentionally unbalanced the game by making Yun extremely strong. I’m not saying that fighting games need parity across the board, but this really broke the metagame and upset the competitive scene. Capcom would eventually walk this back with the 2012 balance update.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

While Capcom claims that the additional content that came with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was just supposed to be DLC, plans for that got squashed due to the disaster that occurred in Japan. If that’s the case, fine, but once again, consumers are left holding the bag on being pressed to re-buy the game they just bought in order to keep up.

Street Fighter X Tekken

What should have been one of the best fighting game crossovers of all-time turned into a disaster. For one, the introduction of a controversial gem system broke the game’s competitive balance. Beyond that, the game was poorly tuned, leading to a lot of matches that ended with time overs. Most damning of all was the revelation that the game’s upcoming DLC characters were already present in some form on the disc.

Despite the outrage on that latter point, I sort of get it from a development standpoint. The characters in that build weren’t final, nor were they supposed to be seen by the general public to begin with. Having at least the assets there would minimize how much bandwidth would be required to download the remainder of the content when show time hits. However, in an age where players are very sensitive about the way DLC is distributed, this couldn’t have been anything but another black eye for Capcom.

Street Fighter V

Rushed out the door in order to meet the starting date of Capcom Cup, Street Fighter V was released as a bare-bones package with virtually no single player content and broken online play. Despite Capcom’s concerted effort to cater to casual gamers with gameplay that reduced some of the franchise’s complexities, most turned a blind eye due to the aforementioned failings in other aspects of the game, such as a dearth of single player content. Heck, we’re still waiting for an Arcade mode! As such, competitive players are now disgruntled over being stuck with a game that isn’t as exciting for them, as it was designed more for casual players who never got to the title in the first place.

Ultra Street Fighter II

Ultra Street Fighter II is a questionable package at best. It’s basically Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix with balancing that most players won’t notice, a terrible motion-controlled mini-game, and a price point that’s laughably high relative to what you’re getting. Value aside, it sold really well, so maybe this shouldn’t be in this discussion.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Despite heavily leveraging animations and assets from the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 series, the game is set to be released with only 30 characters; 8 fewer than Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Worse yet, a heavy emphasis on Marvel Cinematic Universe characters along with a number of inexplicable choices on the Capcom side have made for an abysmal lineup of characters to play as. On top of that, Chun-Li’s busted face pre-launch became a PR nightmare and the terrible story mode demo released months before launch probably went a long way towards the soft sales the game has initially garnered.

In my heart of heats, Capcom makes my favourite fighting games. I want to support them and enjoy the games they make, but they repeatedly hurt their consumer base with one boneheaded decision after the other. I’ve rode with them through everything for the better part of a decade, but why have things been so bad for so long? And how can Capcom finally right the ship so that it doesn’t continue to undermine their potential?

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