Giving us all new characters in Street Fighter V‘s Season 2 may sound good in theory, but, in practice, it isn’t.
Street Fighter V‘s Season 2 is now underway. Along with a number of changes to the gameplay system as well as buffs and nerfs for all of the fighters that were released last year, Capcom has already announced that, along with Akuma, 6 new characters will be made available in 2017. However, if you read the fine print, it mentions that, besides the master of the Satsui No Hado, all of the fighters slated to appear in Season 2 will be “completely new characters.”
Now, I think the inclusion of new characters in any fighting game is a good thing. Fresh new ideas can be implemented and some of them can become fan favorites, stealing the hearts of veterans and causing them to switch out their mains. However, at this point in time, it’s actually a big misstep on Capcom’s part to just focus on filling out Season 2’s roster with new faces.
Despite what many people say, Street Fighter V was a very good game from the very start but there is no questioning that it gave off a very poor first impression. The game had, and still has, really solid fighting mechanics. Capcom eased up on the combo system so that even newbies can string an impressive chain of damaging attacks quickly and intuitively. And it certainly looks really good for the most part; Capcom should really patch Ken’s banana hair, though.
Even if the game’s foundation was impressive, Street Fighter V was a disappointing mess because Capcom released it in a barebones state. A lot of the features fans expect from a new game just wasn’t build into it when it was released. There were no trials so you can learn some basic combos. Fighting online was glitchy, with frequent disconnects and anyone could just rage quit without penalty. For veterans, the 8-frame input lag was definitely hurting their game.
The worst thing for casual fans was the extremely limited single player Street Fighter V had. Yes, there was a Survival mode but it’s a poor replacement to the traditional Arcade mode, which Capcom still has yet to give us, by the way! The Character Story mode is a joke as you only play one round against a really dumb AI opponent that could be beaten by a baby… literally!
A lot of these things were eventually remedied by Capcom as Season 1 went on. However, the damage has been done. Street Fighter V wasn’t exactly flying off the shelves as the game didn’t impress a lot of gamers. It may have wowed the hardcore fighting game community but more casual fans turned their backs to it.
Now, we have Season 2. This could be a great way for Capcom to get some of these fans who quit the game into it again. However, all the tweaks and changes to the current roster isn’t going to mean squat to those who haven’t tried out Street Fighter V in the first place. No, Capcom needs something to entice them to actually try it out and bring back the gamers who got into fighting games because their previous fighter, Street Fighter IV. Unfortunately, bringing in a totally new gang of fighters isn’t going to do it.
It’s going to be hard for people who haven’t touched a fighting game to get excited over a new character. No matter how cool looking he/she is or how exciting you make the trailer make him/her out to be, no one’s going to have a connection with a new face. He can make a good first impression, surely. But a new character isn’t going to bring back the fans that stopped playing Street Fighter V. What they will get excited for, however, are the characters they have played with before.
There’s the entire nostalgia factor, to be sure. But it runs a little bit deeper than that. There’s always a bit of heartbreak whenever your favorite character doesn’t make it into the sequel of your favorite fighting game. I personally was disappointed that Blanka didn’t make the cut for Street Fighter V. I would definitely want to see what Capcom would do to make him fit the Street Fighter V aesthetic. I’m also saddened by the exclusion of other mainstays like Sakura, Dan and Sagat. There are also a few personal favorites I would want to see make their triumphant return. Characters such as the enigmatic Q from Street Fighter III: Third Strike, the Japan obsessed brawler Sodom from Street Fighter Alpha and, of course, the weapons specialist Doctrine Dark from Street Fighter EX. If any of my personal favorites are announced, I just know my reaction would be just like when LI Joe saw Urien would be coming to Street Fighter V. I just know it!
I can’t help but think that a big part of the decision to make Akuma, a fighter buried deep in Street Fighter lore, the first available character for Season 2 was because fans wanted to see him back. But it’s not just Akuma. There are dozens of characters Street Fighter fans would love to see make it to Street Fighter V‘s roster. I’m even betting the folks at Capcom are running through their roster of old games and trying to figure out who would be viable picks for Season 3. But, by that time, I’m afraid it may be a little too late.
I’m sure that these new characters will play fine and do well in the tournament scene eventually. And I’m not saying that Season 2 should only include returning characters. I am saying, however, that Capcom has to give fans a nice mixture of both old and new. I’m sure these new fighters will get over in the tournament scene but they really do need to add a few more familiar faces now.
Oh, and despite what everyone says, Q is not a lame character! You know it’s true!