The best virtual brawlers in the world gathered this past weekend for the EVO 2015 fighting game tournament in Las Vegas. In a first for its genre-defining series of fighting games, Capcom took the occasion to announce that Street Fighter V will only ever have one version, and all of the content will either be completely free, or obtainable through the use of in-game currency without spending real money for DLC.
According to a follow-up post on Capcom’s blog, the initial release will be steadily updated with all balance patches for free, meaning that every few years you won’t have to buy a tweaked version of the game with Super Street Fighter V Ultra Pro: Tournament Edition. This will prevent the community from fragmenting as the game evolves. While the wholly separate updated versions made sense as a way to maintain competitive relevance when games were only purchased on physical media, it seemed dated in the digital ecosystem of DLC and day-one patches. The post explained Capcom’s reasoning:
“Long gone are the days of forced Super and Ultra upgrades! Enjoy free balance updates as soon as they become available, and find and choose the post-launch characters that you want to get … While these one-time updates did revive interest in the series every few years, it was difficult to keep players engaged for long periods of time unless they were competitive. This also punished players who took a break from playing the game, because if they wanted to start again in a few years, they would be forced to purchase an upgrade to join the existing player pool who had already moved on to a new version. On top of that, this old method also forced players to purchase all of the new content, even if only a few characters may have appealed to them.”
The company has further indicated that all new gameplay content can be either purchased with real money or earned through play with a new, in-game economy. Players that don’t want to spend additional money after the initial purchase can earn a new currency called Fight Money by simply playing the game. This can then be spent to unlock any post-launch game content, such as new characters. Those that don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to play for their characters can exchange real money for a premium currency called Zenny that can also be exchanged for post-launch content. Zenny is a go-to name for currency in many Capcom games, including the Mega Man and Dragon Ball Z franchises.
Speaking of Dragon Ball, Capcom also announced a new character at EVO, with a distinctly Super Saiyan vibe: Necalli, who is one of the four brand new characters included in the game’s launch roster of 16 combatants. The introductory post is quiet about his backstory, but since his name is the Aztec word for battle, we can probably assume he is from Central America. He fights with a savage, grappling style, and activating his V-Trigger causes his hair to stand up and glow red, empowering his attacks and unlocking new combos, frame data, and a new Critical Art.
Street Fighter V is scheduled to launch exclusively on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC in early 2016.