Street Fighter 6 was finally revealed by Capcom this week, cementing the end of the Street Fighter 5 era and getting fans excited for a new entry in the legendary fighting game series. Though we’ve seen basically nothing about the game’s actual gameplay, there is a lot that we know the game definitely needs on launch to avoid the fiasco its predecessor went through.
And it all starts with actually finishing the game before its release.
One of the initial criticisms of Street Fighter 5 was the fact that it released in a seemingly unfinished state. Not only did the game launch with a paltry number of characters when compared to its predecessor, but the game lacked content in general.
The biggest omission was the arcade mode, a staple of the genre even when it comes to the weakest title. The title’s director, Yoshinori Ono, responded to those shortcomings in an interview with Red Bull, where he stated: “In the beginning we all know that we didn’t put out a complete product, in a way that is a learning experience.”
With how the fighting game genre has recently evolved, Street Fighter 6 has a lot to work against. There is no excuse for repeating the big mistake that Street Fighter 5 made, which makes me believe this is something that no one should have to worry about. Of course, I thought the same thing with Street Fighter 5 and Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, a game that the company completely abandoned instead of supporting it.
Speaking of the recent evolution of fighting games, a pandemic and need for online competition has put pressure on Capcom to seriously step up what it’s done with Street Fighter in the past. One of the initial review complaints about Street Fighter 5 was the fact that the netcode was unstable. That complaint continues to this day from casuals and pros alike, even after various updates to the networking.
I hope the capcom announcement is just better netcode we don’t need SF6 we haven’t been able to play SFV for past 2 years.
— Panda | Punk (@PunkDaGod) February 16, 2022
What the game needs on day one is actual working GGPO rollback netcode. That’s “an approach to implementing netcode in a fighting game that plays your own inputs immediately,” The Fighting Game Glossary explains, “and then rewinds and resimulates (or ‘rolls back’) the game if network delay causes inconsistencies.”
In layman’s terms, it’s the best way to play online without actually feeling like you’ve played online.
Rollback netcode has become a must with any fighting game experience and is seen in recent additions to the genre like Mortal Kombat 11, Guilty Gear Strive, and The King of Fighters 15. Capcom has its own brand in Street Fighter 5 as well, though it is only rollback in name and operates much more poorly than the version players actually want. Hopefully, someone at Capcom realizes that players have a lot of choices and if Street Fighter 6 has worse netcode than its competition, many of them will make a choice to play something else.
The game also needs to have its lobbies worked out on launch. There are many instances of fighting games releasing with no way to party up with a group of friends, leaving players to have to bootleg a way to join up and play with more than two people.
Embarrassingly enough, this is a common occurrence with initial releases of fighting games. There have been cases of lobbies adding extra lag, lobbies crashing due to too many people joining, and other strange occurrences getting in the way of casual lobby play.
Street Fighter 5 opened a new door for the fighting game world, being the first mainstream fighter out there to support cross-platform play from the PlayStation 4 to PCs. With cross-platform play between various consoles being seen more than ever, there’s literally no excuse for Capcom to leave this innovation as an SF5 exclusive. In fact, I’d argue that it needs to evolve further, should Street Fighter 6 not be exclusive to one console. Imagine being able to have entirely cross-platform competition between Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. It sounds like a dream, but really it shouldn’t be. We just need Street Fighter 6 to take another step forward.
While Ono may have no part in the next Street Fighter installment, let’s hope what he said in his Red Bull interview holds true. “We try to progress forward and listen to the fans more, and see what they want and continue adding new modes and things to the game. What that content will be, we don’t know, but we’ll continue to get feedback from the users on what they are wanting.”
Street Fighter was once the leading franchise in the fighting game genre, and Street Fighter 6 is a chance for Capcom to recapture that place in the industry. All we can do is hope that Capcom learns from its past and implements those lessons into the game.
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