What Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition Means to the FGC
Date Published: 14 December, 2017
As we near the end of 2017, it is without a doubt that we know the current state of Capcom’s Street Fighter V. The latest iteration of the beloved fighting game franchise had a rocky launch, and seemingly has failed to shake off the cobwebs ever since.
However, despite making multiple mistakes with regards to communication with its dedicated audience, bizarre consumer content decisions, and countless of PR mishaps, Capcom is potentially facing a crucial turning point that could change both the current culture of the Fighting Game Community (FGC), as well as set a precedent for the future.
As someone who has tuned out just about everything that involves Street Fighter V (SFV) for the last year, I personally was surprised at my level of excitement to both the Sakura character introduction trailer, as well as Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition’s (SFV:AE) new cinematic opening which was revealed at the end of Capcom Cup 2017.
Breaking down Sakura’s trailer first, I was happy to see that Capcom has given a legacy character that is endeared by many, myself included, the appropriate treatment with regards to both her visual aesthetic, as well as staying true to her unique playstyle.
All in all, Sakura’s reveal trailer can be seen as a home run by Capcom, as they have finally shown the attention to detail fans have been clamoring for, evident by not only the character chosen for the game, but her nostalgic stage as well.
In addition to an excellent character reveal, Capcom’s decision to show off the new cinematic opening of SFV:AE, was just as wise of a PR decision as it was to include a fan favorite character like Sakura it the game.
The trailer, although just cinematic by nature, felt like a return to days of old, a feeling I believe is necessary for recapturing the attention of many fans who have unfortunately enough were left with no choice but to leave the game behind.
Seeing familiar faces once again in characters like Sagat, Blanka, and Cody, all while also debuting new characters with interesting styles, like the mysterious character known as G, and a potential new female villain in Falke, was an instrumental step in the right direction for Capcom.
However, it is without saying that while Season 3 of the DLC and launch of SFV:AE is trending in the right direction and is seen in a positive light for the first time in a long while, Capcom still has a long way to go with regards to regaining the trust of the fanbase it lost.
Currently, the game is still suffering from performance issues, somewhat unstable gameplay mechanics, and simply has lost cache with its core audience. Though, by introducing favorable characters, continuing to communicate properly, and show steady improvement, it will just be a matter of time until fans will feel inclined to perhaps give Capcom a second chance.
Personally, while I saw glimpses of Capcom attempting to correct their shortcoming with reveals of characters like Menat, and attempting to expand gameplay by implementing additional V-Triggers, I still did not feel compelled enough to return to SFV, despite being encouraged by Capcom’s progress.
Additionally, regardless of how much I enjoy characters like Sagat and Sakura, I do not see myself returning to the scene with SFV:AE, however, an opportunity for a significant culture change towards Capcom is there for the taking, if SFV:AE is handled correctly.
It wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to believe that had SFV not alienated a large portion of its fans, other fighting games like King of Fighters XIV, Tekken 7, BlazBlue: Central Fiction and many others would not have seen the same number of newcomers they have experienced compared to previous iterations of those games.
The divide that Capcom had generated within the FGC, oddly enough could pay dividends in the end, as those who have gone to experience other fighting games for the first time upon leaving SFV, could return with more of an open mindset, after seeing a cultural change that comes from within Capcom.
Nevertheless, If SFV:AE succeeds in giving its fans what they want, even if it may not result in recapturing the entirety of its lost fanbase, Capcom can take those lessons learned and set the precedent for the future of the Street Fighter series.
It may take some time, perhaps even until the arrival of Street Fighter VI, however I do believe that while there are many quality fighting games out this generation, with just as promising ones on the horizon, Capcom being seen in a good light is overall a good thing for FGC, and could be a step in unifying fighting games once again.