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Ultra Street Fighter 4 producer: New characters are 'just the bare minimum'

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Ultra Street Fighter 4 the latest DLC add-on in the SF4 franchise was announced last month at the 2013 Evolution Championship Series, boasting new characters and a wealth of gameplay tweaks. Tomoaki Ayano, producer of the add-on, answered a few questions from Famitsu magazine for this month's issue. Among the highlights:

In the debut trailer, Capcom touted four new characters — Rolento, Elena, Poison and Hugo as well as a brand-new fifth one to be announced later. "As you can see, these four characters appeared in Street Fighter X Tekken," Ayano said. "These were guys that a lot of people said they wanted to play as in SF4 as well-which makes sense, of course, since the characters we put into SF X Tekken were based on what people said they wanted to see in SF4. We'll be adjusting them to match with the SF4 system, so naturally they'll have Super and Ultra Combos to unleash."

As for when that mystery fifth character will be announced? "I can't give you an exact time on that yet." Ah well.

Ayano emphasized in the interview that players can expect major changes to game balance with Ultra Street Fighter 4. "We plan to change it a great deal," he said. "We've gotten lots of fan feedback about battle balance, and generally you can divide it into two trends: 'Keep it as it is,' and 'I want it all changed out'. So with this project, we decided to make it a big update, a really 'new SF4' in a way. When I say 'change,' though, I don't mean we're redoing combos or the whole structure as it exists now. What we're looking to do is get rid of the differences in character abilities that have established themselves throughout the series. I realize that some people are looking for new additions to the battle system, too-this is 'Ultra,' after all, so I'd like to do what we can in that way."

Will Ultra SF4 get updates of its own? Definitely, says Ayano: "I think the battle balance in a fighting game is something that needs to be constantly changing. This is just my personal opinion, but I like to see updates happen at just the right time to retain a sense of constant motion within the game mechanics. I'm sure I'll get feedback from gamers once Ultra IV is out for a while, and I want to use that feedback as much as I can to raise and nurture the game."

Ultra SFIV is due out next year in arcades, in DLC form, and as a standalone package. "Like the 'Ultra' name shows," Ayano closed, "we're aiming for updates that go beyond just adding new characters. For us, new characters are just the bare minimum of new features to add."